New Year's Wishes
"Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, which takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice."
- Arnold Toynbee, historian
John Pilger has set out his wish list for 2009, which he wrote before Israel began its bombing campaign, and includes Tony Blair being sentenced for life imprisonment for war crimes.
What would be your wish list for 2009?
My wish is for open borders and the abolition of immigration control. Open borders will mean:-
- An end to the detention of immigrant men, women and children in the UK's ten immigration removal centres, short-term holding facilities and in police custody.
- An end to the detention of immigrants for no crime other than crossing the border, a detention which is indefinite and without automatic oversight.
- An end to the deaths of those who, desperate to get here, stow away in ships, lorries and planes.
- An end to children and adults damaging the tips of their fingerprint in attempts to avoid detection by the Europe-wide fingerprinting database, EURODAC, and deportation.
- An end to the death of those, like Joy Gardner, facing forced deportation and the brutal ill-treatment of Beatrice Guessie and many others.
- An end to our communities being ripped apart when children who have settled in school here and adults who have made a home here face being deported, and an end to endless relatives and friends being told they don't have the right to come here to join their loved ones.
Yes, wise men could visit to see a newborn baby without applying for a visa months in advance, facing a probable refusal of that visa and a lengthy appeals process, or, if they risked everything and arrived without a visa, spending a journey in a police car or security van, being locked up in a removal centre for months and then forcibly deported with handcuffs and escorts, and banned from re-entry to the UK
Besides the obvious betterment of our human rights record, I have no doubt that there would be many evident practical and economic benefits of the abolition of immigration control.
With open borders, what I look forward to most is the liberating phenomenon of living in a community that can be welcoming and inclusive and to the global freedoms of association and expression. When people can travel, work and live where they wish, we will all be living in a place of freedom rather than in a fortress and we'll be able to see each other again.
This vision takes my imagination by storm! Is a leap too far for you or will you drink to open borders with me as we see in the New Year?
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.