Friday, July 29, 2011

Iraqi Asylum Seeker arrested by police after self harm

I have just read a disturbing piece in tonight's Liverpool Echo

It would seem that an Iraqi Asylum Seeker, frustrated and desperate whilst attending the UK Borders Agency in Liverpool began to self-harm with a knife saying he had "had enough".

And how was this terrible state of affairs dealt with by our police force?
They tasered him and then arrested him for possession of an offensive weapon.

I am reminded of another case where someone attempted to set fire to themselves in Louise Elman's office, and would have succeeded had she not grappled with them. And the many cases of people who have sewed their mouth and eyes closed in desperation at being sent back to regimes they feared would kill them.

Is this how a democracy supposedly based upon respect and human dignity responds to a crisis?

They say he became aggressive but ask yourself this, if it was you who was forced to flee for your life wouldn't you become frustrated and desperate and aggressive if you felt you were getting nowhere?

Imagine that a violent civil war broke out in this country between our political parties, between the Government and the Opposition,  or between the Protestants and Catholics or between Monarchists and Republicans, or integrationalists and seperatists (Ireland and N Ireland for instance) (all of which have been the case in the last 500 years).

Imagine that as a result of that conflict the army in the pay of the ruling force began to massacre your family and torture you because you found yourself on the wrong side through an accident of birth.

Imagine that you somehow got away and made it over to Berlin or Hong Kong or Brazil... And then when you got there, people accused you of over-exaggerating, that they said that you had the wrong papers, that you didn't make it clear when you got there that you wanted their help (and you couldn't properly speak the language and didn't know the right words to use). And what they really wanted was to send you back to Liverpool where perhaps a gas attack against your fellow residents had killed 50,000 people.

Imagine that you were physically scarred from torture and you were deeply grieving your lost family, with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and terrible nightmares.

And when you cannot get anyone to listen or to give you comfort and succour, in desperation you hurt yourself.

Do you think that being tasered and arrested is the right kind of response? Because I don't. Call me a bleedin' heart liberal if you like, I will happily own the badge, but unless there is very much more to this than meets the eye, this was a sad day for Liverpool.

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