(My dear mother-in-law Zahra Ouargha)
Eve of Christmas
and I am reflecting on my year of immigration issues at home and Morocco.
It's been another year of immigration strain and worry. Omar's application for Citizenship is only now being considered after eight years of being in a relationship and living in Morocco and Scotland. In the middle of Omar's recent citizenship application the rules changed again and we had to spend hundreds on passing another english exam to meet the revised rules.
Over the years I have learned how to lobby Scottish politicians who in turn have lobbied the Westminster government after different immigration applications have been rejected and reconsidered. Over the years I have been summoned to court in Govan, Glasgow to represent our immigration case, I have waded through lenghty and complex immigration forms which assume a high degree of literacy and are subject to constant change even in the midst of an application; this year I have lobbied in a right-wing climate of anti-immigration policy as I have experienced the difficulties of bringing my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to Scotland.
Earlier this year Omar's mother, my mother-in-law Zahra Ouargha, was diagnosed with a very rare form of skin cancer and has struggled with poor diagnosis and treatment in Morocco. Following unsuccessful surgery earlier in the year, she is now in the horrific situation of receiving no treatment or medication in Morocco.
I have tried to bring her here on a private medical visa but after consulting private medical doctors here, I have discovered that they can not advocate to bring her here for treatment when they haven't seen her as it is against the general medical council ethics.
I have stayed up late writing to my local MP about this "Catch 22" situation who has written to the current foreign secretary. We are still awaiting an outcome of this...
I travelled to Morocco three weeks ago with Malika and Ameenah to visit Zahra and as always it is those closest to the person who is ill who suffers the most; Fatima my sister-in-law is really struggling to cope with her mothers illness. My husband is going through all the classic stages of grief outlined by the psychodynamic theorist Kubler-Ross; he's stuck in denial and anger which has been hard to deal with.
So while my pictures from Morocco may portray a happy and colourful trip, behind the trip was a sense of sadness, grief and frustration at the bloody frustrating fact that while Zahra is dying, she is receiving no medical treatment or pallitative care.
We hope for news soon that she can come and spend some time with us here in Scotland, either that or we will be Morocco bound soon.....
What stories lie behind our Instagram feeds?
Malika and Ameenah loved spending time with their Moroccan friends a few weeks ago but behind these pictures lay a different kind of narrative....
My sister-in-law Fatima xx
We spent a lot of time by the sea wall in Essaouria playing and reflecting...x
And thinking about the interdependent lives of our Moroccan friends and neighbours.....compared to the independent lives we lead in the West x
We will treasure these photos for a long time...xxx