This edition of Nerve is dedicated to the stories, the art, and the views of Liverpool-based migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. We aim for this issue to tackle the myths that are pushed daily by the likes of the Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Scum, The Star and ‘reality’ TV programmes, and offer up the chance for migrants themselves and organizations that support them to tell their stories.
Being involved in community activities we know there will be people who have an issue with this, and want to continue to believe what they read in the media and blame people who come to this country for all their own and the country’s ills.
Nerve, since it started in 2003, has focused primarily on grassroots local issues, both positive and not so positive, such as homelessness, corruption, the treatment of workers, zero hour contracts, pollution, and, more than anything, the takeover of our city by people whose primary motive is to make profit out of the city and its people.
For our work Nerve has been threatened by Merseyside Police for highlighting corruption and the treatment of the homeless. We have had our web host threatened with closure for exposing a company that was polluting Kirkby and causing health issues for the people there. Luckily we never backed down and, with the support of our followers, have seen off this threat.
It is no accident that the vast majority of asylum seekers wanting refuge in Europe come from countries where violence, mayhem, murder or war is happening, and despite propaganda claims, only a tiny proportion of these arrive in the UK. In fact the UK take less than 1% of the world’s refugees, with 80% of refugees only getting as far as the adjacent country from where they lived. Millions live in refugee camps in and around the countries they have come from, hoping one day to return to their homeland.
Nerve is run by volunteers, mostly people born, bred and active in the life of Liverpool. We know the city has changed, more for the benefit of business than the benefit of the people, and for many born here the city centre feels like a strange place, an unwelcome place.
But this is not because of immigrants fleeing here or migrants looking for a better life, as the corporate owned press want us to believe, but because the very city our forefathers and mothers built is being stolen from us, and handed to companies that want to make a profit.
Support services that our families built and paid for are being handed over to corporations. The parks and fields we owned are being sold off to private developers to build houses, that the majority of us cannot afford to live in. The places of beauty, the places we escape to from our bricked up areas, are also being taken from us and given away, so they can become areas that only the exclusive can enjoy.
But we believe that the newcomers, fleeing wars and poverty, have a right to tell their stories, where they come from; what they do; what their dreams are; and what they offer or can offer to this city.
Only by allowing ordinary people, often coming from extraordinary circumstances, to tell their stories can we begin to understand the things we have in common, the interests we share, and the desire to make life better for us all.