Closer to home…

There is so much happening lately here in the UK, specifically. 1 £ coins are being replaced. 5 £ notes are being replaced. An attack happened in a place just two days after we had been there for a parade. Brexit triggered. We saw a raging fire in a distance (at least it appeared so) one evening and it turned out that a flat was on fire a couple of blocks down and no one knows the reason. The whole flat was gone. Thankfully the neighboring flats seemed OK as per the news report. Saturday evening a news article popped up on my Google news feed, which surprised us. We live in the area of Camden and we pop into the Earth Natural Foods shop in Kentish Town for our organic stuff. I like that shop actually. Lots of organic stuff in there and their small home baked stuff are so yummy. I never come back without buying something for myself, except for today. There was this man working there who used to serve us no matter where we were in the queue. We always ended up with him at the till. He always had a nice smiling face, around 50ish, pleasant and even if he was busy with something else if he saw the queue he would drop his work and attend the customers first. Of course, we didn’t know him by name or anything but over a period of time, you tend to recognize the regulars (not just the customers but also the people who work in that store). We pop in there at least once a week.

This Saturday there was a news about a 53-year old man from Camden being held for deportation. At first, there wasn’t any photograph but it said that this man worked at the Earth Naturals shop. And with the description, I recognized him to be this man who always served us. And when scouring the net for more news on him, we found out one with the photograph and it confirmed our doubts. This man whose nickname is Stoly is being held for deportation tomorrow. More details on his case can be found in this article. There was also a #savestoly trending that day. It was kind of weird to suddenly learn about someone whom you see weekly and wave a hi and a thank you and realize that they are in the news and that you might never see them again. It took both of us by surprise.

Mr. Stoly’s story is kind of confusing at this moment. It isn’t very clear as to why after being here for 27 years, he is now being deported to Serbia (he was from former Yugoslavia). How was he allowed to pay his taxes and was allowed to work, if he didn’t have the legal right to do so? If he had the legal right, why is he being deported now? Some relate this to Brexit and Article 50 being triggered and this is how the migrants will be treated and all. No one really knows the background story to this and we are not likely to learn about it either. There has been news about such deportations off late. One more lady in her early 60s was deported to her home country Singapore when her husband (I think he is British) was waiting for her at the care home. No information was given on that either.

In this case, Mr. Stoly was from a country that no longer exists. He has lived in the UK for 27 years and made this his home and was allowed to do so too. If he was found to be illegal they shouldn’t have let him be here for that long isn’t. He has his old mother in his place which is now in Serbia. Will he even know that place anymore? What would he do there? Would the government of Serbia take him back when they do not have legal documents except for his birthplace details and his parent living there? Would he have to apply for another legal document from this new place? Where does he actually belong?  He doesn’t have a family here. But if he had and he was suddenly deported what would happen to the family and his belongings?  When I went to the store today, I hear a couple of ladies talking to the owner about how surprised they were to learn about Stoly and how they are willing to help them help him. Like someone commented, that after 15 years in that store he is part of the furniture now. (On a side note, is that how I am viewed in my current organization? I have been in that organization now for more than 16 years… phew! Time to leave, I guess)

No doubt that this news took us by total surprise. With the travel ban in the US and the families being separated because those who had traveled weren’t allowed to come back to their families and home…Nightmare isn’t.

5 thoughts on “Closer to home…”

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