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Sunday, August 15, 2004

Please do something.

I am so ashamed of my government.

Naseh Jabar Ghafor has sewn his lips together 37 days ago to protest that he has been told he must return to Iraq - where he saw his brother and father murdered, and his mother and sister are missing.

He knows he will be killed if he is returned to Iraq, and has made the unbearable decision that dying through hunger strike is, for want of a much better word, preferable.

There is going to be a round-the-clock picket line outside immigration offices at Aspect Court, in Pond Street, Sheffield, from Monday at 11am. I hope lots and lots of people are there.

Local people are spending time with Naseh too, making sure he is never alone, and it is thought he is dying. One woman doing this is Jean Woods, who said
"This man's ordeal makes me hang my head in shame for being British. I wouldn't leave a dog in the condition he is in - lying starving to death on a dirty floor.
"I don't think he understands much English but I've been sitting with him and stroking his hand, which I hope shows him I care," she said. "I've even written to the Queen about it. But I feel so helpless - it's breaking my heart but I don't know what else to do."

I just want to cry.

At the War Memorial this afternoon I witnessed a Service with ex-servicemen who had been prisoners of war in Japan until the war ended there 59 years ago. It made me want to cry too, wondering how we can declare some things awful if they are in the past, and yet ok or even honourable if they are in the present.

So please, think about what you can do. Come down to the protest tomorrow. Join Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers (CDAS). Write to David Blunkett, or your MP.

Just do something. Please.