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The Teacher: National Headlines at the National Theatre

Marion Marples

This monologue given by Nasser Mermarzia is part of the National Headlines series performed on the stage of the Olivier Theatre before the evening performance of Stuff Happens.

Tackling the topical issue of Asylum, we hear the words of a real asylum seeker given shape by the author. And it is not an easy story. He explains his journey from Kurdish Iran, where his father was tortured in prison, to Turkey, where a stranger befriended him, to England. Here he has a home, family and work-advising asylum seekers. As a well educated teacher he can explain very eloquently the consequences of the iniquitous 'Section 55' Immigration Act which was challenged and reversed in 2004.

In the platform discussion afterwards with John Denham MP, Alan Travis of the Guardian and Maeve Sherlock of the Refugee Council, the MP sought to justify the draconian way in which asylum seekers have to survive on nothing until their case is heard while praising the generous tolerance of the public to refugees in their midst. The conclusion I reached after this evidence was that there must surely be a better and more humane way to treat people.

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