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Time to change the conversation

Every Thursday at DCC, translation is a skill called upon to unlock the concerns of those who are looking for help and support. It’s a kind of superpower. The ability to speak someone’s language and to convey their meaning to an English-speaking DCC volunteer allows many things to become possible.

Beyond the practicalities, it offers a message of validation to that speaker of Amharic, Arabic, Farsi, Fulani, Pushto, Sorani, Tigrinya, Turkish, Zaghawa.

A philosopher once proposed the idea that the limits of my language are the limits of my world. What if we had the opportunity to see the world differently, through languages? It would curtail the current dominant ideological narrative touted by the Home Office, because that particular brand of nastiness is based on obfuscation.

It would be a mistake to label it as prejudice (ignorance and fear) because it is a deliberate manipulation of tired metaphors designed to whip up right-wing fervour. Even third sector organisations have been affected by this hostile linguistic environment. NGOs have become preoccupied with the migrant crisis. There is no such crisis.

We who align ourselves as not superior to people seeking asylum must still remain vigilant. The dominant narrative is all-pervasive. It compromises us as it corrodes our ability to see past the designated terms. Perhaps the most problematic of all is the term asylum seeker or even persons/people seeking asylum. Why? Because of the notion of seeking.

It is everyone’s right to be safe from harm. And in the UK, the Human Rights Act 1998 protects the rights of everyone on British soil. The human rights contained within this law are based on the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. Asylum is there to be claimed.

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