Glasgow, Scotland – Roza Salih was never on the sidelines.
She came to Glasgow cold and gray as a refugee, only 12 years old in 2001.
A few years later, Salih, along with a few classmates, launched a successful campaign to prevent their classmate from being deported with his family to Kosovo.
The group, dubbed the “Glasgow Girls”, gained attention by supporting Agnesa Murselaj and inspired the award-winning musical of the same name.
Today, at the age of 31, Salih, of Kurdish descent, is focused on political success.
She is campaigning for a seat in the Scottish Parliament elections of 6 May in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, but doing so during a global pandemic has not been easy.
“I use Twitter, Facebook and now I use TikTok,” the Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate told Al Jazeera.
“I am a very active person and enjoy talking to voters face-to-face, so it’s sad that I wasn’t able to do that and that my candidate’s quality hasn’t been shown.”
She joined the SNP in favor of Scottish independence in 2014, not long after the Scottish people voted relatively narrowly to stay in the UK in a referendum in September of that year.
A human rights campaigner and graduate of Glasgow’s Strathclyde University, Salih has long criticized the UK immigration system, an issue addressed by parliament in London.
“[Refugees] Coming [Britain] for their safety, and the systematic way of treating them really inhumane, ”she said, emphasizing the” cruelty “of detention, lock-change and deportation.
“So that’s what motivated me to become Scotland independent – that we can create a system of human dignity and human rights at the center of everything we do.”
Born in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region, which has long struggled to become a sovereign state-state, Salih is no stranger to the notion of independence.
She had a good relationship with her boss, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and even managed to catch up on her runway when the 50-year-old SNP leader stopped the near election. here in Glasgow.
Salih had been following Sturgeon for years, and at the age of 17, Salih even joined the veteran SNP politician for a week’s work experience.
Politics and law graduates are also passionate about Palestinian rights – “[they] she also has self-determination ”and she sees SNP favoring the European Union as an internationalist party rather than a nationalist group.
She is the so-called candidate for SNP in Glasgow, and if successful, she will be Scotland’s first former refugee elected to the Edinburgh-based parliament, established in Scottish capital in 1999.
Salih’s party hopes to win a majority of seats in the election, according to the Scottish Parliament’s mixed electoral system, which was achieved only once before by the SNP in 2011).
They want to force the hands of the Conservative Party of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to accept and approve the second independent poll.
At the very least, the vast majority of the candidates for independence, including those from the Scottish Green Party, are likely to be elected on May 6 at the expense of pro-Union opponents, according to the public opinion polls.
But given the choice between its own success and Scotland becoming an independent nation in the next four or five years, which would Salih choose?
“Independent of course,” she said, smiling. “Of course, I have hope to vote, but I think that independence is greater than anyone.”