The look of respect

“I didn’t like the dynamics of them being against the wall again and me, with my massive camera, subjecting them to my gaze.” Nana Varveropoulou, the Guardian. Before the big story broke (in Europe) of millions of people displaced from their homes, trudging towards countries where the rule of law, democracy and human rights are mostly upheld; Before the terrible …

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Hundreds Welcome Refugees in Leeds

#refugeeswelcome – the Public Meeting at West Yorkshire Playhouse, 15th September 2015 On Tuesday night, a couple of hundred citizens of Leeds pitched up to the West Yorkshire Playhouse to find out how they could respond to the Refugee Crisis unfolding in Europe.The event was organised by Leeds City of Sanctuary, with help fromTogether for Peace, Migration Yorkshire and  Leeds …

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Leeds feeling strain of 0.03% increase in population

It’s great to see Leeds talking seriously about how it can support people fleeing violence and forced to leave their homes and countries. The council task force has come up with a “compassionate” plan to offer 200 Syrians a home. (See But is it really enough when there are over 4,000,000 Syrian refugees? And is the task force right when it judges …

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We’re the same

We’re the same you and me.

You leave Homs – I leave home.

We both get caught in a queue.

It’s the M1 that brings me to a halt.

My air-conditioning drowning the DJ.

I’m snarled, and angry, fighting for a lane.

For you it’s the border that brings you to a stop.

Armed guards shouting and pointing you back.

You’re starved, and scared, fighting for a life.


We’re the same you and me.

You flee to save your life.

I live on what I’ve saved.

You’re a migrant escaping the pain.

I’m an ex-pat avoiding the rain.

You take nothing – everything left behind.

I bring essentials – tea, marmite, marmalade.


We’re the same you and me.

But I’m worth more – I have so much.

So I’m building a wall to keep me safe.

Around my house securing my place.

A border to keep you out.

Surrounding my country.

Surrounding my wealth.

We’re the same you and me.

But I’m worth more

so you keep out.


If you are rich and attractive to others, you also have to be strong because if not, they will take away what you have worked for and you will be poor, too.
Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán. Guardian, 5 September 2015

Alternatively, here are 6 things you can do to help refugees if you live in Leeds.

In fighting Islamic State and Assad, Britain cannot forget their victims

According to David Cameron, the aim of British involvement in Iraq and Syria would be to stabilise the area. This of course, in the short term, means the defeat of the Islamic State and a resolution to the conflict in Syria. It appears to be vitally important to our government that this particular area returns to some semblance of calm. …

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Journeys of great uncertainty

Asylum seekers arriving in the UK are dispersed to make their own way to major cities in remote regions to be interviewed by the Home Office. Most arrive disorientated and harassed before a long interview that will determine their future. Acts of hospitality are lifelines in this hostile system. ‘I couldn’t sleep on the eve of the journey because I …

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The right to legal representation

Manuel Bravo Project – Legal assistance for people seeking asylum The Manuel Bravo Project is a volunteer-based service which offers legal assistance to unrepresented asylum seekers. We offers free legal advice to asylum seekers who wish to appeal against a negative first decision or submit a fresh claim for asylum and who cannot obtain legal aid. The project employs seven …

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Home Office policy on asylum support is unlawful

Asylum seekers are given so little in benefit that they cannot meet their essential living needs and the High Court has ordered the Secretary of State to rethink the decision not to increase support rates. Refugee Action’s research found that almost 40% of asylum seekers waiting for an initial decision on their asylum claim, do not have enough money to buy adequate food …

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Over 1,000 people in Leeds say YES to Syrian resettlement

1,132 people have called on Leeds City Council to put itself forward as a place to resettle Syrian refugees. The humanitarian crisis in Syria is one of the most tragic and devastating in recent world history. We welcome the support the UK has already provided in humanitarian aid and the recent Government announcement that the UK plans offer temporary resettlement …

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