Resilience ~ الثبات والرسوخ

Penelope Maclachlan

Resilience is the ability to withstand or recover from difficult conditions. Some people with disabilities show resilience  by working, with the help of their talents and intelligence, to help and enlighten others.
Resilience can be tried too hard. Asylum seekers in detention centres do not know when they will be released, and the anguish of uncertainty is, to some of them, intolerable. They are at risk of killing themselves.
To show resilience people need basic needs fulfilled: both material, such as the need for food, and spiritual, such as the need for respect and love from others.
We do not expect a dog to be at its best if we ill-treat it. We ought to treat our fellow human beings at least as well as we treat dogs.

بتلوبي مكلاكن

الرسوخ والثبات يعنيان القدرة على الصمود واسترداد الوضع الطبيعي بعد المرور بظروف صعبة. تجدها في بعض الأشخاص من ذوي الاحتياجات الخاصة حين يعملون رغم ظروفهم مستخدمين مواهبهم وذكاءهم ليساعدوا الآخرين وينوّروهم.

قد تكون الصعوبة جمة في هذا الرسوخ وذاك الثبات؛ طالبو اللجوء في المراكز لا يعلمون مثلاً متى سيتم الإفراج عنهم ويكفي القلق الذي قد يؤدي إلى انتحارهم. 

يتحقق هذا الصمود بتوفير احتياجات أساسية مادية كالغذاء ومعنوية كالاحترام والمحبة من الغير. نحن لا نتوقع من الكلب أن يكون وفياً إذا لم نعتنٍ به فعلينا أن نعتني بالبشر كما نعتني بكلابنا.


Resilience is the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. The world over, people are suffering.  A few may have brought their misfortunes on themselves, by gambling away all their money, for example. Others are victims of employers who pay less than the legal minimum wage, or of governments who make labyrinthine the procedures for applying for help. 

We all know people who are wonderfully brave when suffering from disabilities and illnesses, and continue to work and think and contribute their talents for the benefit and enlightenment of others. This is true resilience, which those of us who are reasonably healthy and able-bodied must applaud. We should learn from their examples. At least if such paragons work when their health permits, and speak their minds, their spirits are free despite physical limitations for which they are not to blame. 

Asylum seekers imprisoned in detention centres have no such consolation. Among those whose resilience is most sorely tested are these victims of injustice and racism. Many arrive in a country whose language they do not speak, and about which they know nothing. They are bewildered. Some are single parents carrying small babies. Sometimes even the bravest of them give up and kill themselves. In a humane society this would not happen. We should encourage resilience in ourselves and in our children, but we should also recognise that there are situations which are too hard for a normal human being to endure. 

Immigration detention centres in the UK are where people are held while they wait for permission to enter the country or before they are deported. They have committed no crime, yet they are locked up and may or may not be released sooner or later. The UK is one of the largest users of detention in Europe (if I’m not out of date still to deem the UK part of Europe). There is no time limit of immigration detention in the UK. Many thousands are held each year, some for lengthy periods, and suffer mental distress.  The uncertainty would try the sanity of a stoic. 

Before we can expect these detainees to show resilience, we must allow them opportunities to do so. The first step should be to allow them to work, if they are adults, and to go to school if they are children. Every sane adult with some mobility is fit to work. In the UK we are crying out for engineers, nurses, teachers and chefs. Among the asylum seekers the government stupidly and wastefully locks up, there must be men and woman able and willing to do these jobs already, or eager to learn how to do them. Let them try: it will be a win:win situation. The successful candidates will no longer be a burden on the state, but an asset to it. Through work individuals earn their living, settle permanently or temporarily in the UK – the choice should be theirs – recover from the shock of being forced out of their own country, and be happy and productive members of our community. 

We would not expect a dog to thrive if we locked it up and deprived it of freedom and exercise – and love. We should surely treat asylum seekers, who are human beings, at least as well as we treat dogs.     

Resilience is a virtue we must all try to cultivate, but before we can do so, certain basic conditions need to be fulfilled. These include access to clean drinking water, food, clothes and shelter. The next stop is to find work where their employers treat them justly. After that they need, and have the right to, make friends and enjoy some social life. 


Recommended reading: Hostile Environment by Maya Goodfellow

ISBN -13: 9787-1-78873-337-3 (UK EBK) 

Obs! Article ends at foot of page 2. Apologies to being unable to get rid of pages 3 to 5

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