If you look down the right hand side of this blog, underneath my blogroll, you’ll see a section of links called Campaigns. The first in that list is a pretty image which links to a campaign that ran from about 2007.
It calls for the British government to help the those Iraqis’ that helped the British by being interpreters. Those interpreters put their and their families lifes in danger to help our armed forces. In the eyes of some of their countrymen, and others who sought to influence the course of Iraqs’ future, these interpreters were traiters and were hunted, and beaten and killed. Those Iraqis asked for our help, for refuge. The British government dragged it’s heels and lots of interpreters died.
They deserved to be treated better. Many, many of them didn’t get it.
Although I have added and removed many links from the sidebar since 2007 that one has remained. An important issue that never really got resolved.
The button links to a video (by Bloggerheads) that explains a little about that campaign. It is just as relevant to a new campaign for Afghan interpreters that are facing the same problem after helping our armed forces in their country.
Watch the video and see why this issue is worth revisiting.
About six years ago, bloggers from across the political spectrum banded together for a campaign to offer asylum to Iraqi interpreters to British armed forces. It was a long and bumpy campaign, and we didn’t get all that we wanted at the time, but it helped to get more Iraqi interpreters into the UK than if we had done nothing.
Now it’s time to revisit the issue, for interpreters who have helped British armed forces in Afghanistan.
The reasons this is the right thing to do are straightforward:
1) These interpreters have helped save the lives of British soldiers in Afghanistan.
2) They put their lives at risk, from extremist elements, to help British forces.
3) If we abandon them, it hurts British peace-keeping missions in the future. Locals will be less willing to help British armed forces in the future if they think they will be abandoned at a later date.
Whether you were for or against the war in Afghanistan, helping Afghani interpreters and their families is the morally righteous course of action. This says nothing about whether Afghanistan was right or wrong – only that these people need help, and should be offered asylum in the UK for their services.