We are very close to securing Edy refugee status in Britain as a gay Tanzanian. Edy, a member of Movement for Justice, has been a public leader in the struggle for equality and respect for lesbian, gay and transgender refugees, exposing the persecution of gay people in Tanzania (which the Home Office had denied existed), and fighting for safety in Britain for himself and others. Edy had been held in detention, and refused asylum on every basis.
At his hearing on 5th March 2012 the Home Office representative began by accepting for the first time that Edy is gay, that TZN is not safe for gay people, and reciting a long list of the flaws and errors of their original decision. He then asked for an adjournment to allow the Home Office to revise their position and in his words “strongly recommend” Edson be granted asylum. We should hear within 6 weeks.
Many people took action to prevent Edy’s deportation.
His case became famous – a cause for people fighting to reverse the racism, homophobia and hypocrisy of an immigration system that has been prepared to deport so many to pain and death. Edy was talked about across Europe and the U.S. Everyone who has played a role in fighting this case has opened the door to winning a huge victory, for Edy, for immigrant rights, and for the LGBT movement, and we celebrate that.
The best way to celebrate this wonderful victory is to use the lessons of it to teach many, many more people how to fight to win, and to oppose the hypocritical policies of the west.
We can win by building our independent strength and power in mass action. We cannot win by politely trying to fit what the rich and powerful tell us to be, or by staying quiet – we must be proud to be ourselves. If we unite our communities – black, Asian, immigrant, gay and straight, poor, working class, middle class, with and without citizenship, we can become powerful enough to defend ourselves and our neighbors, friends and families against being snatched away, detained and forced onto planes.
Join BAMN and build BAMN groups on your campus / school / in your community now!
The movement we build is the only way to defend each other, and expand our victories to change society.
Groups like MFJ and BAMN can provide leadership, organising mass defense whenever the need arises, of the student or community member who is under threat because they don’t have official status or they have to seek asylum. Holding meetings that agree to organise; setting up phone networks to get people out and into action if someone is detained and fast tracked (like Edy was); circulating petitions and making victories known so more people can learn how to fight back; these are some of the basic things that can make an enormous difference and save lives.