The Blanket

What is there to celebrate?

Debbie Grue • May 2003


The regular bulletins from The Blanket, through the internet, cuts through government/Provisional censorship.

My current paid work includes working with asylum seekers in Manchester. And I remembered yesterday, when I met Tom Hartley 10 years ago in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. He made great significance of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and felt that this was a great sign that partition may be disappearing in Ireland.

However, my work with asylum seekers makes me think that this was much more of an omen than a present out of a lucky bag. The Romas whom I have got to know have explained in detail, massive discrimination and brutality in the eastern European countries. They are refused mortgages, segregated in education, had homes expropriated by the police, have suffered open collusion between the state and racist death gangs, and have to pay bribes to get health care etc.

Sure, it is easy to look back in hindsight, and Mr. Hartley could be forgiven for not looking into the future. Nevertheless, unless he looks at and condemns the present situation, he should not only be ashamed of himself, but also have the integrity to recognise that the working class, including ethnic minorities, have done dismally out of the fall of the Berlin wall. There has been nothing to celebrate either for the people of Eastern Europe or Ireland.






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