Yarls Wood – Until All Are Free
For the third time on the trot 18th November 2017 we travelled to Yarls Wood detention centre in support of the women and families held captive there.
As we arrived it seemed like a storm was brewing as a dark blanket of cloud covered the sky, nevertheless any such storm was held off by Leeds Samba Band Resistance Sounds who could be heard drumming from afar. The speakers were wired up and speeches were witnessed by everyone present, detainees hung banners from the windows displaying words such as ‘help’ and ‘freedom’.
Despite the recent controversy surrounding the organising group, many people travelled from around the country to stand, sing, dance, shout in solidarity with the detainees of Yarls Wood, so a big thank you to all those who represented regardless. Beautiful bouquets were hung up across the perimeter fence colourful placards were held, and flares ignited. Those giving speeches climbed up the ladders and offered words of encouragement and solidarity. Poems were heard from to ex-detainees.
Feeling saddened by the state of affairs, but yet inspired by the speeches of ex-detainees one of our comrades later wrote a poem following her experience:
dehumanisation and threat of deportation
at yarls wood centre of womens detention.
freedom is a right,
a comfort we all deserve.
we crave it, we need it, we fight for it.
but as I stood on the outside of the towering enclosure I felt trapped:
trapped by tears that turned chants into splutters,
trapped by an aching pain that left me motionless
watching women behind windows waving from the wrong side of the walls…
imprisoned and segregated from society by intimidating racist institutions
crossed imaginary lines scrawled over maps
fled from persecution to be criminalised
caged within looming green fences.
no borders, no nations, stop deportations!
yarls wood shut it down!
no human is illegal!
our crowds’ deafening shouts met with “we love you”s and “thank yous”
solidarity expressed in cardboard signs, beating drums
and feet crashing against the fences shaking tulips and roses woven in the wires that make an ugly thing a bit less ugly
people who lived through the struggle leading the fight,
their voices earnest and honest
no borders, no nations, stop deportations
~Isobella Vivamosvegan (18/11/2017)