Still No Refuge….


Hot on the heels of yesterday’s explosion Dadaab’s Ifo camp was rocked again today by another bomb, this time in the middle of one of the markets.  Fortunately it seems the device was either very small or failed to detonate correctly as damage was minimal and there were only a few casualties.  It seems, according to sources in the camp, that the camp’s Kenyan Police are being targeted as retribution for the Kenyan army’s recent incursions into Somalia. They are trying to take on Al Shabaab the Al Qaeda off-shoot that is causing havoc in Somalia.  Incredibly it seems in the chaos following the latest explosion the Kenyan Police took the opportunity to loot some of the shops in the market!

Bearing in mind I leave for Kenya in about 9 weeks my fears can only increase if this continues.  That said, the stories need to be told and the people, Moulid included, who live there endure fear as a matter of course.

No Refuge for Dadaab’s Refugees


People fleeing persecution are led to believe that the refugee camps are places of refuge, where they are safe from harm.  The fact is they are far from being safe.  I received this picture from Moulid in Dadaab Refugee Camp yesterday.  He has been there over 20 years and seen more than most of us ever will [or should for that matter].  The landmine detonated just yards from where he was standing though thankfully he escaped unharmed.  Let’s hope I don’t manage to find any mines next March!

 

News from Kakuma Refugee Camp


Dear all

In the unlikely event that you’re even slightly interested in my forthcoming journey to Kenya I’ve provided a link to the only refugee news outlet in Africa, Kanere, which is based in Kakuma refugee camp.  Go to kakuma.wordpress.com and have a read of their stuff, it makes for fascinating and sometimes disturbing reading.

On a related topic I heard from my friend Moulid Hajale who lived in Dadaab Refugee Camp which is located near to the Kenya/Somalia border.  Earlier today he narrowly escaped injury when a landmine exploded nearby.  Thankfully he is safe but there were several injuries and possible a couple of fatalities. What’s the betting it won’t make the news? If it doesn’t it only goes to prove just how suitable my book title is and that the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is a worthy cliche.

Dean

So Why Do We Hate Refugees?


Greetings, thought I’d share some of my initial ramblings that may, or may not, make it into the finished version of ‘After The Cameras Leave’.  Any and all observations welcome.

‘Fear is the tax that conscience pays to guilt’

George Sewell

Public perceptions of refugees have never been worse. After gypsies and travellers refugees are today the least popular group in our society and more than half of Britons think that Britain should not take any more asylum seekers [and don’t get them started on Muslim asylum seekers]. What is particularly interesting, and more so in light of the way much of the UK press deals with the subject [more below], is that in a recent poll which asked what percentage of the world’s refugees are in the UK respondents estimated 23%.  The actual figure is less than 2%, and less so if one includes Internally Displaced Persons which number in the millions [many courtesy of our warmongering Governments penchant for pre-emptive strikes in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and, presumably not long from now, Iran].

The press and particularly the way in which it uses specific language and terms are at least partially to blame.  Some papers liberally sprinkle their articles with words designed to induce rancour among its readership.  For example, ‘hordes’, ‘swamped’, ‘overrun’ imply a 21st century plague of Biblical proportions and for all those God-fearing Britons the simple mention of the words ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslim’ induces near apoplexy along with a sudden vocabulary boost principally based on the use, often incorrectly, of the word ‘indigenous’.  Unfortunately this vocabulary boost doesn’t come with a free history lesson

The reporting of and subsequent reaction to the recent incident in which four Somali Muslims, all women, were given suspended sentences despite the savage beating they gave to a young white woman in Leicester are an interesting case in point.  That the vicious crime was worthy of a custodial sentence is not in question.  However, the fact that none was given cannot be blamed upon the defendants, irrespective of their nationality, religion or even their crime [unless of course they did that thoroughly un-British thing of taking responsibility for their actions by pleading guilty to the charges]. The blame lies squarely with the judge presiding over the case.  Of course this indisputable fact escaped the journalist covering the story who, presumably deliberately, managed to whip the subsequent commentators up into a ‘holier than thou’ frenzy with much repetition of the words ‘Islam’ and ‘Moslem’ [sic] [used pejoratively], our old friend ‘indigenous’ and my personal favourite in this instance, ‘Christian’.  So many of the comments included references to ‘our religion’ and ‘our church’ that I began to doubt the truth of what I’d previously been led to believe, that church attendance levels had fallen through the floor and the UK, at least from an ‘Anglo-Saxon’ point of view, had become to all intents and purposes an agnostic country. Silly me eh!

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Why do we hate refugees so much in a country that has prided itself on welcoming in migrants from, first, the Empire and latterly the Commonwealth?  And of course, lest we forget, grudgingly accepting those fleeing violence in countries Britain hadn’t previously colonised. In a return to my old ‘Power-point’ days I shall summarise through the use of ‘bullet-points’:

  • Racism
  • The Press [obviously]
  • Misguided, or perhaps, sinister Government policy
  • A generally flexible application of ‘our’ Christian values when it comes to foreigners [see racism]
  • It’s The Economy Stupid

Rant over for the time being! Thanks for reading.

Dean

After The Cameras Leave


The research is well under way, the contacts made and the permissions sought. I will be travelling to Kenya early next year to continue my research and by summer 2012 ‘After The Cameras Leave’ will be published – that’s the theory anyway.

Millions of desperate, frightened and resigned people across the world are currently ‘warehoused’ in refugee camps; guests of host communities and long forgotten by western governments, given as  much thought as a minor expenses claim is given by a British member of parliament.

I am going to tell the story of these forgotten refugees, some of whom have lived in camps for upwards of twenty years.  I will be updating my blog regularly, posting progress of my research and providing links to relevant and interesting information such as kakuma.wordpress.com – a refugee operated ‘newspaper’ which regularly irks the authorities who run Kakuma camp by telling the stories they’d rather not leave the camps.

Thanks for reading and please drop me a line if you would like to know more about my work or my other book – They Have Names Too [see http://www.theyhavenamestoo.com ].

Best wishes

Dean Moull

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