Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Message of Support for the Sanctuary Pledge from Yasmin Alibhai Brown

"Britain has two faces when it comes to the dispossessed seeking refuge.

One is humane, open, ready to receive and embrace, the other is harsh, cruel and selfish. It has been ever thus. The Hugenots, then Jews, then Africans, now Arabs, Iranians, Afghans, Iraqis knew and know both.

Today the kindly, compassionate side has been silenced by the increasing brutality of the other. Humanitarian treaties signed are ignored, those seeking safe havens get no hearing, no understanding. They self harm, go to their deaths unseen and un-mourned. There will soon be no place on these isles for the tortured and terrified. And our nation’s soul will be corrupted, despoiled. When she looks in the mirror Britannia will see that corruption like boils on a face.

So for our sake as much as those seeking our help, we must protect the sacred idea of sanctuary."

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