Hemma igen, långt ifrån champagnefester och Donners Brunn, ljuvligt. Det enda som gör mig lite besviken är att min senaste beställning från Adlibris är försenad – jag längtar verkligen efter att den ska trilla ned i brevlådan. Där finns nämligen Caroline Mooreheads Martha Gellhorn-biografi och flera andra böcker av samma författare.
Moorehead är en av de journalister jag beundrar allra mest, ända sedan jag läste hennes ”Human Cargo” för ett par år sedan. Det är verkligen en bok jag önskar att fler skulle läsa, jag hade så gärna velat ha några lastpallar med mig under Almedalsveckan, som ett motmedel mot Sverigedemokraternas och Nationaldemokraternas vulgärargument. Här berättar Moorehead om boken, som inte bara handlar om flyktingar, migranter och hårt bevakade gränser, utan också ger en bakgrund till dagens asyl- och flyktingpolitik. Den mest gripande – och skrämmande – delen i både boken och intervjun handlar om ”the lost boys of Cairo”.
Peter Mares: And these lost boys, they’re just a small part of the enormous numbers of lost people in Cairo—somewhere, you say, between 200,000 and 500,000—no one knows how many.
Caroline Moorehead: No one knows how many there are. Nearly all of them come up from the Sudan because Egypt has an open door policy. All you have to do is to buy a visa for very little money. That’s very generous of the Egyptians. The problem is that once they are in Egypt there is nothing for them to do; they cannot work other than on the black economy, they’ve got nowhere to live, they’re not helped by anybody, they get no education, they get no health care, and they join the huge slum population around the edges of Cairo, existing on almost nothing and just waiting.
Peter Mares: And, as you say, if given a chance they will rush to get any sign of an education.
Caroline Moorehead: Education, in a funny way, is the one thing that they mind about more than anything. When I came back and raised a bit of money from friends for this particular group (because I got to know them very well), we originally thought of trying to buy food and finding places for them to live, but it was clear that we couldn’t do very much with the money we had. But what we could do was to find volunteer teachers and rent a flat, so we set up a little school for them. And one of the most touching things was that in the very beginning we said to them, would they all fill in a bit of paper to say what they’d really like to learn, and we thought they’d put down ‘politics’ and ‘history’ and ‘English’. And when we got these bits of paper back, they said things like ‘physics’ and ‘psychology’ and ‘medicine’ and ‘banking’ because it was a sort of passport to the future, the notion that, though they were then sitting in the slums of Cairo, [the thought] that they might have a future in which they might be microbiologists was the only thing that really sustained them.
Caroline Moorehead: My feeling is that we have a sort of moral duty to look after people who are desperate and in need, and by patrolling borders and putting up huge fences and making it impossible for people to arrive, we’re actually denying that element of humanity. I think the losers are not only the asylum seekers, I think the losers are the people who do it too, because in the process some fundamental moral fibre of a country is lost.