24 August 2016

Love Thy Neighbour

A lot has been reported lately about cases of xenophobia and racist attacks that have been occurring in various parts of the country since the referendum result to leave the EU. I cannot condone that in any shape of form, especially as my father was himself a victim of racism in 1930s Nazi Germany and had to flee for his life to Britain in 1939. He married an English Land Girl and later was naturalised months before I was born, so strictly speaking, although I was born and bred here and consider myself to be nothing other than white Caucasian British, you could also say I am a second-generation immigrant.

I have mentioned before that I live in a small private cul-de-sac of 32 town houses in a suburb of London.  All the houses are the same and are grouped round a large communal field which is shared by all the residents for relaxation, large marquee parties, children to play etc. We have a residents' association which manages all communal aspects like gardening of the field, external painting of the houses at set intervals, repaving and lighting of the street to name a few things. I would say I know more than half of my neighbours personally. I don't know how many of you can say you know 16 sets of neighbours well and particularly in a big city like London. About half are British, the rest are a right old mix of nationalities. Off the top of my head I can count families from Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Croatia, Norway, India, Austria, Australia to name those I personally know. We all co-exist without any problems and invite one another's children to knock on our doors at Halloween or invite the grown ups too to attend birthday parties or other functions held on the communal area. In recent years we communally celebrated in the new Millennium and VE day. One of my neighbours once held her wedding reception in a marquee on the lawn and we were all invited. There are frequent kiddies' parties with bouncy castles or entertainers. Last week one of our neighbours, who has a had a lot of modernisation done on her house over the last 4 months), invited us all to a house-warming party as a thanks for our understanding about the noise, endless  skips and upheaval caused during that time. Again nationalities of all kinds mixed in to enjoy a lovely summer day together.

It therefore pains me to see that such hatred for foreigners has sprung supposedly from the  Brexit vote. You cannot blame Brexit for the hatred.There is always going to be vile people somewhere who use any opportunity to vent their spleen when they feel the moment is ripe. Just like Hitler did.


Flowerpot said...

I quite agree, Addy - racism is not acceptable in any form.

Maggie May said...

I love your description of where you live. Sounds lovely. It is similar in Bristol where we all seem to get along with each other and are well used to people from all over the world.

I find it is different in smaller towns and places where other races don't seem to mix.
Sometimes it's an insidious drip, drip of little things that build up into something much bigger and this seems to have got worse since Brexit.

*Love Thy Neighbour* is an important way....... in fact the only hope for our planet!
Maggie x

Valerie said...

All this hatred worries me. How did it start, and more importantly how will it end. I fear for the future.

K Ville said...

The brexit campaign whipped up a storm of racism and bigotry that made people feel it like it has now been legitimised and to a greater extent it has and it is re-enforced by racist tabloid headlines still feeding a populist fear. Only by lots of people constantly and actively calling it out every time it is seen will the tide start to turn again. And I fear few people are brave enough to do that.

John said...

Hi what a good and relevant post. Resonated with me. My mum was German but suffered persecution because her dad was mayor of a small town in Germany and in the 30's he refused to sign a declaration supporting Hitler which public officials had to do at that time. He went to prison for a while and the whole family were targeted. She met my dad who was in the British Army.They married . She lived in England from 1947 until her death in 2015, and her stories of the 30's and 40's were amazing. Despite the war my mum said that she never had anyone say anything nasty to her about being German whilst in England. That is something I feel proud about and it's such a shame that a narrow xenophobia is now rearing its head and making me feel not so proud to be British.