Much has been written both nationally and locally about the terrifying situation unfolding in Afghanistan and what responsibility the UK should take for the chaotic scenes there and the desperate plight of thousands of vulnerable women, children and locals who worked in various capacities for our services over the last two decades.
The whole subject of asylum-seekers has become so polarised nationally in recent years – largely thanks to the rhetoric of members of the government and some sections of the media – that it makes me weep for what felt like a more tolerant past and appreciate the continued kindness of people in Brighton and Hove.
In the 1970s, at my inner London primary school, I counted among my friends a new girl who horrified the class with stories of her last months in Idi Amin’s Uganda.
Our teacher encouraged her to speak so we would understand the fear and misery involved in having to leave behind everything – and everyone – you have ever known to flee across the world in fear.
When I took these tales home, my Auntie Eve told me of her arrival as a small child decades earlier, on the Kindertransport.
She had never mentioned it before but now told me of the kindness of strangers here when she arrived and after the war as it became clear that not a single other member of her family had survived.
Later, I remember headlines about the “Vietnamese Boat People” who made the perilous journey across the seas, risking their all in search of safety, and at art school in the 1980s one of my friends was Juan, who arrived here from Chile in 1973, aged 7, after his parents had been taken to the notorious National Stadium along with thousands of other political prisoners.
With the current situation at least partly due to their disgraceful mishandling of a situation far away, the government must do more to support local authorities in helping settle the resulting refugees in our cities.
Brighton and Hove has an honourable record as a City of Sanctuary – and long may that continue.
Councillor Amanda Evans is the deputy leader of the Labour opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.