In this unedited repost from his blog Carry On, Abdelhay Tali reflects on his experience of being detained at Dover Immigration Removal Centre in the United Kingdom. You can follow Abdelhay on Twitter @TaliAbdelhay and like Carry On on Facebook.
This is a thorny issue, through time and the acquisition of experiences; people learned that it is not necessary to do muscular effort and even without talking, one can persuade.
In Dover, methods are multiple, authorities have build and developed laws, trained wardens to reach good results. In addition to laws enacted by the authorities jailers also develop their own tactics which they add to what they have learned. It’s experience, and I have special appreciations for experience and its importance.
When arrived at the reception, phones will be confiscated and the detainees deprived of their use, I asked the jailers why? one of them told me it’s because of its camera, well, that makes you think that they do not want you to take pictures of the place. The matter is confiscation itself, perhaps before the advent of phones that contain a camera, they used to confiscate them to not record any voices…
You should understand, as a detainee, and before leaving the reception, that you do not deserve to have people rights, you are not a person that can be trusted by the community. With their uniforms, they also make you understand that they are protecting the community, protecting it from you.
Rumors are considerable weapons, even governments can tame and guide their people by using them, with the help of the media which pave the way, in Dover, there were rumors.
Well, it is simple and can be seen, to pass a rumor or an idea, the guards rely on the *leader* or the *model*, for every group or race has someone to whom everybody wants to talk, be present with, and be seen by others with.When this model speaks, most of detainees respect him and believe him, or at least take his words into consideration. Somehow, a guard passes the idea, his or authority’s, passes it to a leader, and this one, involved or not, marketed it within his group, whether this group is Asians, Africans or people from non-member countries in the EU. (After the entry of some Eastern European countries that are relatively poor to the European Union, is no longer a need for Asians and Africans to stay. And what I noticed in Dover is those posters and guidance on the walls that were written in multiple languages, but the nationalities in the center were somewhat different, it seems that these languages posters have not been reviewed since the financial crisis of 2008, there are languages that must be added, and others must be removed.)
A few days before going home, I received a rumor about a Lady scouring the place to take information from and about the detainees to provide the authorities with it, detainees used to say (she is with them), this sentence shows that there were two camps, or they thought that there are two camps, and this was one of the most important observations that I’ve noticed, perhaps thinking about two camps aroused because of human feelings, and perhaps it was created because of a rumor.
I headed towards her and I asked her about her work and role in Dover, she turned out to be from one of the universities and a part of her research was getting interviews and information from removal centers. I learned that day that rumors weapon is important and effective, but also shows what scare its users.
*Your English Is Good*
I have been told this sentence by many jailers during the three first days in detention, in an ordinary place and normal times I probably wouldn’t care that much, but in detention you feel like your whole body, spirit and mind are together, and your awareness is ON all the time. the first thing that would spring on anybody’s mind is that they wanted to use me to do some tasks, as they were giving 6 pounds/day to detainees to do a job, but then you thought that maybe it is not as simple as that, maybe there is something else.
I wasn’t able to discover why I’ve been told that all the time by all those people, because the CARRY ON thing had happened before I could reveal the secret, and of course, they all stopped talking to me after that. Well perhaps it’s not that big a deal.
Deal House, it was the name of the building I was living in, I moved from Sandwich after living there for a couple of days with 4 other people in a room, they were all smokers and I’m not one, so I moved. In Deal they suggested to go and register in education to learn how to use a computer and/or to cut somebody’s hair, they were very looking down on their education system while they were explaining it to the detainees, it was as they were saying: (you are just sitting all the day, why don’t you go there to kill some time?
If you go to the office in Sandwich house, you’ll find on the left of the TV a wooden box that looks like a prison cell, inside that cell there is a happy looking monkey, wearing the usual black and white prison uniform.
If asked why? they can not give an answer good enough to convince even themselves. At the end, we can’t blame those jailers, they have been taught to be like that. This monkey is surely there to be giving a clear message, and it’s definitely giving more than one.
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How to cite this blog post (Harvard style):
Tali A (2014) Psychological Weapons Used Against Detainees. Available at: http://bordercriminologies.law.ox.ac.uk/psychological-weapons/ (Accessed [date]).