A refugee and the UK Citizenship Test

Hooshyar attended a WEA Politics and Public Life course in Sheffield a few years ago. He wrote this poem about his experience of arriving in the UK as a refugee and translated it from Farsi himself. Listening to him reading this in the House of Commons some time ago left a lasting impression on me.

Robinson Crusoe
I approached a sorrowful sunset,
I was dead, and all that remained of me
Was my tiny name.
My tiny name,
Soaked frightened and tired,
Reached the shore.
searched deeply the island’s trees
The Island
Was tiny and nice.
The Island
Was huge and ugly.
The Island
Was the far end of the world.
My name,
It was only my mother, who knew it
And a kind friend,
Who was my childhood playmate.
But later, when we grew up a bit,
He pointed his gun at my face.
And the Island
Has recorded my name
At the old College of ESOL,
In the Home Office files,
At the Police Station
And in many Job Agencies.

A debate about changes to the UK Citizenship Test on last night’s BBC Question Time reminded me of Hooshyar’s poem. You can find examples of the type of questions that someone like Hooshyar would be expected to answer in the future at: http://bit.ly/MZYrva.