REVIEW: ILLEGAL – BY UEA ALUMNUS, JOHN DENNEHY

by Hannah Rose

“All kinds of people are captured by nations and borders, and every one of them has a story to tell.”

The topic of immigration has been a defining feature of European politics in recent times. Between January 2015 and October 2016 around 7000 people were camped in ‘The Jungle’, Calais – in woodland, ditches and fields, waiting for an opportunity to leave mainland Europe and enter the UK. Of this 7000, 62% were young men under 40 of non-European origin, and, according to the Help Refugees census, 761 were children. The images of these young people living in appalling conditions, seeking any means possible to cross the Channel were broadcast on news streams around the world. The British tabloid press called them the “swarm”; an “influx”. When thousands of refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East broke through the Horgos border between Hungary and Croatia in September 2015, the Hungarian police used teargas and water cannons to keep them back. These examples tell us that when humans move en masse, they cease to be human in the eyes of the authorities and the sensationalist press. Our values — the border between kindness and cruelty — has been interrogated like never before in our generation.

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INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR AND UEA ALUMNUS JOHN DENNEHY

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by Hannah Rose

Your new book, Illegal, tells the story of your arrest and deportation from Ecuador and your consequent return over the Colombian border with the help of corrupt police. There’s also a love story which runs through it. Crime and love both sell books – was this thematic mix deliberate?

My original intent was to focus on borders and revolution but almost every person who read a draft, especially early on, wanted to know more about the love story. So I kept adding more with each new edit. We’ve all been in love so that shared experience makes it relatable and easier to digest. That common basis is a great launch pad to touch on everything else, too.Continue Reading

THOUGHTS FROM THE FENCES – YARL’S WOOD & THE IMPORTANCE OF IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

by Lotty Clare

Content warning: mentions violence against women, abuse, rape, self-harm, suicide, racism, harassment, homophobia.

Last Saturday, a group of UEA students and Norwich residents travelled to a protest at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire. This protest was the fifth Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary (MFJ) has organised to shut down detention centres. As I approached the building, hidden inside an industrial estate, surrounded by fields, in the middle of nowhere, it was just as intimidating and depressing as 6 months ago when I went to Yarl’s Wood for the first time. It looks like a prison, except that it is ‘worse than prison, because you have no rights’, as former detainee Aisha Shua put it. Some women are in Yarl’s Wood because their visa expired, others because their asylum claim was unsuccessful. They have committed no crime. And yet they can be detained there indefinitely.

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YARL’S WOOD

by Alison Graham

Content warning: mentions violence against women, rape.

Britain has the greatest area of land dedicated to the indefinite detention of human beings in Europe. This is legal.

See:

A former inmate looks at the place in which her back was physically, literally, broken and says don’t give up. Women thread flowers through this border within a border within a border. The border is admitted only by the letters IRC. Green paint flecks cling to the toes of your boots. On a hill do not question whether the people with the kite-fluttering hands can see you.

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Is it rare to recall dreams. Where can I find this on gov.uk. If the guards are rapists what does that make the walls. How do you resist the lines you were born the right side of. How do you resist. Can love and hatred happen at the same time, and transform you equally. Are there two kinds of hatred. How about three. How about in the same place, at the same time. And built into the container itself – the beige, the smallness of the windows, the low shade of the roof, the two fields away from the road where no one is living. How are you. Do you need water. Can you read the sign from that window. Is this your first time. When will we deport Theresa. Is there a postcode for here. Have they repainted the fence. Is it really violent to kick it so that it thunders. Who is bringing the smoke flares next time, and in what colour. Do you need water. How do you resist. Is it violence when your window looks over an unreachable place, when that unreachable place is so blooming. Is it when everything is glass and unbreakable. What is the consensus on winding yourself at a border with a child’s party toy to say in a way I make noise therefore you are. Are there two kinds of hatred. How about four. How about one for each piece of sand on a beach in southeast Europe. Do you need water. Is this your first time. Is it violent. When this is all over, will people laugh at the theory of lying flowers on a has-been border, as if it were a wrist.

Featured Image credit: Jan McLachan


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THE FAILINGS OF GREEN GOVERNMENT – AN INTERVIEW WITH CARL SCHLYTER OF THE SWEDISH GREEN PARTY

By Olivia Hanks

There were inspiring stories from Green parties all around the world at the Global Greens congress in Liverpool, but arguably one of the most uplifting came from Isabella Lövin. The Swedish Green Party spokesperson has been minister for international development cooperation since her party entered government in coalition with the Social Democrats in October 2014.

Lövin recounted how, despite being by far the junior partner in the coalition (25 seats in parliament to the Social Democrats’ 113), the Greens have brought about numerous changes in policy: “We have put forward a climate law obliging all future governments to achieve net zero emissions by 2045,” she told delegates. “We also have a broad cross-party agreement to have 100 percent renewable electricity by 2040. And, mind you – without nuclear power!”

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INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS AND RECLAIMING GLOBALISATION

By Laura Potts

More than 43 000 people come every year from overseas to study in the UK; a vast spectrum of people with differing backgrounds, cultures and interests/abilities. An international student’s experience of learning abroad goes further than just their degree. They encounter a different way of life that may enrich and enhance their own. They each bring with them a unique set of capacities, a wealth of ideas and innovative potential solutions that create a stimulating multicultural academic environment for all. But adapting in this way is often difficult, as I’ve learned recently speaking to international students at my university.

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CORBYN’S STANCE ON IMMIGRATION IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT

by Natasha Senior

Content warning: mentions racism and xenophobia

It has been a disappointing folly from the start that the progressive parties of Britain should keep relentlessly droning on about how immigration has had a net-positive impact on average wages. This remark, whilst true, is misleading and falls on deaf ears. The immigration problem is not simply a phantom created by the xenophobic right. As I have argued in a previous article, it is a real, tangible issue born of companies’ exploitation of free movement of people, an utter disregard for the dignity of labour and lack of social cohesion. This requires, not the reactionary response of cutting immigration itself, that right-wing parties have been pushing for years, but a progressive alternative that addresses the issue without feeding into the venomous narrative. This is what the Labour Party are offering.Continue Reading