AFTER the peaceful vigil in Petersfield to protest against the National Borders and Security Bill – otherwise known as the ‘Anti-Refugee Bill’ – one of the organisers, Alison Glasspool, went back to the city of her childhood, Coventry.
It is the UK City of Culture, and recently was host to a giant 10ft puppet named Little Amal.
Little Amal represents a refugee child making a 5,000-mile journey across eight countries after leaving the border between Syria and Turkey.
By the time she reached Coventry she had walked across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the UK to focus on the needs of young refugees.
Alison said: “Coventry has unity at its heart and Little Amal stirred emotions in many people, as many refugees have made their home there.
“Her visit was significant and powerful for those who’ve fled persecution and found safety here, and for the people of Coventry who welcomed refugees.
“One of the refugees she met was West Midland Police officer PC Kanar Talabani, who fled Iraq when she was a child and came to the UK.”
Little Amal was welcomed by huge crowds, and in the evening 3,000 people watched her and local dancers perform outside Coventry Cathedral.
The welcome she received was a celebration of the city’s rich history of welcoming people from other countries, including refugees, said Alison.
After the city was blitz bombed during the Second World War, it has become one of the world’s oldest religious-based centres for peace and reconciliation, she added.
Alison said: “Many of us in Petersfield have a lot to learn about the plight of refugees.
“On Friday, November 12, there is an opportunity to explore stories of forced migration with Phosphorus Theatre and their show ’All The Beds I Have Slept In’ at Bedales.”
For details and tickets, see the website at https://www.bedales.org.uk › events
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