Nobody is at home. The first weekend of study leave for my school means that people have gone elsewhere for the weekend, to have the first taste of freedom. Mark’s school has had study leave for longer, and Stephen for instance is in Italy with his parents for their annual trek to Rome. Only Abbie is at home, and he’s facing demands to condemn the Woolwich murder, which is crazy.
Abbie has been quite dejected for a bit about that. He is raging about racism and injustice in the particularly eager way that he has, and I think he has a point. As a third generation British Citizen whose parents are about as religious as the average bloke on the street, Abbie and his kin are apparently being asked to protest and condemn atrocities committed by the lunatic fringe of his religion.
And of course you have organisations like the EDL and BNP and UKIP that even question his right to be in Britain, even though his parents and grandparents have paid taxes all their lives. When people look at me or Abbie, they see me as the Englishman – despite the fact that I’m a half-immigrant. When they see Abbie, they see someone non-British, simply because of his skin.
Abbie’s family is here mainly, as I understand it, because of the sins of the British Empire, and the ability of the citizens of its former colonies being able to come here and work. Even decades after Pakistan was born, and decades after the middle East was carved up by the Empire, his grandparents or great-grandparents abandoned their lives there and came to England for whatever reason. I’m not sure why. And now, in 2013 his place here is being questioned, while I am being accepted as a proper Englishman, by all. This simply because I look like everyone else.
The other day when he was out with his parents to do the shopping, some more dim members of the white public called names after them, and told them to go home to wherever they came from. And where is that? Croydon? Ealing? I’ve never been confronted thus, not like that. Yet they’d have more cause to challenge me than him.
I’m the half-bloody-foreigner in their midst, and I observe them, and I judge them. Particularly since nobody asks Christians to condemn things like the recently revealed regiment of torture and sexual assault at the Catholic boarding school Fort Augustus Abbey in Scotland. When it comes to atrocities like that, it’s about rogue elements doing bad deeds. When it comes to Muslims, it’s the lot of them doing it, and the whole group is pestered for condemnation. That is racist, and that is crazy.