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Be somebody vote somebidy

Michael Taylor | 09.06.2001 02:21

Going to the polls with a refugee after 10 years being denied the right to vote against anti-refugee and racism proved to me why people fight to vote somebody and be heard

Azada(not her real name) is an Iranian revolutionary socialist and a tireless campaigner for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees in this country. Last year, she spoke publically for the first time about her imprisonment and torture for resisting Khomeini's fascist Islamic regime. In tears she poured out how it feels to be an asylum seeker and a refugee in the UK today. She says "We suffer as workers just as you do but on top of that we have racism, discrimination and isolation". When I asked her what made her come out and speak, she replied "All the lies about us. I decided I had to defend myself and my rights. I decided I have to set the record straight about who creates the refugees in the world".

She explained how after 10 years of suffering here the effects of the various Immigration and Asylum Acts as someone without voting rights, finally, finally she could vote this year. The government had "naturalised" her and given her UK citizenship. She dreams of going home one day to see her family and loved ones, comrades and the places of her childhood memories.

At the polling booth, giggling, she asked me, "which one is the Socialist Alliance one, the one that that is against border controls?". She said "today for the first time at least I feel an equal even if it only as one person with one vote".

I ask the Vote Nobody campaigners to consider how much the vote means to many people. It is good to see you have fun declaring "Free Easton" an autonomous zone and I look forward to the day it is true. But to Azada it is a lie when the police still stop and search, people still blame and supermarkets still segregate with vouchers in "Free" Easton. Come and talk to Azada and ask her why she voted somebody. Come and see her face when she watches race riots on the TV and sees Nazis getting thousands of votes. Try telling her she shouldn't vote and that they should be allowed their "freedom of expression".

A brilliant Chumbawamba song sings "Love me I'm a Liberal". I enjoy seeing your spirit happy but if we really want a free Easton we need millions and millions of people to resist. And for that we've go to connect with those like Azada who want the vote to help build the confidence to seriously resist bosses at work and Nazis in the street.

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor


Display the following 5 comments

  1. Power to all people — Carolyn
  2. Come together — Sycamore boy
  3. but voting changes nothing! — Generation Terrorists
  4. I feel kind of sad — sad
  5. Democracy -a polite word for exploitation — Leon