“They’re going to vote leave”- my partner said, for many weeks leading up to this historic day. I was adamant he was wrong. We are the United Kingdom, surely united we will stay?
So, I woke up last Friday morning, eager to see what Britain had decided. I turned on the TV, I saw the vote -Britain have voted to LEAVE the European Union. I CRIED.
I cried. For a nation that (I believe) voted on the back of fear and hatred in their hearts, for a small minority of people that may have come into the country and claimed on our benefit system, used our NHS resources and “sponged of the government”, without any attempt to better themselves or contribute to the country. Not true of all!
I cried. When thinking of the stories my Grandad parents told, of coming the England 50 years before, and being ostracised. They too where told to “go back to their own countries”, they “were not welcome”. They were “Taking all our Jobs”. Why does this sound so much like a history book repeating itself?
As much as people may try to deny it, the vote ultimately turned into a way of showing hatred towards other nations, nationalities, races and religions. To inwardly tell the Europeans and maybe even Muslims (religion not nationality!), they were not welcome here anymore, to “claim” our country back, to not let in anymore refugees. Surely, anyone with multi-cultural and ethnic friends realise somewhere down the line their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents were once refugees and immigrants too? How do we really differentiate between the immigrants of the past and the ones that enter our country now? If every immigrant or descendants of immigrants that has entered Britain over the many decades decided to go back to the homes of their forefathers, they’d be very few people left in Britain. My grandparents where Caribbean immigrants. Whilst, they may have British citizenship and British passports, ultimately, they are still immigrants, no matter which way you want to look at it. I struggle to understand how people feel they can truly differentiate between, the immigrants of the past and those that wish to reside in Britain now.
“How do we really differentiate between the immigrants of the past and the ones that enter our country now? “
I was speaking to a friend (she voted remain), who was having trouble with a friends view (voted leave). The friends reasoning “she didn’t think it’d actually happen!”. If that’s not a cause for concern in a what was united and I thought, intelligent society then I don’t know what is.
I cried. For the uncertain futures of the next generation of children living with the decision made by many, for the children I’ve yet to bare. The ones who will be fourth generation Caribbean’s, (possibly British born), with a British-Slovak heritage. Who may struggle to identify with either nationality. With a British-born, Caribbean Mother and a Slovak-born Father. Where will they “fit in” to a country who decided to “claim their country back”.
I cried. For my own uncertainty. Stepping into the unknown. I am British-born yes, but have ALWAYS identified with my Caribbean ROOTS. My heritage is not, nor ever will be, British. My heritage is Caribbean. My nationality is British.
I live in – what was until recently – a United Kingdom. Do I want to live in a country where society dictates which nationalities can unite with us? It started with the Blacks, then the Irish, then the Poles. All of which at one time or another helped the “British” fight in wars and as such were given leave to remain in “their country”. A memory which seems now, so short lived. I listened to a leave voter on the News last week, talk about “keeping the Turks out”. When did this referendum stop being about being hard done by EU policies and making our own rules and become about nationalities and not “letting people in”?
I have never truly identified myself as being “British”, I guess it depends how the individual defines that word, but rather just a member of the “United” Kingdom and European. The UK is still currently a part of Europe. I feel I am beginning the grieving process of a nation that was united once with Europe. Who talked of a multi-culturalism and diversity between the many different nationalities we encounter (I encounter) on a daily basis.
I know the leave campaigners voted on the NHS budget and other topics that, truthfully I never looked into, for me remain was a no brainer from an economy point of view and a love of a multi cultural society, that I could see was slowly being torn apart and divided into an “us and them” apartheid-esque nation before voting had even begun.
Yes, the influx of immigrants from Europe and maybe the News of Syrian refugees making their way to Europe and perhaps onto Britain, had some running for the hills and screaming that there is already such a strain on our resources. Whilst that may be true, when did we start running the gauntlet again for picking and choosing who we welcomed with open arms and who we shunned? I am from a culture, where at home your door is always open, you cook a pot of food and whoever comes around unannounced is always welcomed -you made it stretch, they became a part of your family.
So, I have felt at a loss this past week. I listened to a man this week, (albeit drunk) shouting at every Asian, Black and European speaker in the street to “go back to your own country”. Some of which were teenagers or young 20-somethings. Likely to have been “Made in Britain”.
I myself had to endure a man chanting “England, England” at me as I tried to do my supermarket shop. Asking his year old son if he could say “referendum” whilst smirking at me in a ‘you’ll be leaving soon, manner.’ I was Made in Britain. This country is all I’ve ever known; and yet I have never felt so disillusioned from the people that surround me.
” Go back to your own country”. They were “Made in Britain”.
So I sit here one week on, still mopping up my metaphorical (some real), tears for a Britain I was born into. A Britain who once again voted against being welcoming, against a world backing love, tolerance and acceptance for others. A Britain who in the end, ultimately voted with fear and hatred in their hearts-rather than thinking about the socio or economic effects their decisions will have on the generation of people becoming 30-somethings, the younger generations and the generations yet to exist. I am sorry, but I feel this time you voted wrong. You voted to take us back into the dark ages of ignorance against anyone different. You wanted an (as Farage put it) “ordinary and decent country, for ordinary and decent people”, but for me their is nothing decent about the way this panned out. The unnecessary race incited views that had no place in this referendum.
I fear that Britain has now taken one gigantic step back for humanity. A great leap forward for all the hatred that has no place in God’s Kingdom. Some may have felt they have taken their Christian country back. There was nothing Christian in my eyes, that I have seen in my streets this week.
I will likely cry some more for a Britain that is broken and divided, not just between ethnic minorities, nationalities and Caucasians. But for those who voted leave vs. remain. I am at best, trying to scramble for the light at the end of this very dark and unknown tunnel. I fear that the future generations; will be trying to climb out of the very deep hole that is being dug for their futures. I feel we are not yet out of the woods of adversity yet.
So now begins the start of a very different United Kingdom. I can only hope that something positive can immerge from this separation and that it doesn’t lead to more separations, not just within the United Kingdom as a whole, or as a nation or world, but between the British born that may feel Britain to them is about an ugly White -supremacy view of the world vs. decent moral Caucasians who see past all of that hatred and have hearts of love and understand of other cultures, religions and races. Between ethnic minorities vs. white majorities, regardless of whether you where Made in Britain of not. Let’s just hope the segregation stops here. Otherwise, I am fearful of becoming the apartheid-esque nation of bygone years.
Yes I am British-born. But I have never felt so Un-British and unwelcome as I feel right now.