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Vol 166 No 43
INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843
3 Cubans rally after hurricanes
4 Young Friends General Meeting
5 Spreading effective tools for outreach: Quaker Quest goes west
6 The ethics of food Terry Wood
7 Comment Miriam Yagud and Jennifer Barraclough
10-11 ‘How will you get rid of their accents?’ Justin Webb
12 The Quaker who made us laugh Judy Kirby
13 Border Country Oliver Robertson
14 Equipping for action Sunniva Taylor
16 q-eye: a wry look at the Quaker world
17 Friends & Meetings
Contents 24 October 2008
Cover image: 24 October is UN Day. On the cover a woman in Dili, Timor-Leste poses in front of a mural representing the sun in honour of the occasion of the observance of the UN’s World Mental Health Day. Photo: UN Photo/Martine Perret. Images on this page: Gibara, Cuba, during the storm, photo: Ruthie Vallejo, see page 3; Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre (Heathrow) looking towards the side of the Sheraton Hotel, photo: +© Melanie Friend, see page 13; Heswall Quaker stall, photo: Alan Vernon, see page 3.
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Photo: T rish Carn
the Friend , 24 October 2008 News
Cubans rally after hurricanes
Marigold Best of Oxford Local Meeting reports
Delicias church with a big chunk of the roof missing viewed from the outside and (inset) from the inside
The summer season of hurricanes that swept across the Caribbean and North America have damaged Cuban Quaker churches but spared people. Efficient Cuban crisis management meant there was no loss of life in the eastern part of the island which is home to most Friends. The worst-hit of the Quaker church buildings were in the port of Puerto Padre where a huge palm tree fell on the pastor’s house and part of the church roof also blew off. In Gibara, the other seaside Quaker town, a verandah blew across the road and ripped off part of the church roof. While several of the older church roofs need major repairs, Cuba Yearly Meeting clerk Ramóón Gonzáález Longoria says that their main priority is the homes, not only of
The tree on the Casa Pastoral in Puerto Padre
Friends, but also of many people in their communities. Most of the churches were able to shelter hundreds of people evacuated from their homes and one, in Banes, is still sheltering four families whose homes were destroyed, and is helping re-house them. The worst devastation has been in the villages and the countryside, which Ramóón describes as ‘unrecognisable’, and the destruction of crops and of food supplies means there will be severe shortages. Cuban Quakers will be receiving financial help from various sources, but their needs are great so any contributions will be welcomed by Quaker Friends of Cuba treasurer Gwithian Doswell at 5 Hamilton Road, Oxford OX2 7PY.
Photos: R uthie Vallejo
Hidden victims of long-term detention
After the government’s decision to abandon plans for forty-two days detention of terrorist suspects without charge following its defeat in the Lords last week, activists were quick to point out that the UK already detains some people for more than ten times this length. The London Detainees Support Group (LDSG) is so concerned about the issue that they have started research that will be published in January 2009. Jerome Phelps, director of LDSG, said: ‘The human impact of long-term detention is severe. More than half of the people we know in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre have already been detained for more than a year. Many of the people we work with are terrified that they will never be released.’ The group’s research has revealed that some thirteen people in Colnbrook facing deportation have been in detention for over two years. According to the European Council for Refugees and Exiles, the maximum custody period for people in France and Cyprus is thirty-two days and in Spain the limit is forty days. Like the UK, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania and Sweden all have unlimited custody periods. D, a detainee from Iraq, said: ‘You cannot imagine what it is like to be locked up for two years. People like myself have agreed to go back to their own country but the Home Office can’t send us back. We don’t know how long we are going to be locked up.’
More outreach success
National Quaker Week provided more opportunities for Friends to try outreach. The town of Neston in Cheshire received an unexpected addition to its market stalls during Quaker Week, with Friends from the nearby Heswall Meeting ‘meeting and greeting’ residents and introducing them to Quakers. Friends in Witney nearly had their open day scuppered by jammed keys, heaters blowing cold air instead of hot and a musician with toothache, but the event was eventually deemed a ‘huge success’. Quaker institutions also got involved. Bootham Quaker school in York was host to a performance of the play On Human Folly, as well as a photographic display of the Quaker Tapestry, while Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham opened its doors to 200 people and Judith Jenner, Woodbrooke’s Quaker studies tutor, was interviewed on local BBC radio. Judith said: ‘The presenter wanted to talk about Quaker history, but I said “no, Quaker Week is about Quakers today – who we are now and what we do in the world”’.
3 the Friend , 24 October 2008