The woman in you…is the woman in me

What I see in Yarl’swood
Is greatly misunderstood
You say you care – oh oh oh
You are right you do but you don’t really know
How grave an injustice to perceive
Cos the woman in you…is the woman in me

Diverse faces of Asia, Africa, China and the Caribbean
Unfamiliar – yet so familiar is you precious woman
Soulful tears, crying hearts united with mine
Imploring equity, justice and humanity – an ear to incline
Don’t silence her, emotions are like a flood
Please be fair for in our veins, red is the colour of our blood

Like the Taj Mahal of India and splendid Asia
Reflects the delicate elegance of a sister, wife and mother
She embraces a newfound life without fear
Treat her tenderly whilst she is here
Hold her like the woman you esteem dear
And adorn her with respect and genuine care

In the eyes of the woman of Africa
Lies dignity, beauty and fortitude like the Sahara…
Though she endures mutilation, suffering and disgrace
The drought and scorching heat is minute as God is her solace
Uniquely rare and majestic – an artefact of her own
She cannot be purchased… nor can she be cloned

Admirable silence, exuberant intelligence – the Chinese woman
Mother of geniuses in a far away land
Everything encompassing you is so intriguing
Amazingly – I see you the woman in everything
This seemingly fragile woman of China is my sister, my peer
Celebrate her each day as you do the Chinese New Year

Caribbean woman…prove the world wrong
Sing unto them your melodious beautiful song
Despite what is perceived of you through limited eyes
Don’t be fooled by pretense and lies
Throw back your sagging shoulders, adjust your crown
For when you are seen – egos are flared and injustices are born

United we stand as the colours of the rainbow
Nurturing and watering human plants that grow
Woman you are priceless, special and loved
Keep your peace for your Father is above
Let your voice be heard, lift your head for all to see
Cos the woman in you…is the woman in me

Happy International Women’s Day 2019

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Another unpredictable day

It’s another unpredictable day here in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre.

We don’t know who will walk out of the gate going home happily, who will be dragged out of the gate by security guards to be put on the plane. We don’t know who’s gonna kick-off out of frustration and then be dragged down the block to suffer the consequences of his actions.

It’s another day not knowing who will be the next drug victim to be introduced to hard drugs out of depression, who will be walking like zombie. But it is certain that a man or two will definitely be down due to overdose of drug intake. Five days ago, it was as if I was in a movie that I would name “THE LIVING DEAD” or “PERFECT ZOMBIES” with so many detainees on my wing turning to real time zombies creeping on their stomach and some walking side ways taking two steps every five minutes.

Self-harm and suicide attempts are so high that there is one MITIE officer following at least one out of every five adult detainees to ensure he don’t hurt or kill him self after several attempts.

One guy has just finished his prison sentence of sixteen weeks i.e two months in total, but has been kept here in detention for more than twelve months after completing his prison sentence. There are many more like him.

This is the system we live in day by day.

“Mum, when are you coming back?” – I have no answer for them

I am here right now in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre. I’ve been here for over 2 months. I’ve been here before. I’ve been brought back again, all to do with my Home Office application. I’ve put so many applications in and I’ve been turned down. I’ve been here for over 20 years. I had my children here in the UK – they are all British citizens. My husband is a British citizen. I’ve been trying so many ways to put in my application and they keep turning me down for one reason or the other.
There are constant Charter Flight for West African countries i:e Ghana, Nigeria etc every other months. WHY? and these flights always operate in different airports, for example the last one took place at Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster.
 
I’m still here detained and my children are out there – everyday – everyday – asking me: “Mum, when are you coming back – Mum, when are you coming back?” – I have no answer for them because I personally don’t even know when I am going back to join my children.

Everyone, everyday is crying. My health is deteriorated because I am always in constant panic – what’s going to happen? Are they going to separate me from my children? Are they going to give me a forceful divorce from my husband? All this I keep wondering – it’s actually affecting my mental health right now as I speak to you. There many other nationals here in the detention centre suffering from one type of illness or another. It’s not fair at all.

The funniest thing – I’ve been having palpitations – kind of like heart attacks since I’ve been here. Nightmares … panic all the time. Each time you approach the health care they just tell you paracetamol – they give you paracetamol and tell you: “oh there’s nothing wrong with you”.

Meanwhile deep inside you know what is killing you. You know what is hurting you. But each time you approach them: “Go and take paracetamol” – and that is it. So it really is very appalling here. A lot of people, it’s been effecting them one way or another.

Some ladies even coming in here with pregnancy. One lost her pregnancy some time ago. So, I don’t really understand what this detention centre is all about. I’ll give you example: one of my room mates came here with a spouse visa and her husband is British Citizen. She’s married to him, but for some reason they say they don’t believe that they are husband and wife. So I don’t know how you want to prove yourself that you are husband and wife.
She’s been having some trauma here. Her head – some things are moving – her stomach – she’s got fibroids – she’s been trying to have baby. She’s had two miscarriages, but they will not listen. So, to be honest I have no single clue what this detention is all about. Is it to tear families apart? Or to destroy … I have no clue what is the main intention of this detention is about.

The United Kingdom is supposed to be a home where you run for safety. But I don’t know … it doesn’t seem to be like that. Because, to see how we are going through in this very centre you would be wondering: Is this in the United Kingdom at all?

I see a very heartbroken place to be honest. I am not happy with anything that is happening here. I’m not happy with the way I’m being separated from my children, my husband, friends … I’m not really happy because it doesn’t tell good of this country.

I have gone through hell here to be honest. Sometimes I wonder if I’m in the right place. Like I said, it’s a country where people bring their self for safety – we believed this was a humanitarian country. But I don’t know how this treatment here in Yarl’s Wood – I don’t know what to believe any more.

Christmas is approaching. We believe that Christmas is meant to be a time of family being together. But now we are all far away from our family. This is not good at all.

There’s been some protest this afternoon. We’ve been shouting today – my voice is tired! There are people who [believe] it shouldn’t be this way [who] have actually come and protest on our behalf. For us, all we want is to get this place shut down. Because it’s not really portraying what it says it is. So many times you put in an application, or provide this or provide that – and they still come back with no answer. So what is the use of this place? What is the use of this place? I thought it’s meant to help out.

So really, the manner in which the whole thing is being conducted is very, very, very, very wrong. We are all human, irrespective. My family are really … my children are really confused. I remember the last phone call before they announced that I wasn’t going on that flight, I called my kids and told them: “This is what is happening now – if I don’t call you any more … I’ll try and call you when I get to the other end – but this is what is happening”. And my children were asking me: “Why mummy?”. I said: “I don’t know why – I can’t answer why – I can’t answer – I can’t answer – if I can answer the ‘why’, maybe I wouldn’t be talking to you now in this moment”. I have asked the ‘why’ myself – I can’t answer them. So, I don’t know.

My youngest daughter was all in tears – she couldn’t talk. So you see, this is not only done to individuals but also to the children and whoever is close to you. For me I just feel like it’s tearing families apart. If you take me away from here, that means you’re telling me to go and re-marry or you’re telling my husband to remarry. When we’re far apart – the kids – what happens to them? Still, I can’t understand the whole meaning of that.

We’ve been on hunger strike for some days now. Because of the charter flight as well as not being happy being in here. So it’s not only the charter flight. When you come in here you find out everybody is miserable. Almost every time you find people in tears, you know? What sort of life is that? You don’t even know what’s going to happen the next moment. It’s a very horrible situation to be honest.

Honestly, this detention centre, I don’t know what it was built for but, to be honest, in my own understanding, it’s not really doing anything good to anybody but destroying people and destroying families. They’re breaking families and inflicting pain. We’re all human irrespective – whatever the situation – we are all human being.

This place needs to be shut down – truly. This place needs to be shut down! It’s not serving any purpose for anyone. The Home Office might say it’s serving them a good purpose, but it’s not true – not true. They’re only wounding people.

You need to see how much money people are spending for lawyers, continuously … if you spend that type of money for a lawyer but you get a final result that might be just okay. But if you spend all that money and then at the end of the day you’re still taken away! What must you do? Just making other people rich? Making other people just to have pain?

I have two beautiful daughters. They need my presence around them; to help them become a proper citizen, not for them to just come out in whatever way – no – I need to build them as a mother to give them proper motherly attention and build them to become a proper citizen. Not just to become anybody just for the sake of being human – NO.

They’re taking me away from them – what will happen? These are girls, you know? Before you know it, tomorrow, they’re pregnant, or something will happen. And then that is the end of their work – their career. But if there is a mother beside them to show them and speak to them … “You get pregnant alright but not now” … help them, there are many ways you can help to bring them up. If you take me away from them that’s giving them freedom to do anything that is not right. That’s not good. We end up breeding wrong children in the society.

Sometimes I just sleep and I just wake up like as if I’m having some nightmare all because of thinking about my children my husband. Each time I speak to them – when I call them to say goodnight, I have to say goodnight with tears in my eyes. That’s not life. That’s not life at all.

 

If I call the police the police will arrest me

I want to say many things I can’t say because I don’t speak – understand – English. I feel really really thankful you have called us back and you have patience to listen to us. Our story. I’m here three months. I have – I’m not in health here and the people…

My partner is here. My partner is here. He have his job and he said he call the home office and the police. And last four years he abuse me. His violence and abuse. He call the police, always said horrible horrible things. He do all these things to me, and he do many, many evil drug. And the wish the police about me.

I’m from <British city>, the <British city> number one force, he pays the front, and the <British city> police force he family brother. He try murder me kill me. And he told me. If I will call the police to him. He told me, and he use word, he make us in prison. He said and never no matter you go out. And that someday you go back <country> if you want to make me trouble because I will call the police, I talk to my friend, I go to church talk to the pastor, I know what happen – he kill, he try to more than kill people, people bury them in the garden. I should call the police but police they no do nothing because police scared of him. He really danger man and a paedophile and the police no do anything.

He call the home office, twelve, ten, September ten, and he call police come in home, I was in the bathroom the two police officers come, were very very rude to me. They no met me take everything. Say go to police station, you no have a British passport, you no have a legal, you need to come to go back to your where you’re from.

They take me, I go to a police station and 40 hours after send me here, in Yarl’s Wood. And I don’t know what’s this place, it’s a prison, immigration prison. My human rights broken down. And he called the home office, and he said, he told me, and if you make me trouble, and you got trouble. Yeah you got trouble. You will die there, you will die there, you will die there. There no matter you’ll never never no see your child. Never never no you’ll no see your baby again. Because you make me trouble. I said I speak true. You are evil devil. You try to murder people kill people you deal drugs, you’re a paedophile. Police no catch you because you have power, your power is devil power, evil power. Do you understand me? And he called home office and put me here. Because he said the home office are my partners, my partners <names> he work here and left her here, laugh about he told me he job. He have big kind of job, something like CIA, he said he job something like MI5 MI6, if he kill like 5, 6 people, he never never no go to court, he never no go to prison.

I want to say that my human right has broken down in this country. And I have come this country 2005, December 15, on the spouse visa, and a husband and wife, because the husband is violent, and I have make application to remain UK to Home Office. Home Office say I don’t have money, I don’t have house and you have relationship broken down and why you no return back your where you from. I said I can’t go back. Because I have one child the child is baby when the baby a new born baby.

When the baby born, the home office and social services they meeting together and the home office say don’t want to give <speaker> any indefinite remain UK. We want she go and we don’t want she live this country, ask any benefit income and house benefit, and if she have money from <country> and my parents send her money to UK and buy big house to me and social service back my baby. And the home office say if you parents no send her money to UK if you no have house and we don’t give money UK we send you go back <country>, and social service put my child in adoption. And my heart is broken.

And this happened and stop I see my baby five years ago. In 2013. When I hold my baby. And social services say you need to talk your baby’s face, goodbye, is forever. Because we contact home office, home office say we no more to give your remain UK. If you no have any house if you no have any money in bank we no return back your child. Because the child’s father is English, the child’s British, they stay in this country, you’re not British, you need to go back where you from!

And go back <country>. If you no go back <country> we’ll contact home office and they’ll send you go to prison, send you go to immigration centre, send you go back <country>. And that’s why, my partner, you know he have power. He do the criminal things but then the police, they no catch him. And he tell the Home Office and the Police. He say the Home Office ask her, and the violence, abuse, and punish me, kill me. Because I have call the police, he told me rude words, and no let me go out. And 22nd eleven – November – they give me ticket want to send me go back <country>, I said I not go without my child. I need to see my child and I want my child return, if this country no let me stay you hurting me, you hurting my child, because my partner he’s paedophile.

He said if he no see me he will no contact my child, he know about everything about where is my baby. He said who look after your baby, your child, <speaker>, because I know your child, where your child, I will contact adoption and is the father and the mother because it’s my good friends. Oh, I can’t trust this man because he is so devil evil because if he do something bad to my child no one listen me, police no, does not work for me. If I will call police, police catch me and put me here. If I call the police the police will arrest me and put the police station 24 hour. And this happen in the last four years, is many many times.

If I will call the police to him, he said, I send you go back <country>. And I – you finish. You never never no see your child again. And I want you know this country has law, and this country say has human rights. The things happen, the judge and all the home office, the council, police, the social service, always broken law, they do the horrible horrible things. That no respect the law. And no have any human rights. And they use words here the people – staff is rude. The floor is no nice the room is dirty, and the people have stress. How many people, how many woman here? Hundred. Hundred woman and everyone different situation. And the people, the woman crying, you know no drink and no eat, and very very stressful, and you know they miss children, miss husband, miss family, always why home office want to do that to people? Why wanting hurting me, why wanting broken my family?

It’s my life in here. UK England is not my mother country but I have come here for married, husband, I have child here. I see this country is my second mother country. I know England I know UK. But this country doesn’t no like me. I’m no have any feel welcome. They broken my life, stop my life. And take my baby away. I want my child returned, please to help me. I my human rights go. I want to go to <unclear> I want to go to street, my human rights broken down, and the <British city> police really really bad. And they say if you go to street <British city>, we arrest you. You never no see your child.

You know, it’s really – you know, my partner, he is great <unclear>, he have power, he’s really… because he have power, and no more the police want to catch him, recently he call the police station 24 hour after he come back, he do more about me, you understand? Because the council, and always, they not give me any support, and the Home Office take my passport and not give me, not give me nothing, and I have never no claim any one penny this country.

I want to talk you more and many many things. My situation is. I want to know the home office send my partner and come in my life, do not kill me, murder me, is horrible horrible things. I promise you, I speak everything truth, I have emailed to Julian Assange.

Yeah, I have many many things want to say. Yeah. You don’t know all the trouble, in <British city> and social service.

Why can’t two people fall in love and be happy?

I met ____ about 5 year ago. We got married last year – last November – we got married. We’ve been to see about getting Leave to Remain so she can live here – remain here – get a British passport and everything. We’ve been to see many people – MPs, we’ve wrote letters – many solicitors, and no one has seemed, you know, to fully understand my side of things. Cause I’ve got rights in this country surely to God. I’m a British citizen so no one’s hearing our voice really. On both sides – mine and my wife’s.

She got bail – she got to sign every other Wednesday, and then last went down, last time we went down they’ve detained her. And she ended up in Bedford Detention Centre. And so, she’s still in there – just trying to get her released basically. She shouldn’t even be in there.

It’s devastating. It’s disgusting. How they treat people – and they’ve done this – without hearing her voice – just detained her.

The whole legal system wants overviewing. It wants independent summary to overlook all this innovation malarkey [missed] but my wife’s never worked, I spoke to her – she’s never signed on – never asked for money from the government. [missed] until we’ve got all this sorted out. I mean she wants to work, but she just can’t work. It will end her in more stuck.

They just treat everybody as one person – it’s not right. She’s an individual – it’s the individual cases surely. You know, it should be heard individually, not just treated as one person, sort of thing.

And I’m sure my wife will tell you the same thing basically. They’re going to protest – I just said to her – be careful – how you’re gonna do it sort of thing? Don’t cause more trouble for yourself … but yeah – hunger strike is alright – as long as it’s a peaceful demonstration that’s alright. I just said “Don’t get yourself into more stuck – but you already are.” Hopefully my wife will be next [released] then.

It was our anniversary last week – last Sunday. Obviously we couldn’t plan anything because she was stuck in there. I went down to go see her last Sunday – I sent her a card by the way – £20 in it – she’s not received that. So, where’s that gone?

I gave her money to put on her thing. I don’t know if she’s got that or not. She said she’d check but I don’t think she’s got that so, you know … it’s just exploiting people for sake of what [missed].

We’re applying for bail. So she’s still on bail – they can’t deport her. That’s where we are now – to get her out so we can fight this together at home. You can’t fight anything at the moment I mean how do you step forward … emails, bank statements, pay slips, so you can [missed], but we can’t fight this together – we need to fight this under the same roof and take on the system. But no one seems to hear our voice.

I follow our local news station yesterday – my news – local news broadcast – and they’ve not returned her call. It’s despicable it is – people don’t want to hear your voice. It’s like you haven’t got one. It’s outrageous how they’re treating people – it really is. If any good can come out of this albeit – people need to hear their voice.

It’s Christmas in 4 weeks time – you know – [she’s] no sooner coming home then when she first went in. It’s ridiculous … we were supposed to go away for a few days – just to – you know – try and put some more … cause I work , full time, so it would just be nice to go away – just to – you know, forget about work, forget about everything else and just spend time with just the 2 of us – together – like how it should be. And not thinking about work, stress and all that. But they’ve detained her. So that’s, goodbye to that.

I love her very much. It’s heartbreaking it really is, how they can treat people and not hear their voice. We’ve been together 5 year – we got married last year as I say.

We wrote letters to MPs – I think he instigated all this to be honest because as soon as we see him – all this started. And he was saying “oh we can’t get involved it’s Home Office sort of thing” – sure, deep down after that, I’m sure he’s instigated all this.

Before all this started – anything about bail, her signing papers, going down every other Wednesday – then detaining her – there was none of this until we went to see him. They say they can’t get involved – “it’s down to Home Office” – it’s baloney to be honest. How they treat people – it’s disgusting – everyone has a voice which needs to be heared.

She is brave – she’s very brave – I fall apart many a time – I’ve fallen apart here – I’ve been on phone to her. She should be here. I’m not eating, I’m not sleeping hardly – I’m not hardly eating – just existing really – it’s just disgusting. I’m going to work tired and worn out – I’m not sleeping – not getting my full rest – it’s stressful – both parts. But yeah no one wants to hear your voice – it’s like you haven’t got a voice. That’s basically it.

When we got married we had to go down to show who we were – that took time cause she’s not from England – she’s from Nigeria – we got a letter saying that we can get married – there’ll be no crimes in getting married. Why would they allow to get someone married and doing all this – there’s no sense in that at all. They said there’ll be no checks – none of this – none of that. She came here through work as visiting person – on a visiting visa – then she met me. I mean, why can’t two people fall in love and be happy?

The Hunger Strike is still on

I applied to the Home Office on family route and I got a letter of refusal. My husband quickly scheduled an appointment to see our local MP. A meeting was scheduled for us to see him. After the meeting, the assistant sent a link to my husband’s email where to seek for financial aid to travel to my country.

We contacted another lawyer who submitted additional information to the Home Office. While we were waiting for response, a letter came in through our door, which states that the Secretary of State has granted me bail and I should start reporting to sign.

Due to the clauses in the bail letter my husband decided to write to the Home Secretary to plead for assistance. [We were] told that MPs are not allowed to deal with issues that are outside their constituency and she gave us the name of our MP and phone number but we feel there was no reason to see him because we have already gone to him.

Before we got married, our Registrar sent our information to the Home Office requesting if we can go ahead and get married. After 2 weeks we went to the registrar. Two letters, one for me and my husband was sent through the post to our door, saying that we can go ahead and get married. A copy of the marriage certificate was sent to the Home Office.

My husband has to change his shift at work so that he can follow me down whenever i am due to sign. I have only signed twice and the third time I was detained where a letter of refusal was printed out and given to me. l was detained from 1:30pm to 18:00pm and then taken to Manchester. I was then brought to the detention centre in Bedford. My husband is now frustrated and feeling depressed.

The treatment we are getting here is not right. On our anniversary my husband travelled to see me. While we were kissing they came to me saying that we are not allowed to kiss. My husband just started crying because we being treated as criminal and making life hell for us.

I am trying for baby and l have gone to acupuncture who recommended some herbs to be taken three times a day. But since l was brought here I do not have access to them any more. I have gone to health centre here twice. I was told by the doctors that they cannot give me anything since they are not prescriptions from my surgery. I have requested if my husband can bring them to me. I was told herbs medicine are not allowed into the premises. Those herbs has helped reduced my cramping and bloating tremendously. Because I do not have access to them right now, the cramp have returned making me to feel uncomfortable, painful right down my abdomen and bloating continuously.

There was a chartered flight but people were able to come together to resist their harassment and frustration.

The hunger strike is still on. It started on Sunday and the food we were given was horrible. When some of us eat it, they will start to have stomach ache and vomiting.

They are taking all of our rights from us

I just want to thank you people outside there – everyone of you for your support because you really, really, really support us. And we’ve seen a lot of changes in Yarls Wood for the past 3 days. You know like yesterday and today there were a lot of releases – they released a lot of people which I think is a good improvement.

What I want to add to it is – I just want this place to shut down. The plane – the charter flights. I want it to stop.

Stop taking people because there are some people – last Tuesday – the people they deported – there was one lady there – that girl came here to study and after that, she got an injunction – Judicial Review – before they deport this lady. And with that, they still deport her.

So I want people to help us. I’m appealing to everybody – the journalists – the MPs – everyone out there. So please, help us.

We are not criminals. We do our papers when we are at our house. We are not seeking for any benefits – we are not doing anything wrong – we are not criminals – we are woman-beings. But here they don’t treat us like woman-beings at all.

They are taking all of our rights from us. No human rights at all – at all.

When we were doing this hunger strike – because they know that they [think I’m a] leader – you know – I talk to people – I encourage them about this protest. And now they are following me everywhere. I went to the IT room, I can’t talk to people in the IT room. Everything like that – anywhere I go – you’ll see officers following me. They came to my room yesterday – they searching through my luggage – they are searching – I don’t know what they are searching for. They go through all my luggage – everything. They know everything we are doing.