The Lightless Sky: An Afghan Refugee Boy’s Journey of Escape to A New Life in Britain eBook: Passarlay, Gulwali, Ghouri, Nadene: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

The Lightless Sky: An Afghan Refugee Boy’s Journey of Escape to A New Life in Britain eBook: Passarlay, Gulwali, Ghouri, Nadene: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
— Read on www.amazon.co.uk/Lightless-Sky-Refugee-Journey-Britain-ebook/dp/B010KMZU2U

Thanks to my publisher @AtlanticBooks for getting an ebook promotion on amazon on #TheLightlessSky 🌌 for @RefugeeWeek So it’s 99p on kindle guys, you can get with an app on your 📱. #TogetherWithRefugees #WeCannotWalkAlone #RefugeeWeek2021

The Lightless Sky – By Gulwali Passarlay Signed by Author (Hard Back) – The Dignity Centre Shop

A gripping, inspiring, and eye-opening memoir of fortitude and survival—of a twelve-year-old boy’s traumatic flight from Afghanistan to the West—that puts a face to one of the most shocking and devastating humanitarian crises of our time. “To risk my life had to mean something. Otherwise what was it all for?” In 2006,
— Read on refumade.org/products/the-lightless-sky-by-gulwali-passarlay-signed-by-author-hard-back

The Lightless Sky – Audiobook | Listen Instantly!

The Lightless Sky audiobook, by Gulwali Passarlay… A gripping, inspiring, and eye-opening memoir of fortitude and survival—of a twelve-year-old boy’s traumatic flight from Afghanistan to the West—that puts a face to one of the most shocking and devastating humanitarian crises of our time.“To risk my life had to mean…
— Read on audiobookstore.com/audiobooks/the-lightless-sky.aspx

In depth: The real story behind Priti Patel’s refugee plans | Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate

One such person is Gulwali Passarlay, internationally renowned author of The Lightless Sky and an Afghan political refugee. In 2007, at the age of 12 he left his home and family and travelled 12,000 miles, through 10 different countries to reach the safety of the UK, but once here, he was faced with a great deal of hostility. He has not seen his mother for 14 years.

“My age was disputed, so was my nationality. I was in a state of uncertainty for such a long time-the Home Office kept delaying matters, and I was granted temporary status for about five years, before I got refugee status.

“These things happen all the time, but now they will occur at an official policy level, which is really concerning,” he said.

“The Home Office has been trying to make preventative policies for the past 30 years, but it hasn’t worked. We have to find an alternative solution to what’s happening…Why can’t we allow [people] to claim a humanitarian visa, instead of having to set foot on UK soil before being able to claim asylum?”

People only cross the Channel in small boats and take desperate measures because of UK government policies, Passarlay says: “These people don’t leave their homes, countries and loved ones for no reason, but because of conflict, persecution, injustice and oppression, and in many cases, Britain has something to do with it.

 “The very least the government can do is treat them with dignity and respect, and not as criminals.”
— Read on leftfootforward.org/2021/04/in-depth-the-real-story-behind-priti-patels-refugee-plans/

In depth: The real story behind Priti Patel’s refugee plans | Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate

One such person is Gulwali Passarlay, internationally renowned author of The Lightless Sky and an Afghan political refugee. In 2007, at the age of 12 he left his home and family and travelled 12,000 miles, through 10 different countries to reach the safety of the UK, but once here, he was faced with a great deal of hostility. He has not seen his mother for 14 years.

“My age was disputed, so was my nationality. I was in a state of uncertainty for such a long time-the Home Office kept delaying matters, and I was granted temporary status for about five years, before I got refugee status.

“These things happen all the time, but now they will occur at an official policy level, which is really concerning,” he said.

“The Home Office has been trying to make preventative policies for the past 30 years, but it hasn’t worked. We have to find an alternative solution to what’s happening…Why can’t we allow [people] to claim a humanitarian visa, instead of having to set foot on UK soil before being able to claim asylum?”

People only cross the Channel in small boats and take desperate measures because of UK government policies, Passarlay says: “These people don’t leave their homes, countries and loved ones for no reason, but because of conflict, persecution, injustice and oppression, and in many cases, Britain has something to do with it.

 “The very least the government can do is treat them with dignity and respect, and not as criminals.”
— Read on leftfootforward.org/2021/04/in-depth-the-real-story-behind-priti-patels-refugee-plans/

Joint Statement: Afghanistan is Not Safe: the Joint Way Forward Means Two Steps Back | European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)

If cooperation between the EU and Afghanistan focuses exclusively or disproportionately on deportation, the opportunity to work together on other asylum and migration policies is lost, and the cooperation is not balanced because it does not reflect the priorities of each party. The Afghan government rightly requests mutually beneficial and comprehensive cooperation on migration which acknowledges the positive perception of migration among the Afghan population in Afghanistan and Europe.
Enlarging migration coopera
— Read on www.ecre.org/joint-statement-afghanistan-is-not-safe-the-joint-way-forward-means-two-steps-back/

Give refugees a chance and they will make impressive contributions…

Don’t only take my word for it. There are many examples of people who have come to these islands fleeing conflict and human rights violations, who have rebuilt their lives whilst making viable contributions to our communities.

And one of them is a remarkable young man called Gulwali Passarlay, who arrived in the UK at the age of 12 from Afghanistan.

I first met Gulwali online on Facebook. We have since become good friends. I have closely followed his activities online and had the opportunity to hear him talk in April this year, when he kindly agreed to speak at the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Gulwali has also written his biography, The Lightless Sky. He kindly gave me a signed copy of the book at the AGM, which I have just had the pleasure to finish reading.

The book describes the struggles of a young man growing up through the tragedies of a terrible conflict, his perilous flight to safety, and the complexities of finding a way through the often byzantine asylum system in the UK. It highlights how war shatters lives, separates families and undermines the dignity and aspirations of children, while also providing a stark reminder about the importance of social connections and role of integration support services.

I’ll admit that at some points the book wasn’t an easy read for me; it made me cry. 

The story mirrors that of mine and many others I have been working with at Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre. It is a monologue of anecdotes highlighting the courage, resilience and struggles many refugees endure in their search for safety. My favourite or most tragic part is when Gulwali says farewells to his family. It took me back to the time when I had to say goodbyes to my family, one of the most difficult experiences of my life. At the same time, the book was therapeutic, taking me through a journey that I had also experienced. As a former refugee and as someone now working with refugees, I have come to realise that every refugee has a powerful story; however it takes real courage to tell the story. Through this book, Gulwali has shown that courage and has not shied away from telling it as it is for many children stuck in dreadful situations.

I would strongly recommend the book to anyone on the right, centre or left of the asylum and immigration debate. It will definitely challenge your understanding. 

Moving on to Gulwali, here is a brilliant young man full of enthusiasm to make a difference for the most vulnerable. He is always on the move, speaking at schools, faith organisations and community centres, whilst responding to national and international issues affecting refugees. He shows relentless energy and generously gives his time to things that others may be paid thousands to do.

I believe the UK is richer having people like Gulwali, who despite experiencing the dreadful traumas of the conflict, the journey and the asylum system still works hard with a big smile on his face. All of us could learn from his resilience and positive attitude. In a relatively short period of time, he has achieved so much and has helped in changing many perceptions through his talks. He is one great example of how refugees can play an active role in enriching our society, and his story has inspired so many to act. Unfortunately it has failed to inspire in one place, and that is the UK Home Office. The culture of disbelieve means that we continue to detain people like Gulwali. Our policies make them homeless and destitute and even when they have done everything to integrate, they are never accepted.

Despite this, it is important to remember that we all have the potential to enable thousands more people like Gulwali to rebuild their lives. It just requires a change in policy.

I recently had the pleasure to talk to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, where we discussed the barriers and restrictions in our asylum and immigration system that make life difficult for people seeking sanctuary.

Through the deliberations I learnt that some progress has been made but not much has changed.

We still detain people with no time limit and routinely detain refugees over months and years; a practice that cost the public purse £380 million. Indefinite detention is dehumanising for refugees. 

There is also a two tier system in place that treats refugees fleeing almost similar conflicts in different ways, and mostly with distrust. The recent changes introduced through the asylum and immigration bill means that most people will end up being destitute, and this gets even worse when vulnerable groups such as children and mothers are involved.

Complicating matters further is the fact that once people are granted status, we only give these people 28 days for the transition from having Home Office support to finding a home and means to pay for it. These people also face extortionate immigration fees. For instance, the fee for naturalisation rose from £200 in year 2005 to £1282 in year 2017. How many of us can save that much, especially when we are going through the complexities of integration and trying to find a dignified income?

Finally, there are no safe routes for people to be reunited with family members already in the UK, and a clear lack of wellbeing services to help refugees overcome their traumas and restarting building their lives.

All of this forces those fleeing war, directly into poverty and it’s unacceptable. 

The world is currently grappling with one of its worst displacement crises in recorded history. There are over 65 million people forced to flee their homes, with almost 50% of these women and children. In the face of this sad reality, our policies have become more restrictive at a time when people need our protection the most.

We need to bring humanity and dignity in our asylum system. I won’t argue that we don’t need some form of official system to process asylum cases, but we need an integration strategy that works for all and fulfills our moral and practical obligations to those in need of our protection.

For those of us in a position of influence we need to create a system Britain can be proud of; to achieve this, we require strong political will.

Sabir Zazai

20th July 2017

www.linkedin.com/pulse/give-refugees-chance-make-impressive-contributions-sabir-zazai

Review of The Lightless Sky by a fellow Afghan and Friend.


I have just finished reading Gulwali Passarlay’s book “The Lightless Sky”. It was a great book to read and It captivated my thoughts to the core because I myself have made this terrifying and life threatening journey from Afghanistan to the UK in late 2007. In his book Gulwali talks about “ almost drowning in the Greek sea” this is something which I have experienced too.
The inhuman treatment by the Iranian and Turkish authorities and human traffickers, the struggle to have basic needs like food and water, the dangerous attempts to cross from one country to another and risking our lives by hiding in lorries and sleeping in jungles are the experiences which all the refugees go through to get to a safe place. Gulwali mentions the food queue in Calais in the book which reminded me of the times I had queued there for the food. Reading the book made me feel like I was making my journey all over again because the similarities are astonishing. I know Gulwali since 2011. I met him at Hamid’s house who is mentioned in the book too and ever since we have been good friends. Although I know Gulwali personally and very closely, reading his book made me connect with him in a more emotional way because we have a whole journey and struggles in common.

Reading the book surfaced characteristics about his personality that we sometimes unknowingly miss out noticing in our friends. In the book, he comes across as a leader and quite daring which is hard to be when you are literally following orders given by the smugglers. In the book, he also comes across as very curious, punctual, trying to know what the plan is and trying to have a plan before action person. Let me tell you that knowing Gulwali I can confirm these things about him. He always wants to do things with a plan and is always curious about things which are unclear. For example, once he had come to Belgium to meet me. I asked him not to book a hotel room instead we stayed at a friend’s house for the night. He was not happy with it because staying at my friends house was not part of his plan! The next day he booked a hotel room.

I want to thank my dear friend Gulwali for writing this book because it’s not only his journey, it’s the journey of every person who was unfortunate to leave their loved ones behind and seek protection in Europe. He is a role model for me and for many people who have made this journey. I wanna thank him for representing the refugees and asylum seekers and for educating people about the reality. I am proud of his achievements and charity and community work. As an afghan, I am proud to see my fellow afghan and a friend to have carried the most prestigious “the 2012 Olympics Torch” representing refugees, struggles, courage and determination.

Niamatullah Rifiqi