We here at Yarl’s Wood are very glad that the Kgari’s deportation was halted again.
The protesters were taking part in a sit in outside the Home Office department when I was approached by Ope and she informed me she was given a removal window, before we could finish our conversation a manager came and asked her if she could speak with her privately and I sensed immediately what was happening.
I could not reach Ope or her mother by phone but I was able to contact one of their solicitors as we are represented by the same firm and I was able to send messages of support.
I feel a great relief that the deportation was halted but at the same time I feel sad when I think about all the nameless people that were herded onto charter flights days ago, no one knows their names, what happened to them or what could be happening to them right now.
Our lives are not valued, our human rights are not upheld, our spirits are crushed, our identities are anonymous, our faces without form, and we continue to be detained indefinitely, perpetually imprisoned pending an endless unjust administrative hellish nightmare.
All my friends in here have gone, I’m into my sixth month in here and it’s getting so difficult for me, I don’t see people’s faces just shadows, I don’t want to get to know anyone else, it’s very difficult to care for people who are in such difficult circumstances, the same circumstances I am in myself, I get close to them and then they are either released or deported, I can’t do that anymore.
I can’t talk to anyone anymore, prisoners or officers, after what they did to my friend, I feel betrayed, it’s weird but I do.
Not only that, but the events of Wednesday evening are repeatedly playing on my mind, on top of everything else. I’m not sleeping very well at all, I’m actually having nightmares about the whole thing, I spent all night reading last night.
I’m glad that at least I can write as I think it helps me now more than ever.
I don’t know what I would be like without detained voices.
We are still traumatised due to yesterday’s events, I can’t tell you how unsettling this is, I haven’t spoken to a single officer today and I don’t see how I can, I can’t even look them in the eyes, I just keep thinking “I wonder which one of you is going to put their hands on me” after what I saw last night I keep having flashbacks, I feel guilty like I should have done something more, it was very tense and I thought it was going to kick off at one point, we were crying shouting at the officers to let her go, and they were shouting in our faces and threatening us. I can’t get that image of her strapped like a Guantanamo inmate out of my mind.
I have never felt so vulnerable in my life and I have been in some shitty situations, I’m so anxious I can’t relax, it’s like I’m in the wolf’s den and I will get eaten eventually, I don’t know what is worse, the anticipation of the event or the event itself.
I can honestly say I have never felt so alone and hopeless in my life, but I have never felt such anger either.
I hope we can all stick together and stop this happening again, all detainees should stop being afraid, or use that fear to fight for their own and each other’s survival.
We have to make a stand for not just our rights but for what is right.
Unity and Solidarity is what will make the difference.
What I have just witnessed has shocked and angered me so deeply I don’t know where to begin.
After doing a peaceful sit in against the continued detention of torture, rape, gender violence trafficking and modern day slavery victims, we had to witness a brutal removal of an African lady. Her hands were not even cuffed but rather some sort of tape or zip tie was used to tie her hands behind her back.
I and many fellow detainees were shocked and outraged by this and indeed we began to fall into descent before finally composing ourselves as we do not wish to behave like the animals that are detaining us and removing us.
I heard Rupert Soames testify to the Home Affairs Committee that Serco are only concerned with our welfare in detention and try to remove Serco from the reality of removing a person, (LIES, LIES, LIES) well I can tell you those were all Serco Officers brutally removing the lady not Tascor, and a Serco officer just confirmed to me as I am writing this, “it’s part of the job”.
Who’s job is it to uphold decency, human rights and civil liberty.
We have a new chant for our protest and it goes “I’M NOT GOING OUT LIKE THAT”
There is a problem. There is a woman who has been in Yarl’s Wood for a year. She was in the kitchen all day working. They told her nothing.
Tonight, 7 male officers came to take her. They put her in handcuffs. It was very violent. She cried. She cried so much. She was shouting help me, help me, help me.
Everybody jumped from their rooms into the corridor. We went to the door. We said “go away leave the girl alone”. The officers were shouting back at us. The officers were saying “What the fuck are you doing? Go in your rooms. Shut your mouths.” They talk like that, you understand. It’s not funny. What is wrong with people here. We said why are you being rude to us, like the gestapo. They bully, bully bully you. It’s not nice. It’s violent, it’s very violent.
Why are we not allowed phones with cameras in here? They are hiding something you know, they are guilty. And they feel guilty because they are hiding something.
They have taken everyone they want to take. They are in segregation. I can only give you a picture of what has happened to our friend.
There were loads of officers, I couldn’t count how many. Male officers too. And she was naked. She had a pink nighty, very short short short, up over her. And they handcuffed her hands behind her back and pulled them up to her neck. They were punching her on her side. She was crying and we were screaming, “This is how you treat people?!”
The centre manager Jacki, she said she doesn’t care if they want to take her back to Nigeria. When they wanted to manhandle my friend they tell me to leave. Jacki, she told me to leave the room, she said “this is my centre” and I said “I am a visitor in this room and I am not going anywhere”.
Another officer was bullying her and shouting at our friend when they were trying to remove her. They were trying to shut me up too.
She has a JR in.
The flight is tonight at 23:30, from an army base. That is what they do, it isn’t in the proper airport it is at the cargo bit of the airport or at an army base.
I’m tired of this trauma. I’ve been through too much trauma. I’m tired. I’m here and they won’t be able to get the travel documents to move me. They won’t be able to get it.
Nothing can help you in this place. It is too much. Trauma upon trauma upon trauma.
I’m struggling to find reasons to keep going every morning as I have done for the past 5 months here on Yarl’s Wood.
So the demonstration yesterday was welcomed as it not only invigorated me a little but also showed many detainees that there are people out there who are aware of what is happening and are making a stand with us against this corrupt, immoral practice that is indefinite detention.
Some people were truly moved as I think we become so accustomed to the negativity and hostility of this entire process that you start to believe everyone and everything is against you. I know that’s how I feel, whether it’s healthcare, Home Office agents, or increasingly Serco staff, the environment is definitely getting more hostile for me, as I knew it might when we began our fight just over a month ago, but I honestly feel like I am fighting a losing battle already when it comes to my case personally.
I fight because I don’t have a choice, there is no alternative for me or indeed for so many people in here.
So I will keep going, and try to stay strong, and I will not go gracefully, to exile.