"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Another detention

Original piece on Steve Andrews and Melissa Houghton :

Steve and Melissa were recently married in Gibraltar. Melissa attempted to travel to the UK, and was detained, in circumstances very similar to those of BritCits supporter Dee late last year. You can read Dee's account of detention here :

The piece below is via Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/groups/650212281695959/permalink/776822782368241/

Steve writes :
What has just happened after Melissa Houghton and I got married in Gibraltar yesterday and she tried to return to the UK.

--A Very Powerful Letter From Melissa About her Experience of Being Detained and Interrogated on her Wedding Night.---

It feels like I've just let every pain I've ever felt just build up, build up, build up, until some horrible event I can't possibly sugar coat no matter how pollyanna-rose-colored glasses I want to be about it, causes me to completely lose it. I shall try to spill out everything without editing, but even now I feel like I'm being watched, as I have a very kind family law officer looking after me, but still being watched nonetheless. Why do I need to be monitored? It seems they are so concerned about my "emotional state" as I was encouraged to write down any questions that came up in my mind and was told by the nurse that all questions had answers, but I do not think this is really thinking. Not all questions are created equal and they constructing being emotional around here as something to be resisted, something to be covered up by visions of a absolutely great life ahead for me in the future.

This type of thinking needs to be questions, for how can we have a great life and a bright future when we don't understand why our problems occur in the first place. It seems like I had so much to say and I was so passionate about everything as I was up against the boring, stupid gears and bitches of beauracracy, but the aftereffects just leave me feeling numb, empty, with a lump in my chest and a pang of pain there that won't go away. Jess wrote the story about what I went through and I thought I'd just speak about it for myself. She got a few things not quite right, but I don't blame her as I was completely incoherent on a dodgy connection becasue I was crying so hard. I was bemoaning racist comments and being adopted to her. No one at the border agency made outright racist comments (which actually makes them more insidious), as it is the power and evil of subtlety that I think needs examination and inquiry. The idea that abuse is something active, like someone punching you in the face, is easy to wrap your mind around, but the type of abuse that is caused by apathy, neglect, inaction, not saying anything when something has gone terribly wrong, can be just as bad if not worse. Sometimes I hate being adopted and Asian but it's not for the reasons you might think...it's because people use my adoption and racial status to explain away any tension or pain I might be feeling just because I am me, Melissa Houghton, this thinking energy, who lives in this insane world and gets hurt by its lack of sensitivity, cold-robotic, stupid sense of entitlement and authority.

I was happy to finally reach Nancy Hustel, the mother of my best childhood friend Kristin. I scared her because I tried to tell her thenumber to call me back but I kept getting cut off and when I finally got the number to her, she could get the dialing oversees down, which is understandable as it's so confusing where to add and omit the zeros to make it work with the country code.

Am I this pain I feel that often goes ignored and is difficult for someone to see, especially the person who is stabbing me with their
words, with their black and white words, with their dull jargon-laden words, just used to create barriers, divisions, borders, false walls that shut out any possibility for any sense of sanity or understanding? To see what damage they're causing because the wounds are invisible. There's the rub. The damage is not visible but has devastating effects--the carnage of the vicious grip of being trapped by words: I've been conditioned to hate myself, to see everything in the same terms, to enact the same dramas. I've endured racism, sexism, discrimination and stereotypes of all sorts, just because people judge me on what role I play in society. I am no a role. I am thinking energy. What is thinking energy--who cares? But let's see past what I am not. I do not talk about these things at all so not to "focus on the bad." I've been told I'm too negative, melodramatic. But these things we're doing are crazy. If someone makes a racist quip or odd reference about my appearance, I just try to let it slide over me, but mostly I'm thinking, why are we even talking about race? Why should it even be considered? Why are we still struggling with these things people? I can't control how I look, what vagina I was squeezed out of or what imaginary borders surrounded my place of birth. Even now, I feel a bit self-conscious, unable to speak about the things that are most important to me.I've always struggled with this, because when something seems so important to me and it just needs to be said, I feel a pang in my gut that basically renders me incapable of saying anything intelligible. I was bawling on the phone to Jess saying this dismantling thing was all well and good in theory, but when it comes to actually living from this understanding, it's not so easy. We've been massively conditioned and compromised people, so much so that we
call this abuse normal. Abuse should never be tolerated for any reason. I do not want to "cope" any more with my pain. I just want to let my pain be there because maybe it's trying to tell me something like this isn't okay anymore. It's not okay to bully, control, or abuse me. But I feel powerless as if no one understands or even wants to, as if I am a nothing because I don't add to anyone's sense of specialness or self-worth. I feel like it's pointless even now for me to be talking about these things. I do not see how anything I say will make a difference. When I shout or scream or cry, people say BE QUIET! If I'm quiet, I'm ignored, If I'm assertive, I'm boring even to myself. I do not want a technqiue a coping mechanism anymore. I think coping is boring and that no one has ever truly known what I'm about. I blame myself really, but I have no more energy to explain. I shall die someday and be forgotten, even the most "important" people will all be forgotten, so I only want to live simply without any problems or searching for any answers. I don't want any pains that would cause me to instigate such a search.

I'm currently housed in the Tinsley Family Suite as they call it, which sounds all nice and charming, which I must say the experience certainly is, but it's also surrounded by barb-wire fence. I was basically treated like a criminalf from the get go, and I do not know how anyone could treat me with a harsh tone. I don't want to sound vain, but even when they were taking my prints and having me look into the camera, I was furious, deeply hurt, but also thinking how beautiful the pink flower clip I had in my hair looked and how beautiful my outfit was that I wore earlier that day at the wedding. and how I'm rather cute but not a criminal. I would've wanted to smile into the camera, look so lovely that someone who would see this photo of me would be perplexed about how someone with such a lovely demeanor that could be read in her features could ever cause anyone any problems. But I've got huge problems, and have had huge problems, even when most of my what I built my character around has depended on avoiding them. And the salt on the wound is that I'm the one usually blamed for being abused. The one who "always seems to attract these messes." It is not the victim's fault that she cannot always successfully dodge the abuser. The abuser is scared, the abuser gets a hardon from the abuse and seeks to sustain the pleasure to cover up the misery.

I was detained overnight and had a difficult time sleeping. I was locked in a room with florescent lights, bland white walls, some religious books, a payphone,ads for some legal advice a tv, etc. I cried out in disgust when the payphone kept eating up my pounds even after just ringing a person up. I felt so dishearted when looking for my list of contacts. The big brother thugs wouldn't let me use Skype or connect to the internet, so I had to rely on my very compromised memory, which made me realize just how few numbers I actually have memorized anymore. My parents are on a vacation right now, so I can't reach them. My brother was not responding and I was trying to give a callback number, but kept getting cut off for unknown reasons; it was like it was an evil phone out to get me and I'm actually sure it was bugged as they had signs warning me about it. I was held there overnight, blamed that I shouldn't have flown in at night as I would have to wait for someone to arrive next morning to "interview" me. It was more like an interrogation and not how I imagined I would spend my wedding night, locked in a detainment center with newspapers outlining all the other horrors of the world such as the recent plane crash.

I tried to elaborate on Steve's and I's intentions to work within the UK's restricitions on my passport, as I'm only able to stay for 6 months out of the year. There was a man and woman interviewing finally this morning and I woke up very foggy. She kept interrupting me, telling me to listen to her, saying she didn't believe my story, and that I was trying to reside permanently in the UK. When I showed her the return ticket I had provided beforehand to prove that I was leaving, she acted as if she had "accidentally" overlooked it, after saying flatly that I used the word "live" in the UK and that Steve would join me after he tied up loose ends in Tenerife. There is more I could say but the situation was a stereotype of itself, straight out of an Orwellian novel.

I wanted to write down some words before I forgot. I see how much now how people don't think. I asked the guy who brought me into detainment why we have these rules? What principle are we supporting? To which he answered unironically: We have rules so we can follow them. Rules exist for rules sake? Look at how much trouble we cause when we blindly follow the script.

Melissa Houghton
Steve Andrews

Detention Forum work with people in immigration detention. Follow them here :


  1. This is pure madness,i cannot understand what is happening!,Jessica is not a criminal,why in heavens name treat her as such.Be strong Jessica.

  2. I don't understand how they can just do this to people it makes me so angry! How is this possible