Two days of rallies, 2 cities – an intersection:disability and refugees

On Friday 11th September we rallied outside the Houses of Parliament against Rob Marris Private Assisted Dying Bill . Emotions ran high on both sides of the barriers – those for the Bill (Dignity in Death) and those against the Bill (Not Dead Yet UK). There was quite a bit of chanting but the most winning feature was the big statue of the judge with a needle.

My favourite chant suggested by Bob Findlay was – ‘Choice for some, a loaded gun!’ , ‘Not to die, Assistance to live’

There were quite a number of media people and photographers there.

Here are some of the news articles from the day

Assisted dying bill defeated by 330 votes to 118 – a majority of 212

Assisted dying bill overwhelmingly rejected by MPs (Guardian)

Right to die: MPs reject assisted dying law (Telegraph)

This is the only article where they actually feature disabled people – most of the media suggests that religious campaigners led the opposition to the Assisted Suicide Bill and our role is being erased, and the enormous amount of campaigning work by disabled activists like Liz Carr, Jane Campbell etc is let out of the accounts

A matter of life and death by Hannah Dunleavy

The next day in Coventry Broadgate

Tim Goodwin speaking
Tim Goodwin speaking, Sabir Zazai on his right
banner under Godiva statue 'Refugees welcomed here'
banner under Godiva statue ‘Refugees welcomed here’

In Coventry the next day, I went to support #RefugeesWelcome rally at Broadgate with my friend Sabir Zazai, the director at Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre. He introduced me to Syrian refugees now settling in Coventry, like the Ayo family.

Hassan Ayo, an agricultural engineer and human rights trainer, and his wife Fatmah Mustapha, a teacher, have won the refugee lottery. They are two of just 250 Syrians refugees settled by the U.K. so far this year, though the country has pledged to resettle 1,000 Syrians by Christmas.

They are also heartbroken and bitter.

Their admittance to the U.K. came too late for their 14-year-old daughter Sozdar. She died in Turkey on Dec. 4, 2014, just seven days after the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees confirmed the U.K. had accepted their resettlement application.

“I didn’t lose my daughter in a war. I lost her in Turkey because they refused to treat her,” said Mustapha, 42, angrily.

Two very different experiences.