Monday, January 24, 2005

Joining the humanity

As Michael Howard, leader of Britain's Conservative party, tries to exploit xenophobia by deliberately misrepresenting statistics, a small voice of sanity in a story published in 24 Jan Guardian:

A headteacher is organising counselling for his pupils because they are so distressed by the imminent deportation of a Kurdish asylum seeker.

Pupils at the Mayfield school in Portsmouth are to be given advice and reassurance following the detention of Lorin Sulaiman, 15, who joined the school a year ago unable to speak any English. She has since been placed on the gifted and talented register, and was chosen to represent her year on the school council.

Although Portsmouth has gained a reputation as a hotbed of hostility towards asylum seekers, a campaign is being mounted on the family's behalf.

Derek Trimmer, the headteacher of the 1,306-pupil school, said... the anti-asylum [British National Party] had been active in Portsmouth. "Some of our older students whose views on race were a bit hostile needed counselling because they had very strong feelings about what was happening to Lorin, and had difficulty in bringing their two views together".

(my emphasis)

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