No bomb that ever bursts shatters the crystal spirit: With Farid and others in a British prison
By Kevin Annett
By Kevin Annett
"I wear as a badge of honor my deportation from a country of liars and cut throats." -- Big Bill Haywood, IWW leader and revolutionary, 1920
The filthy fiction calling itself the Crown of England finally vomited me from its midst this week, only five days before I was to speak of its crimes at the annual Against Child Abuse Rally in London's Trafalgar Square.
I am proud to have shared a British prison with many freedom fighters over time, including my own ancestor Peter Annett; but also alongside nameless men and women who are caught today in the claws of the police state called Britain.
Here is what happened:
The room is small, unventilated, and foul-smelling, and crammed with ten of us. I am the only white person there.
A Malaysian mother with her four year old daughter sits in one corner, sobbing uncontrollably. Incarcerated for half a day, she’s one of the luckier ones: a young Turkish man called Farid has languished in here for nearly three days, isolated from his four children. Farid has lived in England for eleven years, doing sweat jobs and loyally paying his taxes, but tomorrow he’ll be deported over a technicality in his work visa.
There is no appeal allowed. His children will not accompany him.
This is the Immigration Prison in Stansted airport, outside London. The date is the early hours of May 30, 2011.
The net fell on me suddenly the night before, as I made my way through the border control desk after disembarking from the Netherlands.
A banal little twit in a uniform scanned my passport through his computer, and quickly looked shocked as he peered through thick lenses at the screen. He scuttled off to speak to his supervisor, who I watched through the glass window of his office as he looked at his own computer, nodded his head and said something to the twit.
Triumphantly – I guess he got extra points for bagging a suspected enemy of the state – Twit boy returned and informed me with a whine of condescension that my giving public lectures was “unusual” for a tourist, that I was "suspect", and would therefore be barred from entering England.
"What exactly am I suspected of doing?" I asked the guy.
“But first you are to come this way” he motioned, ignoring my question like I hadn't said anything, and we walked to a tiny holding cell. The Twit left me alone in there for a half hour, I guess to make me sweat, but when he returned I was calmly whistling an Irish melody that seemed to annoy him to no end.
“I bet you find your job difficult” I ventured to the Twit as he fiddled with his papers. Attempting a smile, he answered, “No, actually one meets very fascinating people in this line of work” he replied.
“People like you, then?” I said, but I don’t think he got my joke.
The Twit refused to give me his name when I asked, nor could I know the name of his supervisor. He also wasn’t wearing a badge number, although later he made a gaff when he donned another coat and I saw his number: 6676.
“You’ll be in here tonight, until we can send you back from whence you came” Twit informed me, gesturing to a white door. He knocked, and a stern young guy answered who wore a vest labeled Reliance: the private company that profits off incarcerating people all over England.