The Man Who Ran Through the Tunnel

With a bandaged hand Abdul, 21, tells of imprisonment
and gestures to describe the electric shocks he received
after his arrest from the Sudanese government.
His tribe also harassed by rebel militia. He feels deceived
by traffickers. Despite his razor-wire injury,
he’ll try again. Sudan was an English colony.
He wants to stop looking over his shoulder.

From “Stories from the Jungle” published in “Over Land Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge.”

The Abdul in the poem is not Abdul Rahman Haroun, but he is seeking refuge for reasons probably very similar to Abdul Rahman Haroun who has been granted refugee status by the UK government. Both men left Sudan, the latter became “The Man Who Ran Through the Tunnel,” “When I heard/ how he ran/…/and through tunnels/ how could I fail/ to be inspired?” (also from “Over Land Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge”. You can hear Ambrose Musiyiwa reading his poem here.)

Despite Abdul Rahman Haroun’s status as a refugee, Euro Tunnel are determined that his story will not inspire others to make the same journey and he is being prosecuted under Section 36 of the 1861 Malicious Damage Act. This is in conflict with the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, which recognises that refugees could be forced to use illegal means to travel to the country where they will seek asylum and should not be prosecuted for irregular entry, and was incorporated into the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act. Mr Haroun’s defence team asked for an adjournment for the CPS to reconsider their prosecution in light of Mr Haroun’s status as a refugee, but the CPS have decided to go ahead and the trial has been scheduled for 20 June. Ironically, the start of Refugee Week. There is a petition asking for this prosecution to be stopped – please consider signing.

This shows how contemporary “Over Land Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge” is and, sadly, how some of the issues explored in the poems continue to be relevant. There are opportunities to hear poems from the anthology at:

25 February 2016 from 8pm at Attenborough Arts (Lancaster Road, Leicester).
Readings from “Over Land Over Sea” at the invitation of the Leicester Migration Network. Event starts at 6pm but poetry readings run from 8 – 9pm.

27 February 2016 from 7pm at Attenborough Arts Poems for People Benefit in aid of the current refugee crisis. Spoken word performance poetry featuring readings from the anthology.

1 August 2016 from 7.30pm Poetry Cafe, Betterton Street London, joint event with Exiled Writers Ink.

There is a review of “Over Land Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge” at London Grip.


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