Socialist Worker

How low will Labour go?

Issue No. 1813

A nurse, a mechanic, a four year old and a six year old. They fled to Britain from the horror of Afghanistan. Blunkett tells them to get out.

'LAST NIGHT my daughter just screamed in her sleep. My boy is very quiet and has said very little. I don't know what he understands. I never thought England could be like this.' So said Feriba Ahmadi this week. She spoke after New Labour home secretary David Blunkett ordered her two children to be seized.

Six year old Haida and her four year old brother, Seera, were visiting their mother and their father, Farid, in prison. The parents had been locked up by David Blunkett. He ordered that their children should also be jailed. Farid Ahmadi is a mechanic. His wife Feriba was planning to train to be a nurse in Britain.

Their skills could have benefited ordinary people in Britain. The children spoke English and were making friends. But Blunkett has rushed to drive the Ahmadi family out of Britain. They fled from Afghanistan last year. Their home was bombed, killing the children's two uncles and an aunt.

The country is still being bombed by US warplanes in Bush and Blair's 'war on terror'. The Ahmadi family had wide support among people in Lye in Stourbridge where they lived. That counts for nothing with Blunkett, who is riding the tide of racist anti-refugee hysteria whipped up by the right wing press and politicians. They demand mass deportations and the detention of refugees. Blunkett wants to make an example of the Ahmadi family to show how ruthless and brutal his government will be, even to those fleeing war and persecution. Blunkett's sidekick, immigration minister Beverley Hughes, had already ordered police to smash into a West Midlands mosque in July where the terrified Ahmadi parents were sheltering.

The children were made wards of court and their parents were sent to Harmondsworth detention centre, where they pleaded for their lives in Britain. Letter Then Blunkett trampled over this court ruling. Immigration officers seized Haida and Seera, and locked them up with their parents in Harmondsworth last Friday night.

The Home Office then sent the family a letter announcing that they would be deported to Germany on Wednesday of this week. New Labour wants to drive refugees out of Britain by shovelling them back to the first European country they arrived in. The Ahmadis left Germany because they had suffered racial harassment. Feriba was twice taken to hospital after a breakdown. Feriba explained what impact imprisonment was having on her children:

'They have no clothes, toys, nothing. All the other children in here, they cry all the time. The people are so confused and scared.' Soraya Walton, a family friend who had been looking after the Ahmadi children, said, 'They have been through enough trauma in their short lives. They were just settling down. They speak English well, and have made friends. What sort of a country are we to treat little children like this?'

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Article information

Sat 17 Aug 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1813
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