A Gap in the Curtains is a deeply moving collection of first hand stories from asylum seekers and refugees residing in York during 2003. They come from countries as diverse as Albania, China, Iran and Turkey, desperately in search of a place of refuge, by a variety of modes of transport to a strange and alien country (England).
Most have left behind loved-ones, homes and family in their countries of birth. The harrowing detail of war-torn countries, political turmoil and state repression serves to humanise and remind the reader of why so many people are forced into flight – leaving behind beautiful family homes and communities. They are escaping censorship, persecution, torture and ultimately death; only to arrive in an alien environment alone, afraid, bewildered and confused.
A Gap in the Curtains reaches beyond the myth of the asylum seeker as opportunist, to reveal a level of universal human fear that all can relate to, of homes and families lost, left and rebuilt in a strange new world. Shining through every story though is a real sense of hope; the embracing of newly found freedom, the possibility of working towards a brighter, more prosperous future, the yearning for and desperate need of education.
It is with education that the plight of people may improve and it is as an educational tool that the value of A Gap in the Curtains lies. It is a valuable resource for teachers, and for pupils to learn about hardship in other cultures and countries. It makes invaluable reading if only to remind us of the strength of the human spirit.