© Agnes Sam 2016
(Agnes Sam is a British subject who was born in South Africa. She is the great grand-daughter of Indians who were brought to Natal as Indentured Labourers and who were imprisoned with Mahatma Gandhi when he developed the method known as Satyagraha in South Africa. Her grandfather is an English speaking European. She is a Roman Catholic. Her home is in Heslington Village in England. Her work is published by the Women’s Press (London) and Heinemann African Writers Series (Oxford).)
Our elected Members of Parliament are NOT to blame for the hatred corroding and dividing our country. Nor are they the source of this hate. As I’ve said earlier, Members of Parliament are our servants. Our MPs like our servants carry our messages to the Commons for debate. They may hold views opposed to ours, but they put our views across in the debates in Parliament.
Members of Parliament have created friendships, fallen in love, and married across party lines.
We are the source of the hate eroding our country. It is an ordinary member of the public who is ‘alleged’ (I cannot say more than ‘alleged’ until it is proven) to have brutally murdered our MP Jo Cox.
We introduced the trilogy ‘Immigration’ ‘Jobs’ ‘Housing’ into the debate. We dug the well. We drink the water. We water the roots of the next generation with our prejudices and fears. The confident generations that preceded us were explorers, inventors, pilots, bridge builders, across water and between people, and honest trades men and women. Their achievements overshadowed the prejudices and fears they may have had. Many colonialists married across racial, religious and social lines.
The MP (I know his name) who made the ‘rivers of blood’ speech was a prophet of this hatred we now see. Having made that prediction I understand he is the man who brought Indian doctors into this country. The lyrics ‘Get back to where you once came from’ sprung from ordinary lads. The expressions NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), ‘Born and Bred’, ‘Jobs for Britons’ etc. reflect our prejudices. Our MP’s are conveying our fears to the Commons.
At this tragic moment in our history of democracy we should step back and ask ourselves discomfiting questions:
1. Is our country divided into ghettos and green, green fields?
2. Are the green green fields no go areas for people of colour? Do we ever see people of colour, with different textured hair, hiking in the countryside? Visiting open gardens? Flower shows? At the beaches in Scarborough? Bridlington? On one of Wainwrights walks? A family on a train journey to the Lakes? Visiting a farm? Or are these places out of bounds for them?
3. The lovers who marry across colour, do we accept the person of colour? Their families? And their children? Do we understand what their children confront at school if we are prejudiced and we water our children’s roots with our prejudices and fears?
4. Are we like the journalist who confessed in old age that he had never spoken to an African, African Caribbean, or Asian? Do we nod, greet, or know that person of another colour who crept in and lives amongst us?
5. Do we conduct our business ethically? Do we overprice our services for people of another colour?
6. Do we consider the person with dual nationality to have lesser rights than those ‘born and bred’ here?
7. Whether Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, of no faith, can we make room for – not even love – just a sense of shared humanity – for those we know nothing about – and begin to cross religious, political, social lines and consider the values we should be sharing in a humanist manner?
© Agnes Sam 2016