Tonight I am feeling very sad. I know that it is a mistake (greatest understatement of the year!) to think you are God, and can sort out the world’s problems, but there are things on the internet and off the internet that are not good, to put it mildly.
I feel very sad tonight about the way that the Government has announced that a young student called Yashika, my daughter’s age, just about to take her ‘A’ levels, is going to be deported on Sunday, alone, and back to a dangerous domestic situation, and how in spite of a heart warming and inspiring campaign by her young fellow students and the support of her M.P. and Head teacher and thousands of people, the Government seems to be intent on placating and pandering to racist groups and intends to rush through this decision, regardless of Justice, just to show they are tough on immigration. It seems so petty and callous to not even let her take the exams she has worked so hard for and which might give her a chance for a Future.
And I remember other people I have prayed for and campaigned for, who had genuine cases and who were deported. And I pray that somehow they have found blessing and safety in spite of us.
And I don’t understand how intelligent, educated people like our Prime Minister, who has rightly pledged support for ‘Holocaust awareness’, can be so wilfully blind to the lessons of History and the type of culture they are encouraging just to ensure that they keep and gain votes. How is that ‘Holocaust aware?’ The Holocaust did not happen in a vacuum. It did not appear out of nowhere. It was only possible because of years and years of politicians demonising and belittling individuals and groups of people in a time of financial crisis and unemployment – devaluing and distrusting ‘the other’ – attributing the worst motives to the best people, creating a society where everyone is suspected of being untrustworthy or lying, except those in power. Contemptuous and gratuitously cruel acts against individuals, done in the name of the State, lead to a culture which eventually accepts unspeakably cruel acts against whole groups of people. We don’t want that ever again.
Secondly, if the Government, and, ironically, those groups who claim that our Christian culture is being ‘threatened’ by immigration, are really serious about Christian culture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ they would treasure and revere every example of Goodness they encounter in our world. This ‘Christian culture’ they claim to be so worried about defending is about Love and Goodness and they would therefore be inspired and happy to hear about Yashika, this lovely, gentle girl, who works so hard and has gained scholarships to study Maths at University. They would rejoice and be extremely proud of our lovely country for enabling her to escape an abusive situation, they would be INCREDIBLY proud of the young people in her school giving up their time to campaign for her release from detention in Harmondsworth and they would trust in her gratitude which, I am sure, would lead her to repay the debt to our country over and over again.
So I’d like to ask for prayers and thoughts for Yashika and her family, and for all frightened people throughout the world , who seek to escape abusive situations and warzones that are none of their own making. And I’d like to remember Goodness. Because this evil, corrosive, mean attitude drags our beautiful country down, and I would like to say, as a Christian, that this attitude has nothing to do with my religion, the Christianity, whose values and culture are being cynically cited as something which are ‘under threat’, and nothing to do with Jesus, who said ‘in as much as you did this to the least of my brethren, you did it to me’.