Mohamed. I find the story of the teacher, the little Islamic boy and the teddy, totally incongruous, by being made highly political. The boy is probably a 1st or 2nd generation immigrant. The teacher is clearly a political innocent, dedicated to teaching and wants to interest her class in her experiences in the Middle East. It is a story of love, the love of a young woman for her profession and her charges, the love of the children for their teacher and their affection for their friend by naming the bear after him. Ironically, if we had no immigration the opportunity of making an international incident, and seriously stressing a kind woman would never have arisen. As to blasphemy, probably one of the most religious countries, Ireland, hears profanity in all quarters, from multi-conditional exclamations like, ‘Jesus Mary and Joseph,’ or perhaps to ‘kick the bejasus out of them, to the common English phrase, ‘Jesus Christ.’or just ‘Jesus!’. I do not seriously believe the Islamic international representatives have no knowledge of just how rife blasphemy is in the Christian world. They must realise that to us it is just a Christian name like any other in an everyday context. Not a heinous crime with a strong possibility of being punished by lashing.
Nationalism. I know it’s laughable, but I have only just realised that for 65 years I have been a government sponsored immigrant, sent here to Ulster in the Navy and staying here. Now I do, things fall into place, my English accent, although modified, is still remarked upon. You may know you are with them, but don’t kid yourself you’ll ever be one of them. This doesn’t stop me feeling an overall nationalistic adherence to the United Kingdom. In my mind it is Britain, which, technically it ain’t, but should be for the British, run by the British. Those who come here should abide by our culture, meld with it, not try to reform it in their likeness, or in their specific interests, or indeed underline their own nationalism and beliefs demonstrably. Many of us resent the loss or the dilution of our own culture, even to the point where legislation is introduced to stress the differential between us. In making comment a crime, in some circumstances, racialism becomes rife, even if not acted upon. When we are told immigrants are here to provide much needed labour, which we interpret as cheap labour, an excuse for paying low wages to enrich a few – short term – at the expense of the majority in the long term, we find streets peppered with beggars from abroad, people who are either here illegally, or here to fill a job but are unemployed. Why are they still here? There presence is an incitement to some for resentment if not racialism. We are told our social services and our housing are under threat by this influx, if so, why is it not stopped and to Hell with the EU. Other countries manage to slither round or ignore the EU Directives, why can’t we? Indeed, why do so many, especially politicians, want us to lead the world, when we seem unable to keep our domestic affairs in order?
I only come across immigrants in the DHSS, shops, on the telephone, and even of course the beggars in this outpost of Europe! My problem is I can’t understand what they say. The number of times I have had to put down the phone, ask for several repetitions or walk away to seek another cashier is growing exponentially, and I am beginning to feel like a stranger in my adopted corner of my own land.