4pm today – show your solidarity with refugees

People across Scotland will be placing an image like this in windows with a candle at 4pm today to show solidarity with refugees.

I thought it might be an idea to share the idea here in case any readers want to take part.

This started as an initiative from the Strathclyde Chapter of the Methodist Church. Lib Dem Councillor Fiona Dryburgh is a member and shared it. It’s fine for heathens like me to take part. The idea is:

Print the picture – or draw an orange heart on a piece of paper and put it in your window with a candle today at 4pm. Take a picture of it and post it on your Twitter account with the following tag: @IMIX_UK or tag your post with #TogetherWithRefugees.

I’m sure most people reading this will be filled with heartbreak and anger at the needless loss of life in the Channel. And we will also be horrified by our Government’s heartless attitude towards people trying to reach a better, safer life. And, to be honest, we’ll be horrified by the appalling way the French authorities have destroyed the refugee camps in Calais and hampered the efforts of people helping them.

Euan Davidson wrote on this site in 2018 about his volunteer trip to Calais to help refugees:

It’s incredibly hard to believe but in Western Europe, merely a stone’s throw from the British coast, thousands of people are barely managing to survive, deprived of their basic rights, harassed by a supposedly progressive government and all for the crime of fleeing the most harrowing situations on the planet and trying to build a better life. And worse of all we’re paying for it.

Yes, really. British taxpayers’ money is being ploughed into the French riot police, the CRS, all in the name of ‘border security. They are using that money to make life a living hell for some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. Whilst I was in France, volunteers were witnessing so called evictions on a daily basis.

This meant destruction of the little possessions that the refugees posses, rounding families up and abandoning them miles away from settlements in the middle of nowhere and often involved the use of tear gas against defenceless peaceful people.

As disgusting as this is, state violence is not only limited to vulnerable refugees. NGOs working to fulfil these peoples basic human rights are subject to frequent harassment.

Imagine that in the heart of Western Europe, charity aid workers being subjected to police harassment and obstruction. For what? Daring to stand up for basic human decency.

We may not see the daily reports that we saw during the height of the so called crisis but make no mistake today, right now both the British and French governments are actively oppressing some of the most vulnerable people on the planet right on our doorstep. And they are getting away with it.

It’s so important that those fleeing persecution and violence have safe and legal routes to get to their relatives in other parts of the world. We should be welcoming them and supporting them to build new lives.

Imagine if it were your relatives or friends who were in this situation. Read the stories of some of those who drowned and put yourself in their shoes. And then fight to create a country where refugees seeking a safer life are truly welcome.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Helen Dudden 27th Nov '21 - 12:11pm

    It would make more sense to have a meeting deciding what action is appropriate. Most certainly the criminal action is not the way forward. I was told there is a large black economy for further abuse of human rights.
    No longer, is there any reason why working for £3 an hour living in run down accommodation, any way to treat human beings.
    There are safe areas in the EU, I would live in France, or many of the other EU countries.
    Johnson, has no idea of housing shortages or the many losing homes.
    This government, has caused deep difficult issues to develope, anything from cladding to the NHS.
    It is a time to work together with other countries, not distance and irritate. A time to bring in light with the time of year.

  • Nonconformistradical 27th Nov '21 - 5:07pm

    @Helen Dudden
    “I would live in France.”

    How’s your French? Enough for the basic necessities of life?

    Do you already have relatives in France with whom, if admitted to France, you might be able to stay if for some reason you needed to flee persecution? (I know -we’re not quite in that situation – yet)

    Are you implying that the UK should not take any refugees fleeing conflict in war-torn parts of the world?

    Should Priti Patel’s parents have been allowed to migrate from Uganda (in the 1960s, before Idi Amin was in power) to the UK?

  • Helen Dudden 28th Nov '21 - 11:44am

    I had a French great grandmother, so I have both associations with France and Spain.
    I’m not saying that at all, what I am saying is that the situation has been handled badly.
    I also comment, on the new proposed safety road standards within the EU. Unlike Johnson, I’ve not condemning, a little diplomacy could help. Actually, I’ve been watching a French news station and some have chosen to stay.
    I love France and it’s beautiful properties, sorry to offend, but I have quite a connection to the EU. Another is a half Spanish grandchild training to be a lawyer in Madrid. Yes, I also speak some Spanish and I will help him with some law study. I love law, having had contact with a law maker in the Ministry of Justice in Madrid.

  • Brad Barrows 28th Nov '21 - 11:52am

    Uganda was controlled by the United Kingdom until gaining independence in 1962 and English was therefore widely used in the country. It is not surprising that some Ugandan residents would have wished to move to the UK shortly after Uganda got independence and accepting those people was part of the UK’s moral obligation due to having been the colonial power.

  • David Goble 28th Nov '21 - 1:12pm

    It appears, to me, that a lot of the refugees are fleeing from countries where we have been involved in military action and, possibly, must bear some of the responsibility for the fact that these people have become homeless, stateless and dispossessed. Iraq springs to mind.

    It also occurs to me that Priti Patel, our Home Secretary, originally came to this country as a refugee; the father of the Secretary of State for Health was a Pakistani bus driver who came to this country; the Secretary of State for Education came here from Iraq. Is it not slightly hypocritical for these people, now in Government, to deny refugees the same rights that they themselves have enjoyed?

    What is the solution? It might help if we talk with the French and not at them; however, it suits the Prime Minister to be seen to be continually “defending Britain” against the “evil EU”. All these points should have been sorted out in the Brexit agreement, but this Government was just too keen to “get Brexit done”.

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