Local treasure

26th July 2022

A refugee and friend, Abdul Abbas, has been seeking asylum in this country. So far he's been waiting 1 year and 9 months for the Home Office to make a decision on his application. For being Christian, Abdul was shot in the leg and in fear of his life, which is why he and his family had to flee their home country of Iraq. His family are in a refugee camp in Turkey. Abdul travelled through 6 countries over a couple of years, spending much of his time homeless, to eventually reach the UK. Rather than welcome him and others like him, Abdul is left waiting. He lives on £37 per week.

Abdul doesn't generally complain. He is humble and tries to remain positive despite being in a lot of physical and emotional pain. He tells me that we are brothers, that this country is his because he lives here. And he does what many of us do not. He takes responsibility for where he lives. Abdul litter picks the town centre for several hours 5 times per week. He finds a lot of litter put into flower beds, which are next to bins. Thank you Abdul for making the effort to clean up our town and for setting a great example!

For his work, for being a kind gentleman, and for his excellent drumming skills, Abdul is a well respected and valued member of the community. Sadly our economic / political system treats him with little respect. Given the length of time that Abdul and his family have waited for a decision on his application for asylum, Abdul asked me to write to south Swindon MP Robert Buckland. The Harbour Project have done the same. I wrote to Robert Buckland advocating for Abdul, asking for information, and imploring that this process be speeded up. Such a wait is cruel and inhumane, rooted in the politics of oppression. Abdul continues to wait.