Corey Mwamba



On Wednesday, the Nationality and Borders Bill was passed.

The clear evidence of alternatives (here's one example)—one of which is being used right now, but only for Ukrainian refugees—mean that this bill was not the only way of helping people escaping war, torture, or threat of death.

All refugees to this country—including Ukrainian ones—will have to travel through a number of countries to get here. The concept of what constitutes a "safe" country may be defined by the state; but safety is experienced by the person, and that experience is not going to be the same for all people seeking refuge.

For example: there has been an outpouring of generosity towards Ukrainian refugees. Several of the countries they pass through could be defined as "safe", but even they might not feel safe in those places. And that is why they are here. Much less generosity has been afforded to refugees from other countries. So they might not feel safe at any point, until they get here. And—like Ukrainian refugees—they may have family here.

That this country can safely transport one set of people by train under a stretch of water; yet force another set of people to attempt a perilous journey on that same stretch of water; is simultaneously ironic and, in my opinion, barbaric. My opinion is solidified when I consider that both sets of people are going through similar things. There's only ONE difference between the two sets; the safer set is predominantly white. This is a systemic issue relating to race, created by our own government.

But that isn't the only issue. The people that are here already—but not the ones from Ukraine, I think—are also under threat. And I'm not just talking about refugees: even people born here are being caught up in this systemically racist policy.

Any one of us could have a bad day which affects us for a long time afterward (I am speaking as someone very much in that moment). Any one of us could lose our homes (through debt, most likely); or be under persistent threat.

How would we want to be treated? And how does the answer to that question affect and reflect our values as citizens? And as a state? Does the state reflect its citizens accurately?

For my part, I can only hope that ALL who are fleeing potential danger are treated with some dignity, understanding, and grace. But based on Wednesday, we're a very long way off from that. I feel a disconnection from the values I was raised on, and which the law and ethics of this country ask us all to present.

I'm feeling this more strongly with the death of my old primary school teacher, Mr Bishop. He was known known throughout Derby as a great supporter and mentor to future footballers and cricketers; but he also encouraged us to learn, to think, and to care. This he did not just through lessons, but by example. The last time I saw him was in 2019. He still spoke to everyone with the same directness, honesty, and openness that I remember from school.

Something to hold on to, I guess.

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