We have been through four years of Trumpism which has had a devastating effect on our will to live and belief in Truth. A horrible, destructive force bringing us to our knees and yet at the same time raising our consciousness and desire for the return of common humanity and common sense. Then, just as we thought we were moving into a kinder, saner and more caring world, Priti Patel pulls on the Trump mantle, deporting Jamaicans back to Jamaica this week. Even if they’ve served prison sentences, they have lived in Britain almost all their lives. They have mothers, they are fathers and they live here.
I came to this country from Ghana as a little girl back in the 1960s. I was too young to have made this choice, but my Jamaican father believed in the story of Britain the benevolent Motherland calling her citizens to her caring bosom. I’d like to add that my father had a rare classic British education at a public school in Jamaica, spoke French, sang opera and was in many ways as British as any upper class Brit and his head was in the clouds of the Greatness that was the Motherland: clearly hard to resist. I also recall that Ghana in my childhood had tons of Brits living there and still has. No-one gives them a hard time. Many Brits in the UK know the word Akwaaba, or “Welcome”, in Twi.
Being an immigrant in the UK hasn’t been an easy ride for many people. Poverty, struggle and displacement from their real roots has made some turn to crime. Not all can escape the false allure of easy money or hold on to hope when things appear stacked against them. Back in the day Briton also turfed out its white criminals and sent them to Australia, already home of the Aborigines. When they got there in true Brit fashion, they claimed the country as theirs. And who cares about that story too? But seriously, what I am saying is that Britain’s history is not all something to be proud of, and the UK government can’t erase this history at their whim and this deportation smacks of the same old story. It must stop.
Cruelty, inhumanity, disrespect, a void of empathy; crushing people who need support; people who need lifting out of a rot they were probably not responsible for in the first place: Briton has left a massive boot print on Caribbean people – but by far the vast majority choose to forgive and move on and live exemplary lives. But when something bad happens, it can open wounds that are close to the surface of the skin.
We want peace to make our world heal. Human suffering is reverberating around the universe. We have important work to do…like saving our planet. Why is it always the lowest common denominator that is winning these days? What happened to Mandelas, King, Kennedy, even Major?
We want kindness. We want love. Let’s look after our ex-offenders. Let’s lead by example. Good things will follow.
This is only my point of view, different to Priti Patel’s… But what about UK citizens in all their diversity of class, colour, religion, locality, political persuasion, what do they think? The decision is theirs to make in Citizens’ Assemblies where all arguments can be presented and for them to decide. It’s all our history.