Two items in Saturday’s Scotsman (12 September) brought about different emotions in me.
The first, a churlish letter from Steven Kidd, questions the refugee status of those fleeing wars – some of them are able-bodied and have iPhones, he complains – and even those he accepts as genuine refugees, fleeing from Libya and Syria, are not welcome to Steven; he thinks they should stay at home and fight.
This view saddened me, as I consider that our armed interventions have caused much of the chaos that refugees from the Middle East and North Africa are fleeing from.
If I lived in Libya and had seen my country reduced to an uninhabitable chaos by the UK’s, bombing and arming of fundamentalist Islamic groups I might make tracks for Europe too.
An article by Jennifer Peltz (same day) dealt with the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on New York, but that article only reminded me of an earlier 9/11, in 1973.
That was when the US government agencies engineered a bloody coup in Chile, which deposed and killed the democratically elected President Allende, and triggered a reign of terror by a brutal military dictatorship, causing thousands of Chileans to die or flee to any country that would give them refuge.
Scotland was such a haven for many Chilean refugees and I remember the good people of central Fife who welcomed them with open arms.
Many fitted in well in the mining communities here, where the people went out of their way to accommodate their needs.
Thank goodness Stephen’s views were not in the majority in 1973 or many Chileans would have been returned to face torture, imprisonment and worse in Chile and our country would have been the poorer for it.