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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  January 9, 2023 10:30pm-11:01pm GMT

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but as the first welshman to score at a world cup in 64 years, his legacy is secure. hywel griffith, bbc news. simply the best, as they said. time for a look at the weather. here's matt taylor. bit of a shocker, more wind and rain on the way. no surprises there. let me take you to hampshire, do you remember back in the summer it had a stretch of over a0 days without a drop of rain? 0ver stretch of over a0 days without a drop of rain? over the past 2a hours, there havejust been drop of rain? over the past 2a hours, there have just been two dry days completely, and 28 of the last 30 had some rain in it at cold rose. relative to average, in gwyneth, by the end of tuesday we could have seen a month's worth of rainfall in the first ten days. across wales and north—west england, more heavy rain tomorrow and a risk of flooding, up
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tomorrow and a risk of flooding, up to 100 millimetres on the hills. this is the cloud responsible, which the rocket flight will be flying into as we speak. it is going to be bringing rain quite extensively through the night and into tomorrow, in a cross from the west. and that will be spreading into all but northern and eastern parts by the morning. it is here there will be a touch of frost to start with, a milder start with heavy rain towards parts of western england, wales and northern ireland for the morning rush hour. the end of a shower across eastern parts of england, central and southern scotland, some snow over the hills. it will reach aldershot —— all but shattered by the end of the day. some drizzle on the end of the day. some drizzle on the hills before the next batch of rain comes in and a windy day across the board. wind gusting to a0 or 50 mph at times. the wind coming from the south or south—west. temperatures well above where they should be for this stage injanuary, ten or ia degrees. the slice of milder air gets pushed out the way. rain tomorrow night not quite as
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heavy, then cooler conditions pushing back into wednesday. wednesday will be a mixture of sunshine and showers. showers most frequent in the some will reach the west in the afternoon. showers, some heavy with hail and thunder, temperatures lower than today, seven or ii temperatures lower than today, seven or 11 degrees. you temperatures lower than today, seven or 11 degrees-— and that's bbc news at ten on monday the 9th of january. there's more analysis of the day's main stories on newsnight with victoria derbyshire, which is just getting underway on bbc two. the news continues here on bbc one as now it's time to join our colleagues across the nations and regions for the news where you are. from the ten team, it's goodnight.
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welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. war and extreme poverty drive millions of people from their homes every year. some of those desperate people try to reach the rich western world where such inward migration routinely prompts fear and draconian countermeasures. do perceptions change when the story of migration is personalised? well, my guest today is waheed arian, who fled war in afghanistan as a child, made it to the uk and is now a doctor running his own medical charity. his is an extraordinary story. what should we all take from it?
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waheed arian, welcome to hardtalk. thank you very much, stephen, for inviting me and for having me here. it's a real pleasure to have you on the show. ijust wonder, how much distance do you feel today as a distinguished doctor in the united kingdom, how much distance do you feel from your childhood and from your homeland, afghanistan? my family is still in afghanistan. my father, my sisters, five, six sisters are in afghanistan. 0ne sister is newly displaced to sweden and two brothers are displaced as refugees to the united states. so i am all over the world
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when it comes to my heart, when it comes to my story, it's not finished that i'm here in the uk. i'm very proud to be an afghan british citizen, both, and i've got my cultural heritage from afghanistan and i'm very proud of that as well. but on the other hand, it really saddens me to see how people are suffering, including my own family members going through the traumas that i went through in the late mid to late �*80s, during the �*90s before i came to the uk. are you able to see it first—hand in the sense are you able to visit afghanistan regularly now? i used to visit afghanistan until 2017 when we set up the charity there and then i didn't have to go because the charity is connecting doctors through mobile phones to smartphones. i'm a humanitarian. i wasn't affiliated with a political organisation or the previous government. i would love to go back to help afghan people. we're still helping through our charity and i would love to see my own siblings. the charity you called it
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arian teleheal and we're going to talk much more about it. but before we do that, i do want to explore your experience because it's pretty extraordinary. and it seems to me you bottled up much of what happened to you as a kid for a long time after you left afghanistan, and then progressively over time, you began to open up about it, not least because you ultimately took the decision to write a memoir, in the wars, which i've been reading. why did you bottle it up for so long? it is a trauma response, actually. trauma is an experience which is very painful for many people, whether it's through war, whether it's through other experiences such as covid. these are highly stressful situations that people go through and they remain for a very long time. so the response is either fight or flight. and in my case, of course, through wartime afghanistan, i was in that mode fight orflight, and when i came to the uk as a,
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as a child refugee, although i was safe from the bombs, but the experience in my mind were there and my physiological response through being hypervigilant, seeing flashbacks of a sniper taking my head off or seeing the red buses on london streets turning into tanks. these are the symptoms and the signs of ptsd, post—traumatic stress disorder. and they're not exclusively that i experienced, many refugees, many migrants or people who go through extreme circumstances, they go through that and the mind somehow tries to suppress. it's a defense mechanism to bottle it up. and if we do look back to you as a five—year—old child and the extraordinary trauma you went through trying to escape from afghanistan with your family to pakistan, to safe haven, how clearly do you remember what happened and how, frankly, how close to death you and your family came? traumatic experiences remain there in the mind, they're very vivid
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for people when they're going through them. i remember hiding in cellars from the daily rockets, the bombs and shellings. when i turned, before i turned five and we moved to pakistan, the journey that we took from afghanistan to pakistan was through mountains and valleys at night time on donkeys and horses, because refugees or people from afghanistan were not allowed to leave through the normal borders. during the day, we had to find somewhere to hide from the helicopter gunships and thejets. but we did come under the attack three times. and i do remember on one occasion being hidden in an oven set in the floor, in the villages in afghanistan where they bake bread. that's where my father hid me. and he, before the attack started, he knew that we were spotted by a spy plane and the jets were coming. and he said, son, if anything happened to me, you will take the family back to afghanistan. so aged five. age five, aged five,
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it was putting that burden of responsibility upon your shoulders. he was, and that's when i lost my childhood. because all along, for the next decade when i was in afghanistan, i was always thinking that if my father dies, i'll be taking care of the family. and that's the same for so many children. so there are a50 million children of war in sort of school and sort of trying to live their childhood. they lose all that to bring bread to their homes or to look after their family in some way. you and your family were sporadically based in pakistan, in refugee camps, sporadically, you were back home in afghanistan. i know you suffered and your family suffered from ill health, tb, malaria at times, and yet at the same time as a child, you remarkably seemed to have become somewhat obsessed with the notion that you wanted to become a doctor. amid all this suffering and extreme pain and poverty, why did you get this idea into your head? i think on one hand,
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i was seeing so much suffering, notjust of me suffering tuberculosis, malaria and my family members who were suffering as well, but also the local population in the refugee camp. is there were millions of refugees in pakistan. wherever camps that we used to visit, we would see that people were suffering like us. some were worse. 0rphans, widows, not having food, shelter. when i was visiting the refugee camp doctor for my illness, when i was coughing so much, he referred me to a lung specialist and the lung specialist diagnosed me to have life—threatening tuberculosis. so during that visit back and forth, i realised that actually on one hand, there is so much suffering. 0n the other hand, there is somebody who can heal people. and i saw that i was getting better. i couldn't walk. i was like a skeleton. and i was given about 60, 70% chance of dying, actually, because it was so advanced, i was malnourished.
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but i saw that kindness on the face of that doctor every time that he would talk to me. so the seed of inspiration comes from there, and it takes me to a point that sometimes going through really hard times in life, we can find our purpose as well. it takes us to really deep waters to evaluate what's really important. and for me, medicine happens to be the purpose of my future. yeah, i mean, of course we sit here, we know how successful you've been, and in a sense that colours our conversation. but i am really trying to get inside the head, notjust of you, but of your parents. when you were a teenager back in afghanistan, of course, long after the soviets had finally left afghanistan, you were doing odd jobs, you were trying to make a living, but you still had this desire to study. and your father ultimately decided to sell pretty much all of his possessions to raise the money to send you to the united kingdom. that is an extraordinarily difficult, wrenching decision,
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both for your parents and for yourself. do you remember the feelings at that time? i do remember. it was a very difficult decision for my mother, for myself, for my father. i was inspired by this doctor to become a doctor. so i was pursuing that route in pakistan, in afghanistan. i didn't find it. in refugee camps, the certificates that you get, they're not used anywhere else in afghanistan. going through the �*90s, the civil war, everything was destroyed. we were again fighting, fleeing from one part of the city to another or from one country to back to pakistan, afghanistan to pakistan, almost on a monthly basis. schools were destroyed, hospitals were destroyed. and i got to a point, behind the scenes i was searching how i could pursue my dream. even though i was in cellars hiding, i had my books with a lamp under the desk and i was still, and that's something that
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gave me hope. and ifound actually hope in being able to become a doctor, to look after my family, to heal people who were suffering. and for me, it was a ticket that there is a future, even though i couldn't see it. but in my mind, i painted a picture that i could go to medical school. i could do something, so an imaginary world that i created and i hung on to it. so that became a source for me to survive the war, actually. and you were prepared to leave home to take thatjourney to a country you had no real idea of, the united kingdom. but let us be brutal about it, i mean, you were an illegal entrant into the united kingdom with a fake passport which i believe you tried to burn on the plane to sort of get rid of the evidence. but, nonetheless, it was clear that you were illegal. and when you got off that plane landed in the uk, you were immediately arrested. there is a very intense debate in the united kingdom and other western countries about what to do with illegal entrants. and i just wonder whether you, looking back on your own self, whether you can understand the fears that people have in countries like britain, that politicians certainly seem to share, about the dangers that come with mass illegal immigration?
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i think it's a very important topic to discuss. thank you for asking that. so, first of all, i think the word legal or illegal migrant is something we've created. so humans are not illegal. migration has always been there throughout decades and centuries as we know it, the world. in case of war—torn countries, and this is the reality now in afghanistan, in ukraine, in syria, when people are under bombs, they have to run for their lives. they don't have the means. the embassies don't exist in afghanistan. there was no embassy for me to go. the un didn't exist on the ground there. even in pakistan, i was not allowed to go beyond the checkpoint of an embassy asking for a visa. i came to a point where i was about to be recruited for military service and there were other reasons my life was in danger. and later on it proved that i was a genuine refugee. but to make the journey
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from afghanistan to a safe country was impossible. the only route available was through selling the house of my father and putting the money and all his fate into the hands of an agent. so sadly, because of the lack of these official routes or the routes, people have to either give away their life and their futures, stay in the country where they either die physically or they die meaningfully, that they have got no means to feed their children, they have got no futures. and that was the experience i was going through. the alternative was to go to unknown destination, and that's a decision, although it seems very harsh and difficult in case of my parents and for myself, but if you look at what else the option was, there is no other option. you were an illegal entrant. that's the technical term. you ended up in a detention
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centre for some time. and then, of course, you were given asylum. you settled in london, you studied. i mean, it's remarkable to think about it, but without any real access to the formal paths of education, you found a night school, you studied hard, you got extraordinary exam results, ended up at cambridge university and you were taken, accepted onto a medicine course, which is extremely hard to do for any kid in the united kingdom, let alone somebody with your background. how much do you think you sort of sacrificed your mental health to achieve what you achieved? i would like to clarify that i don't think that's something special about me. there are special characteristics about refugees, about people who go through conflict, through traumas. they become so resilient. the lack of food, the lack of safety, the lack of shelter all day, every day. it gives them so much determination. and i firmly believe this, that so many other refugees... it becomes clear in your 20s when you're really cramming hard at medical school that you
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do have mental difficulties. in fact, there came a point where it seems to me from reading your own account that you were very close to a breakdown. i had a breakdown, absolutely. so for me, i had one chance to when i came to the uk, the way i saw it, that i was in a safe country. i was given compassion by the british government, by the british people, and i saw kindness from so many people. somebody allowed me to sleep on a sofa. this man gave me my first job on edgware road, which allowed me to send money back home to feed a big family and to feed myself. so there was not only my determination, but so much kindness that i saw that went on to shape my future. but at the same time, i was suffering mentally. i had ptsd, i was still running on adrenaline. and the reason for it is because my case was being considered by the home office at the time, and that meant that i didn't have a refugee status. and my case meant that if it was rejected,
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i could be deported any time. so i wanted to take everything in at the sacrifice of my mental health. and, sadly, that carried on. even when i got to cambridge university, i suffered from isolation, social isolation. i didn't fit in. i didn't know the tv dramas, the holidays, everything else. so i was this kid completely from a no man's land brought into one of the world's amazing institutions. and i struggled academically as well, but i kept on with my gratitude for being safe, for having the opportunity, and on the other hand, continuing to work extremely hard. and many refugees do that. despite their suffering, they will go on to succeed and contribute. and one of the interesting elements of that story you've told is this emphasis you put on kindness, the kindness of many people in many different parts of your life in the uk that made such a difference to you. do you think that kindness
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is still there today at a time when the government, led by prime minister rishi sunak is pledging to the people of this country that he will stop all of the boat crossings, what he calls the irregular entries into the united kingdom by migrants? just the kinds of people such as yourself, those years ago. has the kindness gone? the kindness in this society is very much alive. i see it first—hand. i work with refugees in the uk and with refugees in syria, in turkey, in many other countries. and i see that the communities help so much. so that's, i think, something and that element of kindness, it doesn't have to be too much to create a charity. if rishi sunak and suella braverman, the home secretary in the united kingdom, are to be taken seriously. you 15, 16—year—old, you trying to make your illegal entry into the united kingdom if you were to do that today or tomorrow, in theory, the uk government is going to put you on a plane to rwanda and insist that even if you are successful in an asylum claim, you will stay in rwanda,
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you will be never allowed in the united kingdom. well, this is a very sad decision. it is a very sad decision. and i think it's something that refugees are being weaponised. they are politicised, sadly, and they're criminalised. refugees like myself, who come in with their own potential, with their dreams and their hope for safety, which is a human right, regardless of their contribution. so it's very simple to look at it. we don't have to go through division, through hatred. on one hand, we see that our country is suffering from in the uk and across the globe, we have shortages of staff, people who can work in the health care and education in other sectors. 0n the other hand, we are trying to send people away.
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we're trying to isolate ourselves. yes, but the argument cuts many different ways. we also have extreme strain on our educational services, our health services. and we also see that literally tens of thousands of people in the last year are trying to cross the channel as these irregular entrants into the united kingdom and the government, and it seems many of the people in the united kingdom believe that is simply not sustainable in the long term and measures have to be taken to deter those people, the kinds of people that you were just those years ago. absolutely. i think it's not... do you not understand that? i understand. and i think this is something not sustainable. and if we look at it on one hand, the word deterrence that we use or what we use to deter migrants or refugees whose lives are at risk, it will never work because for me, no matter how much deterrence you would give me, for me it was death. staying in afghanistan, i would have taken that journey. people will take it. 0n the other hand, the all we have to do is on one hand, to use compassion. 0n the other hand, we can use and we should be using obliging
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by the un geneva convention, 1951 by the international law through fairness to allow people for their cases to be evaluated through a fairer, quicker system. and if they are not refugees, if they are not genuine asylum seeker, that's fair enough. it's not easy, though, is it? i mean, were you a genuine asylum seeker? in the sense that a substantial part of your family stayed in afghanistan and thanks to god, they are alive and they survived. so one could argue that ultimately you were a migrant of choice. you weren't necessarily fleeing a life or death situation. i was, i was fleeing a life or death situation. that was how it was determined. your six sisters stayed behind. and, again, thanks to god, they all survived. and that's an important question, because when we talk about males coming or lone males coming, the fact is that they can't have, they don't have the means to pay for everybody to leave.
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so one person who leaves tries to provide and tries to save everybody else in any way they can, whether it's through money, whether it's demobilizing them to another safe place and so on. so they have to make very hard decision. it is hard. it is very hard decision. and i have to make that point very clear, is that i when my case was, i was an asylum seeker, but when it was assessed officially by the home office, i was given a refugee status. and that's how a lot of the refugees who come in, the majority of them whose cases are assessed fairly, they, the majority of them are deemed to be refugees. of course, the ones whose cases are rejected, who are deemed not to be refugees and i agree, i think they have to be deported, but it has to be done in international collaboration with the neighbouring countries as well. before we end, i do want to reflect a little bit on your work as a medical practioner. we discussed the fact that you also give back to afghanistan and other countries suffering hardship and conflict through your tele doctoring, your smartphone doctoring,
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where you've organized a network of doctors who advise colleagues in the most difficult circumstances, but most of your work is in a&e and radiology in a hospital in the north of england. you are now on the front line of a service which many people looking at waiting times, looking at the lack of beds, looking at many different measurements, they say the national health service is in crisis. you have a unique perspective as an outsider who came in to britain to work in the nhs. do you feel it is in a sort of existential crisis? so when i compare the nhs that now that i'm serving on the front line as emergency doctor, and i compare that to when i started studying medicine and when i was practising as a junior doctor early on, it is in crisis, sadly. we see a big queue of ambulances. actually i see a lot of my colleagues who are burnt out. they have called in sick for months and months. there are people who are crying
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on every shift and i see people in the waiting rooms as well. and that takes me to another point, is that the national health service in the uk and across the globe, the health care system — if we just focus on the health care system — is built on diversity, is built on immigrants, built on refugees, and i'm very proud to be just one of them working shoulder to shoulder. i'm here, but not everybody has the opportunity to come and speak with you on hardtalk. but there are so many others. and that's the point, that migrants are dreamers. migrants are people who contribute once they're given an opportunity. like me, there are so many others who would do the same. in the uk, this is a crisis and the only way to deal with it is to accept there is a crisis. there are so many people who have suffered trauma post pandemic health care colleagues in the uk and across
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the globe the front line, and we haven't dealt with it. and now they're putting through another crisis where the health care system here is crumbling. and i'm interested, just to sum up, i'm interested that you use the word crisis about the challenges facing the nhs in the uk, even though i'm so very aware that in your background you have seen the lack of any sort of effective health care system in afghanistan and the refugee camps of pakistan, you know what it means to go without health care at all, but still, as a doctor in the uk right now, you would use the word crisis, would you ? i would. i wouldn't compare it to afghanistan. it to low resourced countries but that's why i compared it to how i train, when i trained to five years back. it is in crisis when we compare it to that. it's a beautiful health care system. it's built by diversity. it's built by a compassion to give health care to everybody. and the only way to sustain it is actually to face the crisis face on and to see where the problems lie and to solve them one by one. and anywhere in the world, whether it's health care, whether it's education, refugees and migrants play a huge role. and the only way to look at refugees and migrants is to see
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them as dreamers like myself. dr waheed arian, thank you very much forjoining me on hardtalk. thank you. thank you so much for having me. it's been a real pleasure. hello. trey eventually started to some northeastern areas but rain will sweep to all but shetland and starting wettest in the west to begin with, rain heavy at times but to the east of england in central scotland by the end of the morning rush hour, reaching by the end of the afternoon. things will turn a little less wet across england and wales during the afternoon in northern ireland. if few brighter
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breaks but there will be some rain and drizzle around and some gusty winds touching 50 miles an hour and one or two spots. but with the rain deals to be a pretty mild day and ten to ia celsius the highs. going into the evening and overnight, that rain pushes its way toward shetland and wenzel ease a bit as another band of rain pushes its way to ia celsius the highs. going into the evening and overnight, that rain pushes its way toward shetland and wenzel ease a bit as another band of rain pushes its way eastwards for with the day of sunshine and showers expected especially in the west. take care.
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welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore, i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines. fifteen—hundred arrests in brazil following the violent attack on government buildings by supporters of the ousted president zh—air bolsonaro — his successor promises swift retribution. those people who did this will be found and punished. they will realise that democracy guarantees the right to freedom and free speech. prince harry criticises his stepmother — camilla the queen consort — in his latest tv interviews, saying she used the media to promote herself at the expense of family members. and we have take off — the first orbital space launch from uk soil has begun carrying nine satellites into space.


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