Monday, 27 June 2016

In praise of immigrants

Immigrants in Britain have been suffering abuse and harassment in the days following the notorious Brexit vote. By immigrants I mean anyone who the psychotic xenophobic shit-heads have decided does not belong in the UK. Which means: unless you have pasty white skin that goes blistering red after fifteen minutes in the feeble English sun, you are at risk of being identified as “an immigrant”. But the waves of intolerance and hatred extend well beyond those whose bodies reflect light at unwelcome wavelengths. Anyone who is an actual immigrant feels suddenly unwelcome, too. It doesn’t matter whether you are poor with no skills beyond ambition and tenacity, or well-off and well-educated and propping up local deficiencies. It doesn’t matter whether you are at risk of being evicted post-Brexit, or are legally allowed to remain. It doesn’t matter whether your family arrived one generation ago, or you arrived last week and were only expecting to be here for two years. Whatever the case: you do not feel welcome. 

To all immigrants under all of these definitions, I say: Fear Not. So long as the louts do not kill you (no small assumption), you will be fine. It is the British who will lose. 

Think of those thugs who have been roaming the streets. They are losers. Granted, they may have had the potential to be kind, optimistic, hard-working, well-educated citizens, and their current animal behaviour is due only to the shitty living conditions they have been subjected to all their lives, to the poor education they have been given, and to rabble-rousing lies from unscrupulously ambitious politicians. It is true that we should not only pity them, but feel some of their anger on their behalf at the despicable creatures they have been turned into. But the fact remains: they are lost. They are festering in misery, and they will stay there their entire lives. Someone may fund a social programme to help them out, and good luck to them, but we can be sure the success rate will be low. They are lost, and they are so incensed because they know it. 

You, dear immigrant, do not have that problem. You are here because you have the foresight, the initiative, and the guts to spot a bad situation and get the hell out and go somewhere better and work like crazy to make your life better. That is rare. It is not only the low-lifes in the UK who lack those powers. Most of the population does — even among the highest achievers and the most powerful. Just look at the politicians. You may ask in disbelief: are these really the best politicians they could find? Yes, apparently they are. 

You have probably experienced that sense of disbelief many times before. At school, when the locals decided who were the best and brightest amongst themselves, why was it that only a handful impressed you? It didn’t seem to make sense. Why did so many of them seem to be so lacking in ambition and so limited in their imaginations? Faced with obstacles and disappointments, why was whinging their most practical response? Why did they work so little and drink so much? Surely they couldn’t possibly be nearly as mediocre as they seemed? 

Yes, they were.  

This is not limited to the UK. If you decide to flee this sinking island, you will find the same everywhere. You will again be astounded by the lack of drive and vision around you. The people who have shown the initiative and courage to move home, whether with enthusiasm or aching regret, are always a crowd above the rest. In the modern world it is the immigrants who make a place great. It is the immigrants, with a fresh perspective and nothing to lose, who take the risks needed to make vast changes, to fix what no-one realised was broken, and to hatch the wildest and grandest new ideas. Great things can be achieved by anyone, but if you are an immigrant, the odds are well in your favour. 

If you are an immigrant, then you are the future. You will live a rich and fulfilling life, and you will make your adopted home a far better place. If this Brexit nonsense prevails, then that place may not be Britain. Too bad. That will not be your loss, but theirs’. 

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