Thursday, 18 November 2010

Zeynep's story

The four people reading Where the Wild Things Are comprise Zeynep, Fatih and Kebire Hasbudak and Brian Simons. The year is 1985 and the picture is from Zeynep: that really happened to me, published by the All London Teachers against Racism and Fascism (those were the days). The book is a collection of drawings and photographs and the autobiographical story of Zeynep who, the next year was deported with her family to a country she had never seen before where her parents became unemployed and she had to learn a new language. Her whole school tried to stop the deportation but failed. The book was really important in her home area of Hackney and beyond in showing the child's view of being deported, a child in this case that was born and lived for ten years in London. I lost my copy of the book years ago and bought another for £1 in the second hand section at Housmans last week.
25 years on Zeynep and Fatih both live in Britain again; Brian is now Boruch and has changed his jeans and sweater for Chassidic garb. We've just brought out a new edition of The Golem of Old Prague, illustrated by Boruch and written by Michael Rosen, one of those thanked in Zeynep's book.
The Home Office minister responsible for deporting Zeynep and her family was David Waddington, later Governor of Bermuda, and last seen on the political stage inserting a supposedly free speech clause in the section of the Public Order Act outlawing acts of homophobic hatred. He has been a member of the Conservative Party since he was at Oxford University.

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