Former interpreters descended on Parliament today in a bid to improve the UK’s offer for Afghan refugees – and given they’re now helping the NHS, they say it’ll be worth it for the nation
Afghan interpreters turned NHS heroes who have saved British lives from Covid marched on Parliament yesterday to demand Boris Johnson take in more refugees.
Dozens of former interpreters were among campaigners who descended on Parliament Square just as Boris Johnson opened the debate on Afghanistan in a packed House of Commons.
Holding placards branded with words ‘We need help’, and ‘save my family’ they stood side by side in hope of gaining ministers’ attention. Massan, 29, became a pharmacist a year after moving to the UK in 2016 to “help the society who saved my life”.
He told the Mirror: “I’ve taken time off work today to come to Parliament and protest because there is no point in me walking freely on the streets of England without my family. They are not safe”.
“I’ve worked to be a good individual of society here as I did back in Afghanistan.
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“I walked side by side with British soldiers not only helping with interpretation but taking the impact of explosions for some wounded soldiers so we could be safe.
“All I want is peace and safety for my family because their lives are in danger,” he added. Mustafa came to the UK in May and immediately signed up to assist the NHS Covid vaccination programme.
He told the Mirror: “The moment foreign forces left Afghanistan the situation deteriorated immediately. We saw it last week. All I want to do is make sure people are safe here. I feel in debt to the UK. But I can’t understand why they won’t bring my family too.”
Samuila lost his leg in an explosion and has recovered after he was shot twice working as an interpreter for the Ministry of Defence for six years.
Now a bus driver, he told the Mirror: “I sacrificed myself for my country and for British soldiers. Why am I and my family not entitled to live in this world as a human being? Why won’t the UK save my family?
“My wife is still back home. As I was Skype calling her Taliban soldiers stormed the house as they know she is married to someone who has worked alongside Britain. She might be tortured right now in Kabul. I haven’t heard from her. We need help, I’m so scared.”
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Samuila said he took the job as he wanted to be of help to the British public, to help them get from A to B safely.
“I didn’t stop work during the covid pandemic as I was needed, and I believe I have a duty to serve this country in any way that I can. I survived a bomb explosion so I have a second chance at life. My family deserves a second chance too.”
Dozens more people joined the Afghan translators in Parliament Square in the afternoon, leading to a crowd of around 200 people.
Women and children came bearing posters, red balloons and flags of Afghanistan painted on their cheeks.