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  Opinion   Columnists  17 Jun 2022  Farrukh Dhondy | Trouble mounts for BoJo all over UK: Will Rwanda come to rescue?

Farrukh Dhondy | Trouble mounts for BoJo all over UK: Will Rwanda come to rescue?

In his words: "I am just a professional writer, which means I don't do blogs and try and get money for whatever I write."
Published : Jun 17, 2022, 11:02 pm IST
Updated : Jun 17, 2022, 11:02 pm IST

Today the British government claims that Rwanda is the safest, most progressive, internationally engaged country in Africa

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend a news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, June 17, 2022. (Photo: AP)
 Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend a news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, June 17, 2022. (Photo: AP)

“O Bachchoo please admit that Karma rules:
Of births and rebirths, we are but the tools
Of consequence — the wisest of mankind
Who make one slip, will be reborn as fools!

O Bachchoo of friends you have known the best
Kind and generous, some have gone to rest
We kept awake with dance and drink till dawn
Memories keep you from being depressed!”

— From The Rubaiyat of Bachchoo

Rwanda was the focus of international attention when the war between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes led to genocide. The Tutsi government of Paul Kagame pacified the country and through mass “elimination” of all Hutu opposition, has been in power since 2002.

Today the British government claims that Rwanda is the safest, most progressive, internationally engaged country in Africa. Are Prime Minister BoJo and his Uncle Tom’s Cabinet of Priti “Clueless” Patel, Hedgie Sunak, Kwasi Kwarteng and others the best assessors of the social and political landscapes of other countries?

When did this manner of assessment of the nature, character, “safety”, scope of freedoms, democratic make-up, societal inclinations… etc, begin? Gentle reader, we live in the age of something called “Trip Advisor”. I have never used it, but I’m told you can look up any location, hotel or place to visit on this globe and this facility will tell you all about it and what to expect — is it near a dangerous nuclear plant? Will man-eating sharks threaten your swim?

The very existence of Trip Advisor indicates that the world has evolved into a global community — with the real equivalent of my symbolic unstable-nuclear installations and man-eating sharks lurking in undemocratic, repressive, dictatorial even genocidal regimes, nations and states.

The world’s media — at least those papers and platforms which are truly independent of any regime or material interest — regularly and through the necessity imposed by compelling crises, make such assessments. They tell us what the Taliban are doing in Afghanistan or, prompted by the trials and sentencing of one or more individuals, what the state of justice and democracy is in, say, Iran.

It seems that a certain type of globalisation has prompted these “holistic” assessments.

‘Twas never so! Europe knew that Germany was making Volkswagens, committing genocide and invading neighbouring nations. That was enough. Centuries ago, the Persian Emperor Xerxes probably asked: “So where the fluck is this Sparta?” And did Alexander the damned make an assessment of the happiness in Persia when he decided to invade it? In the case of Rwanda today, the British media makes one sort of assessment of the country and Uncle Tom’s Cabinet makes another.

The Home and Away Secretary, Priti Clueless, initiated the plan to pay the Rwandan government millions of pounds to accept plane loads of refugees who seek asylum in the UK. Clueless is herself the daughter of refuge-seeking immigrants from Uganda. Her parents must have described to her the conditions from which they fled, wanting to make a life in England rather than returning to Gujarat or India, the state and country from whence they came.

Perhaps the conditions, the repression or fear which compelled them to leave Uganda have parallels in the countries such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and Iran, from which refugees seeking asylum in Britain come. They come in droves on overcrowded rubber dinghies and other precarious craft attempting to cross the English Channel from France.

There have been tragic drownings of scores of these asylum seekers while others are, for humanitarian reasons, taken aboard naval and coast guard vessels and brought ashore in Britain to be taken to refugee camps to be processed.

It is from these that Clueless and BoJo intend to fly them out to Rwanda to be processed there, settled in that country, sent back to their country of origin or accepted by some other place in Europe.

Clueless has, in speeches to Parliament, represented this plan as a great humanitarian move which will deter further crossings of the Channel from France and defeat the refugee traffickers who charge these poor people huge sums to put them on the dinghies to Dover.

She characterised Rwanda as a resort to which the political equivalent of Trip Advisor might give five stars — or maybe four and a half? The plan has come under fire from humanitarian organisations and from the Archbishop of Canterbury and from no less than Prince Charles himself.

On June 14, Clueless hired, for half a million pounds of taxpayer money, a 200-seater aircraft to carry eight of these asylum seekers to Rwanda. Half an hour before the flight took off, the European Court of Human Rights which the UK has, through a 1950 treaty, pledged to respect, ruled that one of the deportees, an Iraqi national, couldn’t be sent on such a flight and the others had a right to appeal. This resulted in the flight being grounded.

Clueless insists that the government will pursue the policy. That’s no surprise. BoJo’s government is in deep political trouble. I don’t dare count the ways — inflation, recession, dissent in Northern Ireland that is almost akin to secession-like sentiments, and Scotland, looming disputes with the European Union which will push the cost of living even higher, the resignation of key members of his office and team, investigation into BoJo lying to Parliament…

Hence, he and Clueless rely on the one policy that may appeal to British xenophobia — send Johnny foreigner packing. Archbishop of what??? Prince who???

Tags: rwanda, boris johnson
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi