Can you imagine a civilised European country that would refuse entry to David? That’s David, as in I Am David, by Anne Holm. It’s one of my top hankie books, only recently matched by In the Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda, about Enaiatollah Akbari. The main difference between David and Enaiatollah is that David is fictional. And nicely Danish.
This isn’t the first time I’m mentioning immigration on here, and it won’t be the last either. At least not while some countries believe they are so irresistible that absolutely everyone would prefer to come and live in them, stopping at nothing to achieve their goal.
Did I ever mention the council employee in my borough who checked whether I had any undesirable relatives who might flock to Britain in search of untold riches, and I don’t know what else, if they gave me a National Insurance number? It offended me deeply, and I doubt that even had my elderly aunts been desperate to move to England, that they would have gone about it by getting me to find someone to marry, so that fifteen years later they could join me in my foreigner-’friendly’ new country.
Anyway, here I am, complete with NI number and everything, and not an unwanted aunt in sight. This weekend I’m heading north, to take in a week at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. (Typing this just now, my attention was caught by the word ‘international’. I think it means something involving several countries.)
So, I was very disappointed to find this information yesterday: ’Enaiatollah Akbari, whose story has been so movingly told by Fabio Geda in “In the Sea There Are Crocodiles”, has “…met an obstacle this week that he could not conquer: the UK visa system” and will be linked in to his Edinburgh Festival event by video. 5pm Sunday 21st Aug.’
I loved this book, and I had really been looking forward to the event. It will most likely still be good, with the remaining foreigner they are allowing in. The thing is, Fabio Geda is Italian, and a citizen of an EU country. Enaiatollah Akbari is presumably still an Afghan refugee with the right to remain in Italy. But no right to enter the UK.
What do they imagine he’d do? Stay?
I doubt he’d want to, but if he did, this country ought to be proud to have him. I can’t think of a nicer role model.
So we’ll miss Enaiatollah in Edinburgh. Whoever decided he couldn’t come here ought to be ashamed. I hope I can find somewhere else that will welcome him with open arms.
(This caused me to think back 29 years, and the immigration officer at Heathrow. I remember his superior tone when enquiring if the Resident IT Consultant was born in England, because it’s a well know fact that us ghastly foreigners stick together. I had to admit that, no, he wasn’t…)