The government should be concerned that refugees are succumbing to the pressure of segregation. Ugly forces are taking hold of refugees who despaired for too many years, often more than a decade, without hope and justice. Vision First is alarmed that some refugees have been oppressed to the breaking point. They are exploding.
One longtime refugee noted, “You can only pour so much water into a bucket before it spills. The government should worry about security because refugees have started to do some things that hurt the community. Before they were not thinking about this. Before they were expecting that things would improve, but now they had lost hope. When hope is gone, people do desperate things.”
Refugees are becoming convinced that Hong Kong will never protect them. An African refugee said, “The government is just stirring us around in a hot pot. They offer one fake solution after the other. They call the latest one USM. We have no future, no hope and have lost trust in Hong Kong. After years of abuse Hong Kong has become the enemy. We are trapped. We have nothing to lose and we resent those who failed to protect us, refused to screen us for years and have robbed us of our future.”
Scores of individuals are slipping into the heart of darkness. They come from Africa as well as South Asia. They belong to every nationality that has struggled against asylum injustice in Hong Kong. They are becoming desperate having reached a point where they would rather die, than continue suffering. One might learn valuable lessons from Palestinian youths who lost hope under Israeli oppression.
The Hong Kong government should take the blame for the radicalization that is emerging. It is shameful how extraordinary refugee claims were left unassessed for years, because supposedly they could not be reasonably rejected. Such policies inflict violence on individuals who once decided that violence was not the answer. One should consider that these people have seen blood, family and friends chopped to pieces. They have laid in the blood of their loved ones. They are not intimidated by anything.
A Middle-Eastern refugee said, “Hong Kong should start building more prisons because refugees are going crazing. They cannot take this oppression any more without exploding! Arrest and imprisonment mean nothing. It’s a cake walk for people who were tortured and raped. What do they have to lose?”
Authorities should pay attention to this shift. The answer to the asylum problem is not oppression, but JUSTICE. Deny justice for too long, to too many people, and trouble should be expected. These refugees blame the government for not taking them serious. Those who were waiting can wait no more. Those who were patient, have lost their patience. Scores are today slipping into darkness.
These people know the streets. They know where security cameras are and where they are not working. They live in the streets and observe enforcement patters and routines. Many of them were in the army. Some have advanced military skills. A few spent years in training camps in Afghanistan, Nigeria, Sudan and the Yemen. They arrived with different passports, as nationality is not a fixed concept in the third-world.
Despair is overwhelming refugees who hoped in vain that Hong Kong would protect them. Disillusionment is taking hold of their mind. Being banned from working forces people into an aimlessness that is detrimental for fighting spirits.
Another African refugee burst out, “We are not cows. You cannot just feed us and give us a place to sleep for ten years. We want justice where justice was promised … In many people’s mind darkness is rising. Our hearts are filled with hatred, despair and rage. It’s not right the way they treated us. They took our future away and left us with nothing.” The last glimmer of hope seems to have been extinguished.
A veteran South Asian refugee explained, “This radicalization follows oppressive government policies. They are alienating people who have lost a reason to live. The answer is not to arrest everyone. They cannot all be jailed forever. They cannot go home, not today, not ever … The answer is to allow them to work so that they can build a life with dignity and respect.”