Monthly Archives: November 2016
N’oublies jamais tes racines, elles représentent ce que tu es. (Never forget your roots, they represent what you are.)
As a child, my parents took me and my sister away on numerous holidays to France. I guess it was far more convenient to go there, as we could be at the port of Dover in the hour travelling from London. It wouldn’t be long before we were on the Sally Line ferry and enjoying the play-zone, watching Tom & Jerry and playing with new friends before finally arriving to the smell of fish in Calais.
We have traveled all over France. We’ve been to Brittany, Montpellier, Soissons, La Rochelle, Toulouse and too many other places to name. Even as an adult, I have visited Paris and Arras, and we’ve kept the family tradition alive as I have taken my children away to France by following my dad but in my own car.
The French were always full of compassion and hospitality. Always happy to point us in the right direction if we were lost, or throw in the odd free drink or desert when we ate at restaurants. Wherever we travelled; north, south, east or west, we never fell short of gaining a new friend. We were never made to feel like aliens or foreigners, and I guess that’s why France has always felt like a second home to me.
However, something peculiar always stood out to me as a child and I never really understood or made sense of what it meant at the time. I used to see “Le Pen” graffitied across motorway bridges (mainly when we travelled in the north west region). It made absolutely no sense to me, but it’s a memory that has always stuck with me.
As an adult, I now know what that graffiti meant. Thinking about it, it’s a message that has always been there. A subconscious message. It was powerless message back then, but today it is a message that is starting to grow wider. In retrospect, it was a long con and now that it’s starting to pay off, it’s so sad to see.
When the terrorist attacks took place in Paris last year, the whole world mourned, but they mourned more so for Paris than they did for other places in the world. It had nothing to do with the fact that many French people are white, but because to many France are a symbol of peace.
The French are by no means angels. They are not innocent of their involvement of imperialism and war throughout history. To be fair and to some extent, everyone has blood on their hands. However, the French are progressives that have established and helped build alliances in Europe through the means of Treaties.
When the U.K. and the United States are leaning to the right of politics, the last thing one wants to see is France lose its rationale by ending up down a similar path. There is currently a war of ideas, and France is a stronghold for liberals and progressives on the left. Should the right capture France, then western civilisation will have regressed and all progression would have been for nothing.
I agree, people are fed up of the establishment and they are desperate for change. But as desperate as we are, we should not allow our despair to lead us into madness. The day that any Le Pen rules France, will be the day that I return to that same bridge in France and write RIP Liberté, égalité, fraternité.
Remembrance Sunday is always emotional. In a hotel in Folkestone this weekend, they held a function dinner for ex-military, and seeing them all in their uniforms and wearing their medals commanded both sadness and respect. Sadness for those fallen, and respect for those still here with us.
Seeing them reminded me exactly how important they were and still are; how significant to our shared history they are; how they had less than we have today and yet still the many liberties we are fortunate to have today, are because of them as they sacrificed and gave up things so that we could have them.
They were arguably one of the bravest generations of men and women to walk the planet, and yet they all came from different walks of life, and they all converged in order to defend a valuable set of common interests. Those being, to oppose fascism and fight for the rights of the marginalised, minorities and those considered weak or vulnerable, so that none can be intimidated, bullied or killed simply for being different.
We wear the poppy with pride for our fallen, our survivors and for the values they fought listed above. Yet despite the right wing propaganda machine circulating their nonsense that liberals are against the poppy, I could not be prouder to wear one. This doesn’t mean that I supported the war in Iraq or agree with western foreign policy, but it’s because I believe that we should remember our dead, and the poppy signifies the remembrance in them and our common values.
What ruins this memory are the flaws in right wing ideology that many are advocating, promoting and supporting today. I know I’m always banging on about the right wing, I know it might get jarring, but I only do so because there are so many contradictions, and such contradictions need to be surfaced so that men and women who buy into such degrading values, can rethink what they have bought into.
If we can agree, both on the left and the right, that many gave up everything for us, all so that we could have the freedoms we have today, and that Churchill was right when he said, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”, then why do the right wing possess so much passion for this yet wish to deprive others of having the same right to live in liberty and to honour their fallen?
Why is it that blacks are forever told to “get over slavery” and the right wing insist that it shouldn’t matter to them because it wasn’t done by us and it never happened to them? Why are the right forever complaining by saying that black people don’t need a month to be reminded of their history, yet if someone is not wearing a poppy, it means betrayal and treason of ours?
I think that everyone should live by three things. 1. We all should remember our fallen. 2. We all should do everything to enable the freedom of others as our investment in their freedoms are an investment in our own and 3. We shouldn’t tell others they can’t have one thing yet at the same time defend our right to have just that. It is contradicting and promotes one rule for one and another for everyone else. This is not what our ancestors died for and actually represents the biggest form of disrespect to their memory. Those in support of right wing politics should acknowledge this, reflect and improve their line of thinking. They fought against fascism, not for us to become fascists ourselves.
I’m honestly trying to remain calm and collected, but the truth of the matter is that it is the right, not liberals or the left, who have created the mess we are in now, and rather than label them with “buzz words” please let me explain why.
The right argue that liberals and the left should be responding to recent election results with acceptance and decorum. Although, I actually fundamentally agree that all democratic elections regardless of outcome should be accepted, I can also understand why liberals and the left are dishing out a ‘taste of their own medicine’.
Many who have supported Brexit, Trump or both have something in common. They have both complained of having “buzz words” thrown in their faces rather than them being understood. They wanted their ignorant views tolerated despite them not wanting to tolerate others. However, what’s happening to them now is a backlash of their original doings.
Prior to ‘buzz words’ and labels such as “racist”, “xenophobic”, “sexist” etc we had buzz words from the right to describe the liberal left such as “foreign lovers”, “tree huggers”, “politically correct”, “lefty scum”, “swamp dwellers” and the list goes on.
There are very good and justifiable reasons as to why words such as “racist”, “xenophobic” and “sexist” are being used to describe the person either using or supporting others who are saying racist, xenophobic or sexist things. Throughout history and even hitherto, to this very day, there has been a plethora of discriminative policies and legislation that has enabled the subjugation of people and also encouraged acts of violence towards minorities whether that be being black, foreign, women or LGBT etc
However, when the right use words such as “foreign lovers”, “tree huggers”, “politically correct”, “lefty scum”, “swamp dwellers” etc. They are not calling out policies or legislation that has resulted in discrimination towards them, they are simply using these “buzz words” to attack someone for defending a minority to whom they support being attacked.
There is a hypocrisy on the right, and both liberals and lefts should not self-blame for recent electoral losses. This is not to say that there aren’t lessons to be learned and improvements to be made, but the liberal left should not have to appease the right nor should they regret calling out their racism when they were being racist, sexist or xenophobic etc.
The other hypocrisy is they were the ones who originally said that if they lost, wether that be Brexit or the American Presidency, that they wouldn’t accept the result, and they also went on to say that if they lost, it would mean the elections were rigged and they wouldn’t stand for it. Their words! Now they are getting a taste of their own medicine and they can’t stand it but indeed they started it.
They voted for a Conservative Party, for Brexit and for Donald Trump. Liberals and the Left are not responsible for the rise of the right for they have read between the lines, called out their fear-mongering and lies, they tried to educate those in support of the right and yet it was the left and liberals who were the ones originally shut down and dismissed with “buzz words” by those supporting Brexit and Trump. Yet now the right have won, they have been lied to and it’s now they want to have the debate and to work together?
The duty of liberals and the left should now be to stand firmly against discriminative policies that will directly or indirectly lead to the pain and suffering of others. Both right wing governments and leaders need to be held to account. It’s quite bizarre how the disillusioned, anti-establishment, working class have been saying for many years how they are fed up of lying politicians who are “all the same” yet when politicians such as Farage, Trump and Boris Johnson use fear tactics to win, and once their pre-election promises are proved to have been lies all along, their supporters still carry on to support them.
It makes one think of all the hell they gave Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, who actually never so much went back on their promise or lied, but was blocked from delivering some of their promises by a Tory party that later went on to win a majority government by gaining the support of those who complained about liberals betraying the public. Just look at who’s been betrayed and lied to now and at what cost? There is an old saying, that being, what goes around, surely must come around.