Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Misplaced



London is a city that prides itself in being the most multicultural in Europe. A place of tolerance,welcoming all regardless of their faith, race, sexual orientation, gender, etc.

This mantra is repeated daily by thousands of people, made into a subliminal marketing motto attracting every year scores of the brightest people in the world to that greedy, over-hyped, unbelievably expensive modern Babylon.

The cool words are "London is sooooooo diverse" or "vibrant" spoken as one of the characters in that anatomy of superficiality known as Made in Chelsea would pronounce them. 

Replace diverse by dirtyvibrant by noisytolerant by indifferent, and you are probably much closer to the truth.

Yes, many different communities live in London side by side, but do they interact? Do they communicate beyond those relationships with someone of a different nationality brought by the urge to leave for good that rented room in Peckham? Does anybody mention that having English friends is almost an impossible task?
All this uniform view of a tolerant city must be a bit shaken, to say the least, the first day one reads the first page of the Daily Mail (please no snob snub, it is always useful to know what the enemy thinks), or even more high-brow newspapers, where a daily stream of xenophobia is hardly concealed. Yes, even in holier-than-thou The Guardian.

The foreign-born population of London is estimated at almost 60%, yet EU immigrants are hardly visible in the British media except as cheats pocketing benefits to the detriment of the always honest British citizens, sorry taxpayers. Eastern Europeans are particularly targeted in ways that would not pale much against the worst days of the US South's white rule.

The brave, hard-working Poles, seem to be made into the scapegoat of everything that is going wrong in the UK, like if forbidding them to move to England was going to resuscitate the Empire overnight. We are sure ChopinWajda, KapuscinskiKieslowskiLem, or Potocki, among the many illustrious Polish who have contributed to Western culture do not deserve that treatment. We think that many British white trash living on benefits do.

Two true stories can serve as an example, and many more will come to these pages.

A married couple of EU citizens, university educated, and with reasonably good office jobs are in the Lindo wing of St. Mary's hospital, Paddington, London. Yes, that is the same you watch on the telly behind every newborn into the British Royal family. She is going to be operated as a private patient in a few minutes, and answers the last questions by a British nurse, when she made some misplaced remarks: where are you from?how long have you been living here?, you have an accent.., your husband's last name is not British either... Incidentally most of the staff did not have a British last name either... do not they have the right to be sick?

Now, this is hardly surprising when the same couple  two years before that story had to call an ambulance and the husband, while he was in the kitchen of their freezing flat wondering if her wife had a heart attack, was confronted about Gibraltar by one the paramedics present. Not the best timing, perhaps.

Diverse, tolerant, vibrant? Or dirty, noisy, and indifferent?  Your choice.

All Baron von Trotta recommends, if you are thinking about moving to London, is to make sure you first take the tube on peak time, and to check flat prices.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel", April 7, 1775, Dr. Samuel Johnson


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