Today is National Tea Day in the UK. Maybe most Waging Peace supporters and friends already had this marked on their calendars, but we thought we would remind you, and hope you find time for a cuppa and a nice sit down during your busy schedule. And if you are fasting for Ramadan, we hope you can enjoy your tea following your iftar this evening.
We are not being entirely frivolous about this event. During the pandemic lockdown we were unable to have our usual face-to-face contact with our Sudanese clients. We continued working by phone and Zoom, like everyone else, but we knew there was something missing in our interactions. It has been especially hard for refugees who have fled atrocities in their homeland: they already feel vulnerable and isolated, trying to handle an unfamiliar language, customs and rules. We did our best throughout lockdown, giving practical advice, as usual. But we were also aware that offering emotional solidarity remotely was doubly hard.
Now that we have partially resumed some in-person meetings for those who are nearer London (though we still support hundreds nationwide via remote support on the phone or online), we have been reminded how important it is to take the time to listen to people’s stories, and to offer support as friends. When you have a cup of tea with someone you make time to get more than the bare facts of their immigration problems or their housing difficulties. You can also take the time to reassure people about damaging changes to government rules that might make their lives even harder.
It has been especially tough for Sudanese in the UK to watch as the hope of the 2018-2019 people’s revolution has been extinguished by October 2021’s military coup. We continue to press the authorities to listen to the voices of civil society in Sudan, crying out for the democratic rights that we take for granted in the UK. Atrocities against unarmed civilians continue, as brave Sudanese continually march for freedom, only to be met with the unflinching violence of the security services. It is painful for Sudanese to witness the sympathy and media attention given to other conflicts around the globe while the horrific events in Sudan are seldom mentioned in the press.
We want to thank Waging Peace’s friends and supporters for sticking with us through these unusual and challenging times. We are raising a virtual tea cup in your honour.
Waging Peace Founder & President