There is plenty room for those wanting to do the right thing

by Loraine Masiya Mponela

‘There is plenty room for those wanting to do the right thing’ was commissioned for the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network zoom event – ‘Changing the Conversation’ taking place on 16 June 2022.

There is plenty room for those wanting to do the right thing

refugees are human
we are all human
like all humans we laugh,
we cry, we get anxious
sometimes we get angry too
we are human

In life, we want absolutely nothing
outside the ordinary
we need space and a place
where we can be seen as human beings

our drives, hopes and fears are no different from anybody else
we want just the barest minimum that makes us all human.

on a daily basis we are hurt
by words uttered by the powerful and the press
words like “failed” asylum seeker
is this an examination in which some pass and some fail?
the correct word should be “refused” asylum seeker
refused asylum seekers failed by a hostile system-
towards our humanity and dignity

we are people denied the right
to be human by a system
because in the eyes of the system
we are not human

we are actually a “swarm of refugees”
as we were graciously described
by the then Prime Minister David Cameron

we are the “filthy other and pathetic subspecies”
in the eyes of Nigel Farage
and his ardent followers

as for the Daily Mail
I won’t even describe how new terms are coined
weekly to describe us

nobody stops
to think
why we have refugees
in the first place

we run away from wars,
rape, stigma and death
here we meet humiliation
name calling and utter disrespect

given a choice
none of us would choose
this kind of life
no rational human being chooses suffering

life is filled with uncertainty
things could change
many of us would turn into Refugees
if Mr Putin was to point his guns at the U.K.
instead of Ukraine

It’s easy to dehumanise others
if one has power and authority
However, proper leadership calls for an empathetic heart
that feels the pain of the stateless, the poor and the vulnerable

as for our friends
you can do something about this disruption
there is plenty room for those wanting to do the right thing
stand up for humanity
be an active ally
work together and support each other

respond to the hateful comments
be it on Facebook or twitter
challenge the bigoted ignorant brains
educate them and show them love

reach out to refugee groups to show your support
protest with us like our MP Zarah Sultana does
bring other people in
there is plenty room for those wanting to do the right thing
speak up when you see these things
ask always

as for you my brothers and sisters
may be we are the real “wretched of the earth”
as mentioned by Frantz Fanon?

although our lives and futures have been shaped
by wars, violent conflict, and other strife
in this environment let us learn to be self reliant

most of us are skilled
nurses, engineers and artists, poets and all
let us not sit on those God given talents
but exercise them even if for no money
just to keep sane in an insane environment

let’s not allow depression
and hopelessness we have carried
for a long time to take us to the grave
on account of not being accepted
or being labelled.

may we all remember
refugees are people
be kind to refugees
most of whom you see
are the only living members of their bloodline
some have not seen any relatives
or loved ones for years

we are just people
and never call us illegal ever again
we are human
caught up in a bad situation at home
and a hostile environment in the UK
there is plenty room
for those wanting to do the right thing.