A while ago a friend posted some anti-asylum stuff to Facebook. Typical right wing hyperbole, the thing was this friend should have known better. The church she goes to supports Sheffield’s City of Sanctuary. It was fairly easy to counteract the stuff from the governments own sources! She responded with “at least now we can talk about it”.
Well reporting this sort of stuff is not a good idea, arguing nearly always forces people into a more extreme position than they held before. I have known few people rethink positions in arguments unless they started the discussion in an attempt to rethink. So I decided to disengage. I could I suppose have deleted the post from my Facebook stream.
The problem was not that people held it but that I knew she was in contact with a number of people who held much stronger views than me on this and she had not picked it up. So I started to think about it. I decided it was time I put a marker.
Firstly I did not really want to join a campaign, there were plenty very worthwhile ones but I felt that campaigns are often over strident and I wanted to take the pressure off people. I also decided that putting out a lot of statistics and legal stuff was not going to get me anywhere.
Secondly I decided that what I needed to do was to encourage people to see asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants as fellow human beings. That meant seeking out the human interest stories, the people who relate their experience with individuals who can make the day to day reality come to life in this country.
Thirdly my task was to try and get people to think and not to tell them what to do. Doing this meant that I needed to limit the amount of stuff I put on Facebook stream. There is lots of stuff out there, but I wanted not to become a person who only talks about one topic. There had to be other topics in discussion and these had to be non campaign as well. Only when this was part of the mix on my stream would it be effective. This is also why I will post when I sign a petition but I am not going to say to other to do it as well. It is up to you.
I do not know how long I will keep it up, but I do want to try and do it for quite a while.