Prof Tanja Bueltmann Profile picture
Professor of migration & diaspora history | citizens' rights campaigner | founder @eucitizenschamp | affinity Scot with Kiwi twist | Asia aficionado | my views
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1 Jul 20
Vast majority of tweets I have seen about the #ImmigrationBill completely misrepresent what the Bill is about. It's deeply saddening. I've not felt so deflated in a very long time - because this is 'my own side' drowing out EU citizens with what essentially amounts to fake news.
The Bill simply is not a story about British citizens: it does not relate to you at all. It poses no threat to you. It does not deny you anything. Yet in the vast majority of tweets I have seen that is the gist. You sadly are losing rights, yes - but not because of this Bill.
For the last four years I have explained how vital it is that the *specific* problems EU citizens are faced with are recognized. That we need help to amplify voices because it is vital we ensure that the *distinct* issues are being seen as such. Tonight the opposite happened.
Read 7 tweets
30 Jun 20
#ImmigrationBill has zero to do with ending FoM for British citizens. But yet again many are making it about that. It’s factually incorrect and it means that, even now, EU citizens are effectively being written out of the story. 4 years on, it doesn’t get much sadder than that.
#ImmigrationBill is primarily about:
- ending freedom of movement of EU citizens *into* the UK (without putting in place any protections);
- giving the Home Secretary a blank cheque for developing a new immigration system (this also relates wider questions beyond EU citizens)
Casting Bill as anything other than that is factually incorrect, but it’s also very detrimental to those whose lives will be affected by the Bill because it helps hide what it is really about. I’ve explained this many times. So have others. Still we’re at this point yet again.
Read 3 tweets
23 Jun 20
Four years ago around this time. I sat on my sofa at home, watching the news. I was 100% sure, as I had been for a very long time, that the outcome would be a leave vote. But there’s always hope, of course. So I still hoped. As someone without a vote it was all I could do anyway.
I rarely drink on my own, but that evening I had gin & tonic as the news came in. @Edinburgh_Gin, I still remember that. A British friend texted that exit polls looked ok. I texted back: ‘this won’t end well.’ I cannot tell you how much I wish I had been wrong. It was not to be.
I did not shed any tears—I think that’s because I had expected the leave result. I was not shocked either. Not even angry. My prevailing sense was one of profound sadness. About the loss of rights to come and that a campaign built largely on hate against people like me had won.
Read 11 tweets
22 Jun 20
On this day in 2016 the EU referendum was held.
Johnson. Gove. Patel.
All had signed a pledge.
That there would be no change for EU citizens here; that rights would be secured automatically.
The reality?
3.6m of us forced to apply for a lesser status so we can stay in our home.
Worse than a broken promise.
The most hostile approach to us taken at every single turn.
That was always a choice.
Never a must.
To this day I have no clue how to come to terms with that choice.
3.6m neighbours, colleagues, friends & family.
Forced to apply to stay.
In our home.
Read 2 tweets
13 Jun 20
For the last four years, I’ve been told that I don’t belong here, that I’m a threat to this country because I, as a German, am a “Nazi wh%re”, a “Nazi c%nt” etc ... told that by the types of people now standing close to the Cenotaph doing Nazi salutes.
The UK urgently needs to recognise what has been unleashed and normalised by Brexit because that is a vital context for what is happening today. Sure, EDL etc have been around for much longer, but the fact is that the far right has never been more emboldened.
PS: I’ve watched several videos, not just the one most widely shared. Plus eye witness accounts. There were Nazi salutes. Yet outright denial and many attempts to downplay are everywhere—and not just by the many bots who’ve crawled out to spread that narrative.
Read 5 tweets
12 Jun 20
"We cannot now try to edit or censor our past. We cannot pretend to have a different history." says Boris Johnson, PM of the UK ... where so-called "Operation Legacy" was used to destroy records of Britain's colonial crimes to systematically edit its past. theguardian.com/uk/2012/apr/18…
Bonfires were built behind diplomatic missions all around the world in what can only be described as a cleansing of colonial history or a purge. The declassified documents that were eventually released include a Colonial Office guidance telegram dated 3 May 1961 and covering the
"disposal of classified records and accountable documents". Basically, newly independent colonies, should not be able to get their hands on material that "might embarrass Her Majesty's government" or "embarrass members of the police, military forces, public servants" etc.
Read 5 tweets
10 Jun 20
Let me tell you something expressly as a German: For change to come & last, it isn’t enough to be horrified by past atrocities or outraged by defenses of slavers. The past must be confronted directly and collectively by the nation. To do that, people need to be willing to see.
That won’t be pleasant. It would likely be quite soul-destroying sometimes. But how else to even try and move forward? Germany’s approach is far from perfect (as the rise of the AfD etc shows for example), but Neil MacGregor is right with his assessment: theguardian.com/culture/2016/a…
Germany had a moment of ‘seeing’ in the 1980s. As I explained in a thread about my own upbringing and being a German, this also relates having a sense of collective responsibility (which, to add here, does not equal guilt; I don’t think it’s about that).
Read 12 tweets
10 Jun 20
This photo has been shared widely. It shows a terrible crime in the Congo Free State under Belgian King Leopold II in 1904. But don’t just share the photo, hear its story!
———
This is Nsala.
He is looking at the severed hand & foot of his 5-year-old daughter.
Her name is Boali.
Boali, and her mother, were killed and mutilated by Anglo-Belgian India Rubber (ABIR) sentries. Under King Leopold II, the Congo Free State used mass enforced labour to extract rubber. Nsala had failed to meet the rubber quota and that is why his family was brutally murdered.
The photo was taken by English missionary Alice Seeley Harris. Nsala went to see her at the mission, holding a bundle of leaves in which he had wrapped up the severed hand and foot of his daughter. Alice was deeply shocked, but was able to convince Nsala to have a photo taken.
Read 13 tweets
9 Jun 20
As we discuss statues in the context of slavery and Britain's colonial past - a critical debate - we need to also remember this:
While the toppling of statues does not erase history, statues have contributed to erasing specific people and stories from history for centuries.
In so doing, statues have long since been symbols of misrepresentation rather than representation. They're frequently more ahistorical than historical. They are selective and, as a result, can deny voices and stories. Ultimately, it boils down to questions of power and dominance.
The selectiveness of statues exists from the outset; it doesn't have to be problematic, but it often is, esp. when triggered by power differentials. We need to address this too if we want to move forward in this debate (& as a society because this doesn't just relate to statues).
Read 8 tweets
6 Jun 20
Attaching beads to the last face coverings (makes them adjustable). I’ve made over 50 now for myself and friends throughout the UK. This design is very good—though I adapted it and added another layer. Good call as it turns out, given new WHO advice. ➡️ theguardian.com/world/2020/jun…
If you have a sewing machine try this design, I think it is very good. You can easily add additional layers, either directly sewing in a polypropylene layer, or use the filter pocket instead and put it in that way—that would also make it the middle layer. prettyhandygirl.com/best-fit-facem…
Whatever you do, please wear a face covering on public transport and in enclosed spaces as per WHO advice and good practice in countries where the #COVID19 response has been better than here. Out of all possible “restrictions” this simply isn’t one: it can help protect us all.
Read 3 tweets
1 Jun 20
So let me get this straight: the JBC, which - as the Govt told us only last week assessed the #COVID19 alert level - doesn’t actually exist yet .... So who assessed the changes then? 🤯
And of course the wider context is that a growing number of Sage members and other experts think the lockdown easing is too early. We have never head less clarity on who makes decisions here and what they are based on. This is all so much worse than I ever could have anticipated.
PS: yes, I’m aware of the discussion re: change / no change. My comment relates to what we were originally told. All else just makes it even worse because it adds several more layers of mud to an already unclear situation. Not good enough at all. None of it.
Read 3 tweets
30 May 20
❗️New policy: if you choose to abuse, threaten or wish death on people on the back of one of my tweets, I will block immediately from now on. It’s sickening to see this again and again. Disagree as much as you like, but abuse/threats/wishes of death are completely out of order.
And there is no ‘but’ here. Because if you come up with a ‘but’ to qualify or justify abuse/threats/death wishes (and the latter includes those that imply it rather than expressly state it) directed ‘at the other side’, they will do the same and pick people on ‘your side’ to do
it to. So all you’re effectively doing is help a circle of hate continue. And of course it doesn’t go any lower than wishing someone death. You can choose to be better than this ... or choose not to be. That’s your call. But I will make the one choice I can make to stop my tweets
Read 6 tweets
28 May 20
I understand that this. But what this means fills me with dread and actually fear. We need to start talking about this and come up with better solutions. People on their own, those shielding etc can’t be left without proper human contact for potentially well over a year.
More if all goes wrong .... I’ve been concerned about this for some time. Partly because this is my own story, so it’s very immediate. But primarily because I can’t understand why nobody seems to be looking into this, discuss ideas etc. And don’t forget: there are also people
who don’t even have virtual tools for contact etc. That too is being neglected. /end
Read 4 tweets
27 May 20
Let me tell you the story about how my pyjamas are connect to a High Court test case and holding the UK Govt to account ... By the end of it I hope you’ll consider supporting the #DeniedMyVote legal challenge. Every little helps & makes a real difference! crowdjustice.com/case/discrimin…
A little over year ago, shortly after midnight. I lay in bed in my pyjamas, genuinely dreading the day that had just begun. It was the day of the 2019 EU election and I knew that 1000s of EU citizens at home in the UK would soon be robbed of their right to vote in the election.
Obviously, I can’t look into the future, but the Govt had failed to take action on an issue to do with how EU citizens had to register for voting in the UK, so there was *no doubt at all* that many were going to be disenfranchised and discriminated because they are EU citizens.
Read 13 tweets
25 May 20
I don’t have a car and while I use public transport sometimes, I usually walk everywhere that’s within 45 mins of me. So I have a very good idea about normal “footfall.” I’ve never seen the green here nor surrounding streets as busy with people as today (and I went out early).
It’s a beautiful day and I don’t wish to deny anyone their right to sit or walk in the sun—after all, I did. But couple that with the behaviour of some that denies others their right to do so safely is, sadly, a part of this story. In this case busy pavements requiring me
(and others) to walk on the road ... which in turn led to a car driver shouting right in my face. This crisis surely does bring out the best and the worst in people ... and regularly displays both the best of community and the worst of individualism. /end
Read 3 tweets
21 May 20
So apparently wearing a face covering while in the supermarket makes me a “stupid bitch” and I need to instead “lock myself up at home if I’m so stupid to wear the fucking thing”. Never mind that I choose to wear a face covering to try help protect *others* in case I’m infected.
Leaving aside the fact that this really wasn’t a nice encounter, for this experience to coincidentally come a day after @ottocrat’s yesterday (even worse) has me a bit concerned though — is this harrassment becoming a thing now? Not good either way, but worse if a wider problem.
PS: Thanks for all replies—can’t read them all, but much appreciated. And rest assured I won’t be deterred ... in fact, I have a mass production line on the go to—quite literally—cover a number of friends too.
Read 3 tweets
21 May 20
It would be wrong to say that I don’t welcome this: of course it’s right they don’t pay. But I must say again that I think this selective approach is detrimental: it cements the ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ immigrant narrative with an arbitrary line that even excludes other key workers. 1/
No non-EEA immigrant should have to pay this surcharge, and we must keep fighting this. While the above does of course right this wrong a little by helping some, it ultimately just creates classes of immigrants within the hostile environment. What we need is the ending of that.
Also a word of caution: the Govt will now be able to say they did good. Don’t let them get away with it: a selective scrapping of the surcharge changes nothing about the underpinning system of hostility and, in that sense, is little more than a token gesture. /end
Read 3 tweets
20 May 20
.@BorisJohnson explaining why he thinks NHS surcharge for non-EEA immigrants must stay. The explanation is reprehensible: he argues, without shame, that it's there to make money. It's the *National* Health Service; it can't be funded by making some immigrants pay twice for it.
Because that is what the NHS surcharge is: it charges some immigrants for use of the NHS *even though* they are already funding it through their tax/NI like everyone else. The surcharge is not an appropriate funding model for the NHS, it is a feature of the hostile environment.
As an aside let me add: asking for a selective scrapping of the NHS surcharge, as many are doing now, is the wrong approach. While individual healthcare workers would benefit if it was scrapped for them, a selective scrapping, ultimately, cements the good vs bad immigrant
Read 4 tweets
20 May 20
Deportation UK-style: "A small towel had been wrapped around his waist, which did not completely cover his thighs. He travelled to Germany in his underwear and the small towel. He was presented in this condition to the authorities there." itv.com/news/2020-05-2…
Or how about this one? "He was wrapped in a blood-spattered sheet. [...] He was carried on [plane], with his jogging bottoms slipping down [...] One of his wrists was very swollen. [...paramedics] assisted by German counterparts, thought that the wrist may have been fractured".
Full report here: "Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Boards Charter Flight Monitoring Team" s3-eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/imb-prod-stora…
Read 3 tweets
19 May 20
My fave line from your speech is “importing care workers” — just like cattle, eh? I also love how you pit EU citizens against immigrants from elsewhere and say it’s “right that we now have an immigration system based on what we need rather than on whether someone is from Europe.”
Just the sort of thing one loves to hear on the middle of a pandemic where EU citizens and immigrants from elsewhere play a vital role in keeping us alive and the country going. To be clear: to pit people against people is the lowest of the low. It’s also gaslighting.
No wonder then, that you’re happy to add some more of it, implying links between freedom of movement and pressure on GP appointments etc where there aren’t any—as the Govt’s own report shows. Immigrants are not the root-cause of pressures: a decade of austerity is the key one.
Read 8 tweets
19 May 20
Something else that needs to be said again too is this. Whatever you choose to call me after reading this (I’m aware others have been attacked for noting this), facts are facts:
⚠️Brexit has happened.
❌It cannot be stopped.
❌Extending transition will not stop/undo Brexit.
I appreciate how upsetting that is. It upsets me too. But if many of you continue to claim otherwise, you’re
1) essentially spreading fake news
2) potentially giving people false hope
3) wrongly feeding Brexiter’s concerns that extending transition will lead to stopping Brexit.
As @GuitarMoog has also noted recently, the latter in particular helps nobody and may, in fact, undermine our cause by jeopardising further the already slim chance of an extension.
Read 5 tweets