Speaking for Ourselves

Letter to my new neighbour

Letter to my new neighbour


 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - Letter to my new neighbour

Letter to my neighbour, who is not my immediate family, from my continent, my country, but simply a human being like me.


My dear new neighbour,

Broken by my struggle to contribute to peace-making and reconciliation in my country, I had to flee from the regime in place. Forced into exile I undertook a perilous journey. The whole way I could constantly see in my mind the mutilated bodies in the fields of our once beautiful countryside. I can count around 2,000 people killed in this ugly asymmetric battle. Weak and unarmed, they are the victims of ambitions of power manifested by these clashes between different groups in several parts of Cameroon.

Arriving in the UK I find myself in an unexpected dead-end waiting for my asylum claim to be decided. In the meantime I can only wait as I am not allowed to work or study.

Far away from my own people and all that I know, my destiny is now based on a simple deciding judgement of the Home Office - as the immigration and interior authority is called here. Two possibilities will seal my fate:

  • If my case is refused, I will be returned to Cameroon where I will end up in a dungeon for a dark end to life. Rest assured that if I am returned, I will be a new victim of these executioners.
  • If I am given a positive decision on my case, it will be the beginning of a new life and integration in my adopted country.

I hope for a positive decision, but this decision is based on a logic that only the Home Office knows. How else to explain the obvious presence of dozens, even hundreds of people who are present in that long queue of asylum seekers and refugees at the doors of charities here? They are either looking for a counsellor or something to eat; looking for how to survive these unfortunate new circumstances of their uncharted lives in foreign lands.

How do you explain the homeless man who is roaming in the streets? Is he not everyone’s responsibility?

The refugee, is he not also a member of the society?

Does not the Universal Declaration of Human Rights give each country a charter to guarantee their security? Whether you were a minister before in your home country, a journalist like me, or a human rights activist, here you are what the society imposes on you and you have to deal with it.

Here the climate for a newcomer in search of refugee status is difficult. If you are not patient in your desire to become what you were in your country, you will sink under the load of the stress, the depression, the nervousness...

This Refugee Week, as an asylum seeker, I say to other asylum seekers: Do not give up. You are not the case that is with the Home Office, you are yourself. This society is not without difficulties, but be patient, there are also good things here that enable the living together of this cosmopolitan population.

This Refugee Week I say to you dear neighbour: Many good wishes for you. The world is certainly a global village. In reality, our societies cannot be cut off from each other, we have a responsibility to each other as human beings. 


TOP IMAGE: Terrace houses, Tottington Road, Tottington. Looking south. Toward Manchester, Ellen Thompson, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)