On the morning of Govan Fair 2012, an asylum seeker made homeless by Y people recently, was detained by the UK Borders Authority at its Govan office in Brand Street. He is scheduled to be deportation on Monday 11 June aboard a Qatar Airways flight to Dar es Sallam, Tanzania at 21.30 hours.
He is Ahmed Abdullah, a 27 year old Somalian man who has ‘made a significant contribution to his local community in Govan,’ say colleagues in Govan and Craigton Integration Network (GCIN) where he was a valued volunteer.
From a small island in the south of Somalia, he fled with his mother when he was aged 7 after soldiers shot his father. He lived precariously for most of his adolescence in different refugee camps and most of his family are dead. In 2005 an agent arranged a fake visa for him to come to the UK under a Tanzanian identity so that he could join his grandmother who was seeking asylum in the UK.
Volunteers at Unity Centre in Govan, which monitors and supports asylum seekers who are required to ‘sign in’ at UKBA in Brand Street at regular intervals, put out an appeal tonight (Friday 1 June 2012) for people to contact the Home Secretary, Theresa May, urgently, to ask for the forced removal flight to be stopped and for Ahmed to be returned to safety in Glasgow. They also ask supporters to contact Qatar Airways to ask them not to fly Ahmed.
Ahmed is the latest in an new wave of detentions at Brand Street. Theeparajh Thilliyampalam from Sri Lanka was due to be forcibly removed on Thursday 31 May to Colombo.
He and many of his family had been imprisoned and tortured and some murdered, by government forces. His partner disappeared in November and it is believed she has been kidnapped by government forces. His appeal for asylum was rejected because of lack of documentary evidence.
Joshua Odeke is currently in detention and is due to be forcibly removed from the UK to Nigeria on the June 7.
His life is in danger if he is returned to Nigeria because of his political roots, his Christian religion and the fact that he is homosexual. He is due to be removed on a Charter Flight number PVT090 to Lagos at 23.20.
Full details of how to protest at these forced removals is on Unity Website: www.unitycentreglasgow.org
Words and Picture by Stuart Maxwell
Glasgow’s Sri Lankan community were out en masse for an Art Festival at Woodside Hall where performers put on a dazzling display of dance and theatre.
The art festival is part of a very special month for Glasgow’s Hindu population. Many important prayer days occur in the lead up to Diwali- a special day for Hindus across the world known as the ‘festival of lights’ which celebrates good over evil and light over dark. This year, Diwali is to be celebrated on the 5th November in Glasgow’s George Square.
On Sunday 24 October,Glasgow’s strong Sri Lankan community warmed up for Diwali with a day of dance based on Barathat Natiyam- a classic South Indian style. Over 300 people turned out to see community members perform strictly choreographed routines and theatrical plays.
Making sure performances followed the Barathat tradition was Sunija Binu, art director of Abhinaya Dance Group. Said Sunija:’Today went very well. My dancers have been practicing for 4 months and worked hard for this day. It is about bringing light to the people, through dance and through art. Over 300 people turned out and I hope what we created delighted them.’
The event was organised by Sri Mangala Vinayahar Community Centre, a local Sri Lankan community group. Chairperson Ananthi Velnayagam said:’ Today’s festival was very good for the Sri Lankian community. This month we, as Hindus, celebrate very important prayer days so each year we orgainse a cultural event like this one. We organise when we can, depending when we can get the hall.’
The art festival in Woodside Hall was supported by Glasgow Life, the Canal Area Committee and the Scottish Community Foundation.