Jesurgislac’s Journal

September 26, 2008

ID Cards Don’t Work

The Guardian:

Brandishing an example of the baby pink and pale blue polycarbonate document, Jacqui Smith promised it would combat identity theft, help prevent illegal immigration and enable people to prove their identity more easily.

Wow, all by itself? How’s it going to do that, then? Not just a card that lets the government keep track of all your details on one giant database, but SuperCard!! Faster than a speeding bullet, it combats IdentityTheft (though folks do say behind its back that Identity Theft is actually SuperCard’s nebbish alter-ego), zooms round the country batting illegal immigrants back into the sea, and shows up, shiny-faced and bright-arsed, squeaking “I know that person, officer! Now just wait till I look them up and I’ll be able to tell you who they are, who they work for, what they earn, where they live, what serious illnesses they’ve had, if they’ve ever been picked up by the police before…” Or possibly, SuperCard will tell the police all about the person with the ID number that’s just one digit off yours. Who knows?

Join no2id.

PS: A voice from 2006, Philip Johnston points out that back in 1996, before Tony Blair had come to power with a large majority in Parliament, Bambi’s thinking was that “Instead of wasting hundreds of millions of pounds on compulsory ID cards, let that money provide thousands more police officers on the beat in our local community.” (My Vision of a Young Country, Tony Blair, 1996).

July 8, 2008

Being persecuted: seeking asylum: filling a quota

I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time, but the truth is I don’t know where to start. With Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, who said about a week ago: “In the 21st century no one in Britain should ever feel under threat of verbal or physical violence just because of their sexual orientation.” No. Move back four years or so.

In 2004, the Syrian government arrested a young man, Jojo Jako Yacob, whose father was involved with the Yakiti Party – pro-Kurdish, anti-government.

“At one point I was put up against a wall and a handgun pointed at me. I was told that if I did not tell the authorities what they wanted to know they would shoot me dead. I did not tell them anything, I did not think they would shoot me.”

“The police officer then shot me in my upper left arm. At that point, I told them what they wanted to know as I believed that they would shoot me dead.” (Death sentence: gay Syrian teenager facing deportation)

In Ahdas Prison, by the Turkish border, this young man formed a relationship with another prisoner – but the guards found out and the prisoners were systematically beaten, for days or weeks – Jojo no longer remembers.

“This was all because I was gay. No questions were asked of me about my father’s political party or any other political activity. All the questions related to me being gay.

“I was also subjected to cold-water torture, where I was put in a room and buckets of cold water were constantly thrown over me. I could not remember what day it was or how long I had been in prison. (Death sentence: gay Syrian teenager facing deportation)

He woke in hospital: the doctor who was treating him told him that he had been in a coma for 20 days. He escaped from Syria, intending to get to the UK, which he had heard was a democracy and treated people with justice and fairness. In early 2005, huddled in the back of a freezer lorry, suffering from post-traumatic shock, he arrived in the UK.

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