July 7, 2014
by Samson B
Being British, by birth or naturalised has a profound meaning for the citizenry in times of adversity, particularly when the incidence happens in foreign lands. The British political system, media and the general public comes to one whenever a citizen is distress abroad whether in adventurous trip or caught by political turmoil and situations like kidnappings and violence. One can sight hundreds of public outrages and diplomatic wrangling on mistreatments of British nationals abroad. You can be a ‘drugs mule’ but the British system would do its best so as you get a dignified treatment and possibly prison swap to the UK after sentencing.
Though the above seems to be a common practice things can be deceiving if taken on face value. A British protection is not a thing to be accorded for every passport holder. There are some ‘British citizens’ who are to be ignored whatever the gravity of their situation is.
Andargachew Tsige, a British national of Ethiopian decent is one of them. In Mid June 2014, Andargachew, secretary general of Ginbot 7 for Freedom and Democracy, a pro democracy opposition party in Ethiopia, has been abducted at a Yemen airport by Yemeni security forces and handed over to Ethiopian secret services illegally. As Adnargachew has previously been sentenced to death in absentia, what members of the Ethiopian community in the UK and worldwide expected was a public outcry of the situation and an assertive diplomatic campaign from the Commonwealth and Foreign Office. No single UK based media outlet covered Andargachew’s case. No single parliamentarian raised the issue at any level. The Foreign Office has chosen to keep quiet regardless of repeated calls from the Ethiopian community and his family members before the two rouge states make a deal on Andargachew’s life.
Who cares for an Afro-British who has been abducted in daylight and then illegally handed over to the tyrannical regime in Ethiopia? None! As Yaya Toure, the famous Manchester City footballer repeatedly asserts Andargachew’s only fault is his origin, Africa. He is an African with a British passport who is not entitled to get a ‘first class’ protection and advocacy in circumstances of adversity. As is the norm in many European countries Africans can carry their passports but it does not worth any better than their driving licence. It does not warranty them a protection and advocacy in situations of distress. Their case would not be a ‘Breaking News’ whether they are butchered abroad or in streets of London.
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