Thursday, 31 January 2013

Great Press Gang meeting last night, which included:

  • an update on the next edition of One Planet Leeds magazine, including lots of exciting articles in the pipe-line (
  • information about the planned City Walk with A Quiet Word theatre company ( that looks at places, journeys and stories of people living in Leeds
  • details of events surrounding the Refugee Boy production at West Yorkshire Playhouse in March ('s-on/2013/refugee-boy/) especially on 16 March when there is a question time and an event for local and national bloggers. If you know a blogger please pass email us with their name and email address.
  • planning four intensive Press Gang working group days in March to research, campaign, produce materials, and promote issues during the busy period leading up to Refugee Boy events. These will be 7, 8, 14 and 15 March from 10.00 - 4.00. More details to follow.
  • an early insight into plans to take a deputation to Leeds City Council about the plight of destitute asylum seekers
  • learning how eating pancakes from across the world on 11 February is going to help Leeds become a more welcoming city (
  • a challenge to cook up a change for World Food Night on 22 February (
  • hearing about a seminar 10.00 - 1.00 on 11 February for activist and campaigners led by Carlos Saavedra one of the most inspiring campaigners and community organisers based in the USA who led the United We Dream campaign. Details and booking (only a few places left) from Kaveh Azarhoosh at yandh @
  • meeting two new press gang reporters
  • discovering a refugee graphic designer just when we needed one
  • fixing up interviews between reporters and refugees

Friday, 25 January 2013

Journey to the Dreamland

Journey to the Dreamland
By John Obiechina

is dream has been to witness the shores of Europe and experience the life he envies. Like a joke, Okwudili saves for three years in addition to the money he realizes from the sales of his property. Although the money is too meagre considering the exorbitant nature of embarking on a comfortable journey, he is unperturbed. His life depends so much on reaching his dreamland. On the other hand, the dream of his family depends on Okwudili’s success in realizing his own dream.

A very creative and emotional story to end your week, to read please visit;


Adam Jones, Politics student at university wrote an article on the recent welfare cuts and how they have impacted refugees and asylum seekers. Adam says;

It is no secret that the current coalition government have made a great number of cuts, some unpopular and some extremely so – such as the 11% cut to the education budget. However, one series of cuts that seem to actually receive support from the general public are the welfare reforms being brought about by the Department of Work and Pensions, headed by Iain Duncan Smith. Much of their popularity owes undoubtedly to the success of the ‘scrounger’ discourse, adopted by politicians and media outlets alike, one which refugee and immigrant families are all too familiar with. The idea that welfare recipients, and in particular refugees, are feckless and idle seems to be ingrained in the minds of many in our society. All it takes is a closer examination of these issues to realise that not only is this dehumanising discourse unfair, but so are the policies that have been and are being enacted.

To read more on this article see Press Gangs Winter Newsletter at :  

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Beating City – refugees in Leeds

Short award-winning documentary produced by Press Gang volunteers Sarah Whitehead, David Hayes and Patrick Ibbotson.

Winner of Yorkshire’s Newspaper of the Year O2 Think Big Media award.

Monday, 21 January 2013

The trauma of refugees is compounded by UK system

Guest Blog in the Lincolnshire Echo.
What was behind the disturbances of the former Prison that left five officers with injuries, led to one refugee/asylum seeker being rushed to hospital and mean that two are still on hunger strike. Tom Vickers interviews some of the immigration detainees to find out.

Friday, 18 January 2013

A world without refugees By John Obiechina

John wrote an incredibly moving poem for our Winter Issue, To read the full poem visit : Press Gangs Winter Newsletter at :

Here is a little taster:

In every corner of the world,
violence and wars rage claiming lives and property.
While lucky ones are able to
escape from the heats of the crisis become refugees
in their neighbouring communities
struggling with limited resources.
With such social imbalance,
conflicts and scramble for resources
become inevitable
in those benevolent communities.

What is the Public Perception of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Britain Today?

Press ganger, Steve McVeagh discusses how the media determine peoples perspectives on asylum seekers and refugees. 

MORI’s 2002 poll found that people overestimated the number of asylum seekers entering Britain. 15-18 year olds - the next generation of workers, voters and policy shapers - held particularly negative views.

Steve presents the reasons for hope, and what can be done, to read the article please visit the Press Gangs Winter Newsletter:

Refugee Writers multi-lingual, short essay contest

Announcing a new Refugee Writers multi-lingual, short essay contest: New Places, New Homes!  Submissions open to ALL LANGUAGES, ALL AGES, AND ALL PEOPLE! Refugee Writers in Dallas are looking for short narrative (non-fiction) essays about an experience that illustrates the challenges, tensions, opportunities, and personal growth that arise from moving across boarders and cultures. But not just national boarders. Moving across economic class, in or out of prison, or even just moving between neighbourhoods within a city are all great topics. They''ll publish the top essays on the Refugee Writers website, and in the coming weeks we'll be announcing prizes.  Submit essays by March 1st via email to
 For all the details and rules go here

Friday, 11 January 2013

Afghanistan is not safe

New Stop Deportations to Afghanistan webpage. Explains why deportations to Afghanistan have to stop,
FCO Afghanistan map

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Refugees, Capitalism and the British State.

Refugees, Capitalism and the British State: Implications for Social Workers, Volunteers and Activists. Tom Vickers book condensed into a 17 page pamphlet

It's only news if someone dies

Asylum-seekers and migrants across Europe are determined to change the inhuman circumstances of their existence.

In his new book Fortress Europe: dispatches from a gated continent, journalist Matthew Carr describes a protest in Lombardy in which five migrants climbed to the top of a crane above Brescia’s new light railway line. ‘For seventeen days they lived and slept on the arm of the crane in an audacious protest that divided Brescia and transfixed Italy’. Reflecting on this and another incident in Milan, where migrants climbed to the top of a smoke stack, he asks whether the only way for Europe’s irregular migrants to escape their invisibility is to climb to a place where they can no longer be ignored.

IRR News spoke to a UK-based freelance journalist, who told us that over the years it has become much more difficult to get asylum protests reported: news has to be different to be newsworthy.

Written by Liz Fekete from the Institute of Race Relations - read her full article here: