Jack Shenker’s devastating article on the Napier barracks (Locked in a barracks with Covid running rampant. Is this any way to treat asylum seekers?, 27 January) lays out elementary questions of who we actually are as a folks and our limits of cruelty towards the “other”, who so inconveniently and persistently preserve coming right here to search sanctuary.
He calls out the “dystopian vision” of asylum coverage, as made specific within the barracks. But we’ve got glimpsed this already: bear in mind the terrifying 2019 TV collection Years and Years, the place folks had been approaching boats throughout the Channel, crammed into decaying ex-army barracks in the midst of a deadly pandemic and deserted there to let nature take its course? And bear in mind, too, the excessive barbed-wire fences and gates across the estates the place poor folks lived?
The males within the barracks are aware of their standing as lower than human; they complain of being treated like animals. The German language encapsulates their plight in its helpful idea of the Untermensch. The Home Office is as clear as it’s attainable to be, that this group of individuals, now grotesquely referred to as “service users”, deserves absolutely the least we are able to supply.
At this pivotal second of nationwide re-self-identification, we’re being examined to see how a lot inhumanity we’ll settle for, because the Home Office locations its agenda ever extra blatantly into the general public area. Be in little doubt: what it may possibly get away with in a inhabitants that doesn’t matter will inform what then is feasible to inflict on the following layer of society, after which the one after that – till, as Martin Niemöller as soon as lamented in his poem “First they came …”, they get to you and me.
Hastings, East Sussex
• Re the disgusting therapy of refugees on the Napier barracks (Asylum seekers tell of dire conditions at Kent barracks after fire, 31 January), the truth that charities in Folkestone have been prevented from offering help is disgraceful; a police investigation isn’t any excuse. Freedom from Torture has a petition online that one can signal to demand the closure of such locations. Anyone with a way of decency ought to accomplish that instantly.
Vivien and Charles Rowe