For nearly 20 years we have spent every summer on the island of Bute in the Firth of Clyde. This week, preparing once again for the 400-mile drive north, I read a daunting opinion of our destination. In a Daily Mail reportthat has provoked a small storm on social media, a 35-year-old Syrian refugee, speaking under the pseudonym Rasha, said that Bute was “full of old people”, a place where “people come to die”. Her 42-year-old husband Abd (also a false name) worried that this would also happen to him; first despair, then entropy and the slow decline towards the grave. Abd said Scotland was beautiful, the people there had treated him well, he even liked the weather, but: “There is no movement, there is nothing. I’m not bored any more. I am depressed now. I feel like I have one option now – to die here. Only die here, nothing else.” … [Read more...] about Who could blame a Syrian for weeping in the Highland rain?
Syrian refugees in the uk
“I went to the dating website Match, I wrote an essay: “I have four kids, my husband abandoned me to go become the next Osama Bin Ladin”. I got 1,300 replies.” … [Read more...] about Brit ex-ISIS bride who became suburban mum says ‘Shamima Begum can change like me’
But Bute turned the corner years ago, and many of the Syrian refugees have talked about their love for the island. When we visited this summer, the seafront squares in Rothesay, the port town, had just been renovated. The art deco Pavilion will reopen next summer, after a £3m makeover, as an international arts venue. Old Victorian shops have been turned into stylish boutiques and upcycled furniture emporiums. There’s a vegetarian cafe (Musicker) that sells guitars and books, and a bookshop that sells coffee (Print Point, West Princes Street), as well as old-style pubs and ice-cream makers. … [Read more...] about Absolute Bute: the Scottish island that could just have it all