Joined-up government

A valuable, and shocking, article in today’s Independent describing the hypocritical divide between what the UK government says about people fleeing brutal and corrupt regimes, and what the Home Office actually does with these people. You can read it here. It set me thinking about the way we now seem to prefer the term asylum-seekers to refugees. Etymologically, a refugee is someone who has found refuge: 1685, from Fr. refugié, prop. pp. of refugier “to take shelter, protect,” from O.Fr. refuge. The provision of protection, and the need for it, both seem to be implicit in the word. The term asylum-seeker, on the other hand, suggests that refuge has still to be found, may not be found and, even worse, may not be deserved. It shifts the moral onus, and burden of proof, onto the exile.

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One Response to Joined-up government

  1. Ms Baroque says:

    VERY interesting point.

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