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Monday, May 03, 2004

Sheep and Shit-Stirrers

I have finally got round to finding a photo of theHermit sheep 'Shrek' shorn of 6-year-old woolly fleece. Well, ok, that makes me sound proactive when in fact someone sent me the link, but, you know, I clicked on it.

The sheep in question looked totally different to how I'd imagined him, and I can kinda see myself emerging looking something like that after 6 years of self-imposed solitude as a hermit as well. All enclosed and protected by a huge ball of fuzz. So, so tempting.

It seems the government has had another marvellous idea - to charge failed asylum seekers for healthcare. Not only is this totally outrageous and denying the necessary health care many people need, but also I can't imagine the money saved would be anything other than negligible. I could actually even imagine that it could end up more expensive if they have to treat people as emergencies, when conditions which could have been easily managed earlier on have now become more dangerous or severe.

It's just racist shit, pure and simple. The government is trying to appeal to and placate the fascists (and Tories by showing how tough they are being on these scary foreigners, but in fact, the only reason asylum seekers have become a big issue here is because the government and the tabloids have made them that. It's a self-perpetuating situation which has led to the evil BNP gaining seats and credibility, and people getting tougher and tougher.

The facts are that asylum seekers are here to escape extreme situations in which they would be killed or tortured. They have left their homes, often their families, friends, possessions, jobs and communities to do this. They arrive elsewhere and are forced to live in poor housing, in abject poverty, and as if that was not all horrific enough, but then they also have to face bigotry, racism and fascist attitudes coming from the media, the government, and certain people around them.

I cling onto the hope that it is a minority of people who truly hold negative opinions about asylum seekers. But one big problem is that for anyone who is undecided or not so knowledgeable on the issues, the papers and government's attitudes and propaganda can easily push someone into believing that asylum seekers are people to be feared, to be hated, and to be "sent home" at all costs.

No borders!!

And, for the hamster feature of the day, check out this cool site I found where you can upload photos of your own hamsters and gerbils and you can find Pierrot / Nepenthe, Heidi and Clara.