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

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.

How can I go back?

So I’m from _______ and I have four children. I’m divorced with my husband. After my divorce I didn’t go to my mother’s place – my family’s place. They are all Hindus and I converted to Christianity and my family was very strict about this. I can’t stay with my husband – after 13 years I could not stay with him as my life was not going well with him. So my mother was very angry with me that I left my husband, but for me it was good because it was like leaving a life with depression and every day and every time it was not good.

So on my own I rented a house. I have two sons and two daughters and I rented a house and I started to work so that I can support my children. But life was very tough for me because I had to pay my rent. I was paying 7000 per month rent and I need to earn 1500-2000 more per month so I can pay my bills, so it was very tough for me.

I need to work day and night so that I can pay my bills and everything. Sometimes we don’t have anything to eat if I’m not working, so I don’t have food. It goes on like this for 2 years and I am just thinking how I will sort out all these problems. If I get a house for me it will be more easy for me.

So by that time I was just thinking how to sort out my problem. There wasn’t anyone supporting me, even my family, no one. So I got facebook friends and I had a facebook friend in England. I explained and talk to him about my situation and everything. So he told me he needs someone to work at his place like nanny and in his house and everything. So I accepted to come here to work for him for 200 pounds a month. So I told him to buy my ticket. He said you buy your ticket and I will give you work for a lifetime. In my country I sold every stuff in my house so I can buy my ticket and I can have pocket money to come here.

So when I got to the airport, when I called him, he wanted to have a sexual relationship with me. At that time I was very confused because I left my children and my country, and I am a Christian and that way was not my way.

So I was just thinking what to do now, I have been so far, I travelled twelve hours from my country to the UK, so I could not come back. I was at the airport, the guy was coming and I was thinking what is he going to do with me. I was not sure if he will take me to his house or somewhere else.

I’ve got a friend in Ireland, so I called this friend and told him about my situation. He told me you come to Belfast, I’m going to meet you there and we will sort out this problem. How we are going to find a solution for you. So I take a ticket from Heathrow to Belfast, and I was travelling to Belfast, and at Belfast airport they catch me there.

They were just asking me a lot of questions but I was still in the UK border. I was at George Best airport and they began to ask me a lot of questions and I didn’t understand. And they thought that I’m travelling to Dublin and they just take me to the detention centre. 2 months I’m here but I was in Ireland detention for 4 days.


But the guy who was in London who bring me here he called me on the phone in the detention. And when I was on the phone to him I said set me free. He said no, you broke my trust you can’t be staying out here, even though he knows I have already sold everything in my country.

He threatened me to get me and my children killed in my country, even if I go back. He said he had men in ________ and they will come for your children. The officer called him to talk about him, and he told the officer, she is my cousin, I invited her for two weeks, I don’t know what she was doing in Ireland. Send her back to _________ so she can never come here. So then I told him, I haven’t told anyone for what purpose you bring me here, but I need to talk now so I can get help. So there was a lawyer that came here and I give all. I told the lawyer everything and they brought me again to London. I was in Colnbrook and then they took me to Yarl’s Wood.

So I claim for asylum here and still I have done my interview, I am just waiting. Now if I return back to my country I have nothing. I can’t return back to my mother because she is a Hindu so they don’t accept my religion. It will be very difficult for me. Yeah, so that is my case.

I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know anyone here who can give me an address. My solicitor told me if you get me an address I can get you released from here but it’s my first travelling. Even in my country I wasn’t detained, but now I’m just homesick because I just left my children. I’m so, so depressed, I can’t even eat. 2 months I haven’t seen the face of my children, I talk with them on the phone but I can’t see them.

Immigration told me that there was no trafficking. But the man he brought me here he promised me work he promised me everything. And now even if I go back to my country my children’s life will be in danger. How can I go back? Even if they don’t do me anything if I lose one of my children I will feel guilty for that.

Our mind does not go well here. Even I just forget the way to the shop, the way to the library. I am going mental. We are so depressed, I can’t sleep at night. Can’t sleep, can’t eat, anything. If we was outside like a hostel or something like this, ok, but here we are in jail. It’s a proper jail here.

Anything you apply for, however, is always “no, no, no” and “rejected, rejected, rejected”.

The worst thing is the indefinite detention, which Home Office lies about. People are in here for 8-9 months. I have been here for almost 6 months. This is my third time in detention. Even prisoners know when they will be released. Here, if you don’t do anything, that’s a problem. If you do something, that becomes a problem as well. Time is taken away from our lives. I want to study and want to do my nursing. But I can’t do that. Months are taken away from us, we can’t get that back. It’s not fair.

We want to know, and we are going on the hunger strike. Something needs to be done about the detention system. I am paying a lot of money, just to be refused again and again. It is mentally draining. It needs to take shorter time to make decisions. [My] future is in their hands. I am trying to stay strong. I don’t want to end up on detention medicines. They affect you mentally as well.

Another problem is [how we need to] continue to find some help from outside. Home Office keeps lying, and they [detention centres] are sneaky. The main office will call us to come for something else, like healthcare. Next, the person is locked up for removal without their phone. Some people, when they are locked, don’t even know that the detention centre has your flight ticket. That is why we need to have each other’s numbers, and numbers of each other’s solicitors. We have to rely on other people’s help to communicate to the outside something is being done in here.

I want them to provide us a way to stay in the country. I came here when [I was] 18 years old. I learned how to be independent here. No more friends in —–. If I go back to —–, there is nobody there. If I have people there, I would be okay with going back. I would go back. But right now, I have my partner here. Friends here. Money here. Most people contributed to the country, and people are not on benefits. People worked and contributed. I don’t want the government money in any shape or form.

But applications are being refused by the case workers. What does a person have to do for her case to be considered? I want Home Office to reduce the requirement for the amount of time spent in the country. It’s like… they are not giving the opportunity. We should be given a chance to stay. In [my] situation, you need to do something to solve this problem. Look at the Windrush. What about the Commonwealth countries, then? People who spent 12-13 years in the UK, but do not ‘qualify’ to be the Windrush generation.

It’s like, I do understand that this happened many years ago. I do not want to have British citizenship, but a legal status to work. An option to regularise afterwards. Anything you apply for, however, is always “no, no, no” and “rejected, rejected, rejected”.

What about us? Everything is about the Windrush, and I understand that. But what about the detention system in general? We need to be focused on that as well. There are many people in the detention centres who need to regularise their status, who has been waiting for many years.

It really needs to be considered, because once we are released, it’s just a matter of time when we back here again. It is like a cycle. They take away our futures and lives and waste the tax payer’s money on this detention centres. We have loved ones to go back to. We don’t need to be locked up like criminals—even they know when they are being released. This place is mentally draining me. It is only a matter of time before I end up on depression medication. But I am trying to be strong.

We here at Yarl’s Wood are very glad that the Kgari’s deportation was halted again.

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

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.

I can honestly say I have never felt so alone and hopeless in my life, but I have never felt such anger either.

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.