No crime, no trial, indefinite detention: Happy birthday Glory Anawa

Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” We have traveled far, and quickly, from such notions of childhood, tenderness, and caring. Instead, we now have prison camouflaged as `detention’, and hell powder puffed as “indefinite detention.” Indefinite detention is not indefinite. It’s eternal damnation, and we, not the children, are the damned.

Glory Anawa fled Cameroon after a threat of Female Genital Mutilation. She sought refuge. Now she sits in a Canadian immigration detention center with little to no hope of seeing anything like freedom ever again.

Anawa’s story is long and complicated, and yet quite simple. At the age of 23 and pregnant, Glory Anawa was sent to Yarl’s Wood, where she remained until she was 8 months and 2 weeks pregnant. Then she was released … for a matter of weeks, after which it was back to Yarl’s Wood for the young mother and her 6-week-old daughter, Tracy. From there, things went downhill, as they had for other mothers and daughters in Yarl’s Wood. Finally, Glory Anawa and daughter Tracy were released.

In February 2013, Glory Anawa, pregnant, sought refuge in Canada. She was immediately taken into custody. In August 2013, Glory gave birth to her son, Alpha Ochigbo. Since birth, Alpha, a Canadian citizen, has been with his mother in prison. The authorities have tried to deport Glory, but Cameroon won’t provide papers. So, Glory Anawa is stuck, because Canada does not have a limit on how long it can detain immigrants, migrants, asylum seekers, or refugees. Glory is not stuck. She has been firmly planted by Canada into a new rung of hell, that of the women who seek asylum, refuge, or help. Welcome to the neoliberal world order.

I don’t even have words to express how I feel. It makes me speechless. I’ve been robbed of my life,” says Glory Anawa. Suffering beyond expression followed by silence followed by a total and global theft that results in death-in-life. Around the world, this is the formula for those who seek asylum, generally, and for women in particular. Canada adds the twist of indefinite detention. Glory Anawa is one of 145 migrants in Canada who are under indefinite detention. Why? Why hold anyone indefinitely? Why hold those who have committed no crime indefinitely? Why hold those who have never been tried indefinitely?

Today, December 15, 2014, is Glory Anawa’s 29th birthday. She should not be condemned to indefinite anything. No one should. And we should not be condemned for eternity for the crime of looking the other way. Tear down more than the walls. Tear down the processes, tear down the consciousness that allows us to think it’s right to condemn women, children, men, all who seek haven from a life of pain and suffering.

 

(Photo Credit: TheMainlander.com)

About Dan Moshenberg

Dan Moshenberg is an organizer educator who has worked with various social movements in the United States and South Africa. Find him on Twitter at @danwibg.