15 June, 2008


Catch a tiger by his tail

Laban draws our attention to this contribution to London's vibrant diversity. Bored with reading about Africans shooting and stabbing each other in South London? How about a bit of Tamil violence for a change?

One thing puzzles me. Apparently, some, possibly many, Tamils in the UK owe their permanent presence here to successfully claiming asylum from the fear of persecution at home in Ceylon. More generally, quite a number of people from all over the Indian Subcontinent have claimed asylum here on the basis of flight from some individually plausible category of persecution.

And yet India is a vast and diverse, startingly diverse, place. If a Tamil in Sri Lanka is in fear of the Sinhalese, he can easily flee across the Palk Straight to Tamil Nadu. If he is in fear of the LTTE, he can disappear among the seething Tamil hordes of Madras; he would be safer and less conspicuous there than in London, where apparently the LTTE's long arm can still reach him.

Much the same argument applies to other Subcontinentals claiming asylum. Punjabi Muslim in fear of the Sikhs? Try moving to Karachi, not Cricklewood.

Or is their choice of asylum country motivated by something other than safety? Do tell.

I am reminded once again of the Ugandan woman who, her husband having been murdered by political enemies, betook herself and her youngest child to London, where she claimed asylum. Her older children were at boarding school in another part of Uganda, where they were apparently safe. When these children completed their education, our brazen refugee lady applied for them to be allowed to join her in the UK.

Simple question: if her children were safe enough from her late husband's enemies elsewhere in Uganda, why did she not go there herself?

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