On Monday 11 April, the BBC posted an article with the headline “Asylum seeker made 72 calls before hotel stabbings”. This was in reference to the tragic case of Badreddin Abadlla Adam, a Sudanese man who, after weeks and months of neglect, stabbed six people in an incident at a hotel housing asylum seekers in Glasgow in 2020. Adam was shot and killed by police on the scene.
Incidents like this result directly from the shockingly inhumane and inadequate provision of care for asylum seekers in the UK. Having undertaken perilous, often fatal journeys from their country of origin to escape violence, war, terror, discrimination and poverty, the current policy of the Tories has been to throw these people into overcrowded ‘housing’, often hotels and hostels, with little-to-no mental health or personal help. Events like these, without a serious approach to provision of support and services, will undoubtedly continue across Europe and elsewhere as the impacts of the war in Ukraine are being felt.
Fleeing people are subjected to hostility, racism, and traumatic violence, resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other serious mental and physical health issues. The hostile environment policies of successive UK governments mean that the suffering doesn’t stop on arrival, with a profound lack of care, accommodation, financial support (asylum seekers are expected to live on £36.95 a week), and psychological support. The fact that Adam sought help 72 times, without receiving any aid, is indicative of a systemic refusal to deal with those in need.
When faced with mass outrage in the wake of this news, the Home Office responded that the failure to respond to Adam’s requests was due to them having “no joined-up view”. This doesn’t even begin to answer for what has happened. In reality, systemic racism is bound into the DNA of British capitalism. From the police who disregarded de-escalation tactics, to the Home Office who saw Adam’s needs as disposable, all the way to the media, the courts and beyond, their profit-based, divisive system is guilty.
The suffering of these desperate people is an unnecessary political choice – a tragic outcome of the cruel approach of a ruling class who seek to portray those fleeing war (wars often fought using British-made weapons or as a direct result of western intervention) and climate-induced famine as a threat, all the while continuing to rob their own working classes for profit.
Cases like these must be a wake-up call. We need to build a mass movement of working class people to show solidarity with all those fleeing war and oppression bred by this capitalist system, particularly at a time when climate-induced forced displacement is likely to run rampant in the coming years. This means fighting through protest, demonstrations, strikes and mass resistance to fight for the services urgently needed by refugees and working class people in general. This must include a mass programme of investment into public housebuilding, education, healthcare and well-paid unionised jobs, as part of the struggle for an international socialist transformation of society.
In the words of the late left MP Tony Benn, “The way a government treats refugees is very instructive because it shows you how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.” It’s clear that now more than ever, we need a movement of international, socialist solidarity to set a precedent of dignity, care, and humanity in the face of capitalist inflicted suffering.