EDINBURGH – Unite Against Fascism March
On Saturday 3 October the Scottish Defence League (SDL) planned a protest to whip up racial hatred, Islamophobia and division around the issue of refugees and migrants. A broad mobilisation of faith groups, civil right groups and trade unions,came together to oppose the SDL’s message of intolerance and racism with a peaceful march in defence of refugees and immigrants. This march was initiated by Unite Against Fascism-Edinburgh.
The following is a speech made by Keefe McKie, one of the founders of Re-Act.
Hello and As-salamu Alaikum. My name is Keefe and I recently helped my friend to set up CalAid Edinburgh now Re-Act, refugee action Scotland, a not-for-profit humanitarian social movement organised in direct response to the current crisis in Europe, for we as humans could no longer sit back and watch this situation unfold without doing what we could to help. Through our work with Calaid now Re- Act we have been introduced to a number of the Edinburgh refugee Community, who alongside our own volunteers have worked tirelessly to help us achieve our goals. I have been inspired and humbled by the response of the people of Edinburgh and the Lothian’s.
I have just come back from the refugee camp in Calais which is called the “jungle” though I have massive reservations about calling it that as it dehumanises the people there. I had read extensively before I went there and seen many pictures and videos of the camp but nothing could prepare me for the reality of the situation. There are thousands of people who have been forgotten about and left to live and die in squalor. It is unsanitary and inhumane but our government is more concerned with spending money to keep these people out than helping what is the worst humanitarian crisis since the 2nd world war. I witnessed illness and injuries that make me utterly ashamed of our administration. These are human beings and as fellow human beings we need to act and stand with a united voice and say enough is enough. We need to force our government to help these people not leave them to rot.
There was a man from Eritrea who is living in the camp he was beaten and robbed by right wing fascists, left for dead and thrown in a pond to die, he was beaten so severely he had serious head injuries but no ambulance would come and get him and the French police just laughed when asked for help. He was taken to the hospital by a volunteer who came with me. Again I reiterate this can not continue to happen.
Having seen first hand the appalling conditions these people are surviving in I am even more compelled to act and I urge you all to stand with me and do the same. We have to show that the people of Scotland and the UK do not echo the inhumanity of our government, refugees are welcome.
And I say this:
To all of our brothers and sisters around the world, in Europe, in the UK or in their home countries we say this. We stand with you shoulder to shoulder. And hand in hand. We See You. We Are One.
And finally I am going end with a quote from Ibrahim Lincoln
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”