Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Conflicts of Message

I cannot help wondering why there is so much “surprise” among liberals, the media, and the families of those who have gone off to indulge in a little ‘Holy War’ in Syria/Iraq. I am sure those who have been on TV and in the Press discussing the issues of how the children of immigrants, or the grandchildren in some cases, have turned their backs on Britain, or have become ‘disaffected’ by our society, are intelligent people. Unfortunately they seem to be totally blind to several, to my mind, very important points. 

First, let me be clear, I am an immigrant. I arrived in the UK at the age of 40 with a wife and three very young children. My wife and I were of British and European descent, but even so we were aware from the first of some very large cultural differences between what we had left and what we had now joined. We made a very definite decision to put aside everything we had known and embrace fully the ‘British’ way of doing things. It certainly wasn’t easy, and we had no safety net, no back-up of friends and relatives to lean on as we stumbled from one trip hazard to the next. But we survived. And our children are now adults, UK educated, UK integrated, and know no other ‘culture’. It hasn’t been easy for them either, but they have adapted and adjusted and that makes me very proud of them. 

This was why, when the cult of “Multi-Culty” first took off in the 1990s I wanted nothing to do with it. I predicted then, and I am now convinced I was right, that it would lead to division, conflict and tears. Consider this scenario; A family migrates from a non-European culture seeking better opportunities, better living standards, better education. They arrive, they find a home, employment and settle the children into schools - but they keep their own ‘culture’ at home. Immediately the children are isolated because they never have the chance to see how others live. Their parents continue to dress in the clothes they wore in the ‘old’ country, continue to speak the ‘old’ language (in some instances the mother is actively discouraged from learning English) and when they come home from school or work they eat the food of the ‘old’ country, speak the language and dress as they did there. Yet, as one young woman in this position candidly told the BBC, when she went ‘home’ on a visit to her parent’s family, she was treated as a stranger, a non-member of that community and told she was not of that ‘people’ any longer. 

But, back in the UK, she is told she is, or that though she lives in Britain, is British, has been educated and raised in Britain, she must keep her ‘cultural roots’ and practice her own culture, not the British one. As she remarked, she has a sense of no longer belonging anywhere, so why are we surprised when the children of immigrants feel they have no identity with the country that has educated, housed, fed and employed them? I assume the well intentioned injunction to ‘keep your own ethnicity, culture, etc.’, mantra was supposed to make them feel at home, but it has had the opposite effect in fact. How can I be British if I wear clothes more suited to the deserts of Arabia or the Indian sub-continent? How can I be British when I go home and have to speak a language from the Middle East or somewhere else because my parents haven’t learned to speak English?

Several commentators have in recent days held forth at some length on the subject of why these young men might have become ‘disillusioned’ with Western society. Some blame ‘British Culture’ for the alienation, one gave the excuse that ‘Britons have failed to understand the other cultures in our midst’. It seems the promoters of ‘Multi-culturalism’ simply cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that many of these recent immigrant cultures are at complete odds with our own, and the stress created by trying to maintain one which clashes on almost everything ‘British’ is bound to cause a problem. It is interesting that some of the parents involved appeared on television in the clothing of their homelands, not in what might be considered ‘Western’ dress. If, at home, the children have been encouraged to think of themselves as belonging to a different society to the one they are living in, why are their parents surprised that the children don’t respect the culture they live in?

Changing countries is not easy, and there is always a danger of handing down to the next generation an idyllic picture of ‘the Old Country’. The danger is that the next generation then develop that mythology - an example would be the idea that in a society ruled by Sharia Law would be a better regulated society, women would be in the home, behaving modestly, family honour would be protected, girls would do as they were told, and so on. Then they are faced with the reality of modern Britain. Morals are not those taught in the Quran, Sharia Law is not recognised, the majority of people either have no faith, or are Dhimmi’, women are allowed to do as they please and religion does not govern peoples’ lives. It certainly doesn’t take much persuasion to convince gullible young men to campaign for a ‘Religious State’ and the imposition of the idyllic society their parents have projected.

Add to this the officially promoted kowtow to every demand for these minority immigrant groups at ‘official’ level, which is resented and resisted at street level, and you have a youth which feels it does not belong. Their roots are not British, at home they do not experience ‘British’ home life, and they don’t fully experience what might be called ‘British life’ at all. Nor do they want to. They don’t go to Pubs with their ‘mates’, they don’t go ‘Clubbing’ with their girlfriends (officially at least), and tend to form friendships only with those from their own background and culture. So why do they stay?

A cynic might say that it is because they would find it difficult to survive if they went back to the ‘Old Country’. They might not get the Income Support, Housing Benefit or whatever, and they would certainly not enjoy the freedom they currently have, or the access to health care, education and leisure. Plus, they would find themselves to be strangers in a land not quite what they had been led to expect.

The lady commentator from a Pakistani background touched on a part of it when she said that when she visits Pakistan, she is definitely not regarded as anything other than someone from Britain, and not a Pakistani. If you were born in Britain, you are, at least in legal terms, British, and not whatever your parents ethnic background might be. But that also creates a conflict. 

The cultural conflict is not one we have had to face before this. I am frequently told that Britain is the ‘great melting pot’. That previous waves of immigrants have settled, retained their unique cultures and integrated. Oops, there’s the problem. Integrated. Those earlier waves of immigrants came from European cultures. The early Brythic peoples were followed by the Celts, the Gaels, the Romans, the Angles, Jutes, Saxons, Danes, Normans - and later the ‘quiet’ invasions, the Flemish, the French Huguenots, European Jews, Dutch, Polish, and others - all from Europe. They settled, they integrated, spoke English, dressed as we do, accepted British law, the authority of our courts, Parliament and so on. 

With Multi-culturalism, that is not happening. In fact it is being promoted as a bad thing to happen. So why are we surprised that we now have the children of immigrants who have a golden mythological vision of the society their parents left; a disaffection for the British culture and heritage (which they are constantly told isn’t theirs), and a burning desire to make it change to their vision of Utopia?

We reap what we sow. Unfortunately, those who sowed the seeds of “Multi-Culti” refuse to accept responsibility for the harvest we must all now reap. 

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