Went to a talk about 'border crossings' by some artists. The main thing that struck me was that the 3 speakers were white European men and that the idea of 'asylum', 'migration' and crossing borders is an intellectual one for them. I felt they clearly did not understand the on-the-ground issues and when the audience tried to pick them up on this, they feigned guilt talking about putting on sack cloth and ashes and that this would help no one. To me they missed the point.

Later that evening I ran into L, a person with a 'Refugee Passport', ie, she has no country but she does have a Right to Stay. We talked about the reality of no passport and the real difficulties for African refugees and migrants to cross borders. It's not an intellectual exercise when it effects real people's lives. She's working with a Rwandan group who are unable to open a bank account. That's not unusual. I know many people of migrantor refugee status who are unable to open bank accounts. You are only able to do so if you have a British - or European - or even Amercian - passport (yes Australian passports are sometimes ok as well) or you can have a driving licence. but you can only get a driving licence if you have a birth certificate or a 'valid' passport - so the circus continues... What makes the Rwandan group's case unusual is that as a group they are unable to open an account despite having many officials, local government officers like L and many funding agencies willing to vouch for them. They have been told they will be unable to open an account for 4 years, regardless of who vouches for them becasue they are Rwandan refugees.

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