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.

Leeds Refugee Week – 14th – 21st June

Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities that celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK and promotes better understanding of why people seek sanctuary. Anyone can get involved by organising, attending or taking part in activities. In Leeds events are co-ordinated by Leeds Refugee Forum and a full programme of 17 main …

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Excellent Leeds law firm short-listed for award

Henry Hyams Solicitors are delighted to have been shortlisted for The Law Society’s Excellence Awards, which will be judged on 9 October. The Leeds based legal firm undertakes pro-bono (free) work in support of the Manuel Bravo Project. The project offers free legal advice to asylum seekers who wish to appeal against a negative first decision or submit a fresh …

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Is the UK number one in Europe?

Source: UNHCR From the images in the media and the political hype, you’d think that the UK was the number one destination for asylum seekers in Europe. In reality we’re not that popular and it’s questionable whether we pull our weight. Don’t forget that 8 out of 10 refugees escape to neighbouring countries in the same region. Asia hosts 4.8 million …

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The Daily Mail – our new best friend?

As the director of Leeds Asylum Seeker Support Network, I get a lot of emails from people: people offering their help and support, wanting information about what we do, even the occasional opportunity to earn ££££s in my spare time. This one was offering to sell us Banner Adverts for LASSN on the Daily Mail website, for £495. I laughed …

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Immigration // Représentation Festival

Immigration //Représentation is a new initiative by French, Cultural and Communication students at the University of Leeds exploring and challenging representations of immigration in francophone cinema. Throughout March they will host a series of free film screening on the Leeds University campus as well as research workshops exploring contemporary representations of immigration. The festival will culminate with an free event …

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