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02 August 2006

When worlds collide

I really wanted to post the accompanying picture to this brief article in the Independent, but it was not on the web, apparently. The story is about a boatload of refugees from Africa who landed on a pleasure beach in the Canary Islands, and the picture, a two page spread of stunning impact, showed the dehydrated asylum-seekers, some of them barely conscious with heat exhaustion, being administered water, shade and human comfort by holiday-makers as they all awaited the arrival of a Red Cross rescue team.
In less heartening immigration news (not about immigration at all, in fact, which is what makes it especially maddening), the same paper had the story of numerous cases of respected musicians who have been deported from or refused entry to the UK due to visa technicalities. Care to take a guess which continent most of them happen to hail from? Included in the litany of ignominy is the story of Thomas Mapfumo, billed for the Womad Festival but sent back from the airport to Zimbabwe, and a nine-member Mozambique group not permitted to pass through Britain on the way to a concert in Italy because of the lack of transit visas. I really cannot say anything more about all this, or I will start ranting.

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