Well I am sitting down, forcing myself to write this. I’ve been back in my community in Perth Western Australia for about 2 months – I guess that’s long enough. The title is a lame attempt to sum up what the content of this entry is – you know like titles used to. I’ve not written for a while a number of reasons; writers block call it.
My wife and I were refused entry to the UK in early September, this event adding further interest to our Sabbath year. (We have been involved in a car accident, were in Melbourne at the time of ‘Black Saturday’, an old friend was murdered, we were not paid for work we did in Australia … I’m sure theres more)
Our experience at Heathrow was another first. We came to the gate at about 6 am local time and after a short conversation were placed somewhere for special people – in detention. After 4 or so hours we had a secondary interview and then told of our imminent return to our last port – Singapore, a cool 12 hour flight.
There was this sense in rubbing up against a beast, so large that even if we pushed with all our selves we would not move it. We resigned ourselves to returning. The beast was the UK’s Home Office.
The Home Office said that we were lying about our intention to come for a holiday for 5 months – that we were going to work. I’m a nine on the enneagram (I think) so I’m great at seeing other people’s point of view. I can see a little of what they meant, in our lack of preparation.
But, they wouldn’t let us access the internet to prove our cash resources, didn’t give us independent advice about our options, were not transparent about either processes or laws and relied on theories of what people will and will not do. I’m white and my first language is English and I was confused and frustrated by my treatment. I cannot begin to imagine the experience of others who were there. We met with people who were arbitrarily detained from Africa, Sri Lanka, and Brazil all of who were allowed in after some hours (their visas were fine only the staff took a disliking to something). Spending time with them was great, we would try to comfort them, explain things to them and talk with them.