The last few weeks have been incredibly shocking for myself as a British citizen. The EU referendum results have left everyone reeling and emotions are running high. Whilst I do not want to be drawn into the politics of either camp, one thing that I will speak out about is the incredibly horrifying racist attacks that have taken place since the result was announced. All over the country, race crime is being reported, as community centres, individuals and entire ethnic groups have been verbally abused and worse!
I can’t explain to you how upsetting this has been for me and basically all decent human beings who have functioning moral compass!
I was near tears as I watched a former soldier being abused by some unruly teenagers on a tram in Manchester, being told to get out of the country and having beer hurled at him on a crowded carriage! This gentleman remained calm and did not retaliate to this disgusting and vile attack, when many others would have. Another story that broke my heart, was about an elderly German lady in Chester, who had had excrement hurled and her door and suffered unspeakable abuse. This poor woman, who has lived in the UK since the 70s, has not left her house in 3 days because she was too afraid!! What kind of country have we become if our citizens are too afraid to leave their homes in case they are racially abused in their own neighbourhoods!!
I have spoken to friends and family, many of whom were born in the UK, but have non-white origins who claim that they are afraid when they travel alone, looking around nervously on trains and buses, hoping to see other foreign faces that might be allies if they are targeted by racists!
I have also read about the safety pin campaign that is gathering momentum, an American living in London started the movement on twitter, suggesting that people wear a safety pin to show their solidarity with immigrants. To show people that you are someone they can sit next to on a train, or a bus stop without fear of abuse or intolerance. It is a simple symbol, cheap and easy to obtain, without any affiliations to any political parties, but it lets people know that you are a friend not a foe.
I think it is an incredible idea, but it saddens me greatly that it has come to this. We shouldn’t have to look out for allies when we are out and about, we shouldn’t have to hope that we can go to the shops to buy some bread without people being told to “F**K off out of the country”!
There are no excuses for the disgusting, despicable, behaviour that we have seen in this country over the last few days and it is plain to see that there is something very, very wrong with our society. I can but hope that these horrible rifts that are appearing will heal soon and I urge all residents to show some compassion to their fellow man and stop this madness.