Monday 15 June 2009

Second homes and new opportunities

Tonight, I attended the launch of Refugee Week tonight at the Tron. I've attended every year since I was elected, and really enjoy celebrating the contribution those coming to Scotland make to our society. It's important to take the time to celebrate, as well as protest when things go wrong. The theme this year is Home, chiming with the year of Homecoming.

There were speeches by the head of the Scottish Refugee Council and Alex Neil, Minister for Communities and Housing. There was a reading by a wonderful poet, Iyad Hayatleh, who spoke movingly in Arabic and English. There was a snippet from the play Home Sweet Home, and a musical and dance performance by Maryhill Integration Network.

The speech which brought tears to my eyes was made by Amal Azzudin, one of the Glasgow Girls from Drumchapel High who stood up against dawn raids. What moved me was that she spoke about the Scotland I want to see, the experience I wish people coming to this country to have. She's been living in Scotland for ten years, and has seen a great deal in that time. Amal spoke about how her life had changed, how different her life had been if she wasn't here, and about the sense of hope that children of asylum seekers and refugees now have; she said that the places they had come from was their past - Scotland was their future.

The Scotland I believe in is welcoming. It's about learning from each other, and building together. It might sound corny, but I was glad to hear it said out loud at a public event, by a non-political figure I have a huge amount of respect for. I want all citizens of Scotland to feel that Scotland can be like this: make time to go to an event this week. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed the event!

From the Refugee Week Scotland team :)