Friday, 23 December 2011

No room at the Irish inn?

This 5th of 7 Christmas colyooms I’m posting this week was written in December 2004, just after the Irish, (a nation of people who more than any other have seen - and still see! - economic migration as their birthright) voted in a referendum to deny children born in Ireland the right of automatic citizenship. 

Christmas is a cosy time of year, isn’t it? Roaring fires, full bellies and a movie before tea. Comfortable, happy and safe. Yes, feeling safe, that’s what it’s all about. 

You close your eyes and drift off into a little snooze, but your mind brings you nightmares.

You’re walking into your home, but it feels empty. Silent. Where is your wife and where are your children?

You walk into the kids’ bedroom and see a few clothes thrown around. You see that their small suitcase is missing, and then you run, crazed, into your own bedroom, where you see your wife’s bag gone too. 

You don’t know what to do. 
You call your friends and find nobody knows anything. 
All you can do is sit and wait and hope they return.

Two days later, you receive a call from the police. Your wife went to a government office to pick up some forms, was suddenly arrested, handcuffed, and driven immediately across town to pick up some clothes for the children. Then she and your children were rushed to the airport and thrown out of the country, flown off to the very place you spent your life trying to escape.

What a terrible country that must be to live in. To lose your wife and kids, without so much as a kiss goodbye. To think of the shame your wife felt being walked handcuffed through an airport. To feel the fear and confusion of your children who might wonder what terrible thing they had done to deserve this.

To wonder if you will ever see your family again. 

Kingsley Igbojionu may well have seen his wife Rachel, and their two Irish-born children again, as months after his wife was humiliated and deported, he too was sent back to Nigeria.

As you recline safely in your Christmas armchairs, ponder for a second about Ireland, and how it behaves towards refugees.

Over 80% of you voted ‘Yes’ in the referendum this year. Over 400 people have been sent out of this country since then, and more than 11,000 parents of Irish-born children could be deported. 

The kids can stay, but what parents would abandon their children to the care of a State that has enforced such a separation?

No room at the Inn. Happy Christmas to you.

Christmas is supposedly a celebration of birth, love and delivery from fear. This year, if you will excuse my chutzpah, this Atheist Jew implores you all to behave like true Christians. 

Love thy neighbour.

Celebrate the fact that others want to live here. They want to share their cultures, to love their children, and to worship their own gods.

Pray in your churches this Christmas that all the people living in this land might feel as safe as you do.
Oh, and have a most excellent and jubilant Christmas holiday!

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