Saturday, 2 July 2011

Dirty, Pretty Things

Rubber stamped rebellion

This is a section of society that is often marginalised and who face the greatest challenges in survival. Most of the time they are up against it and when they hit the bottom they either sink or swim. When they rise, they soar and crash through any glass ceiling. They triumph against seemingly unbeatable odds and success comes to those few who are prepared to take risks. Many an economic refugee has known the benefit of seeking his fortune in places other than his country of birth.

Emotional baggage
Successful immigrant stories abound but it is the less successful ones that impact our social landscape. Immigrants leave their developing societies to join the developed. They are exposed to democracy no less and  benefits are indubitably monetary. The problem with many immigrants (of the first generation) is that they arrive with an over-inflated ego – “since you invaded our country we’re invading yours.” This is the negative post-colonial baggage they disembark with. They are quick to regale you with stories of the atrocities that were committed by post colonial powers and the chip on their shoulder is as deep as the oceans they’ve traversed. The newly arrived diaspora have a long list of grievances and complaints about their treatment at the hands of  these“foreigners” oblivious to the fact that they have now signed up to be one of them. Moreover, they would kill for a permanent residency and to show off their “foreign” passport. 

Integration is challenging for them. Sometimes they are unable to converse in the native tongue and become zealous in their efforts to preserve their own, at the expense of advancement. Unwittingly they succeed in isolating themselves from the mainstream and become social misfits. They hang out with their own maladjusted kind and build themselves ghetto like communities in a bid to find home comforts. They abandon their ideas of  prosperity as bouts of home sickness assail them. They seek out their native food, places of worship, establish language centres , shops, restaurants and generally hanker after anything that reminds them of home. Home being the oppressive and unjust systems of government that they once fled.  Home, indeed, may be where the heart is but, for an immigrant, home is “wherever he lays his hat.” He is a self-confessed economic nomad. 

Soft target
Abuse is perhaps the hardest thing of all to deal with. Immigrants are often the perpetrators of financial, psychological, emotional and physical abuses. Recklessly they run up debts through a host of feckless business deals. Once they have made enough to build that palatial home in their native country they’ll  disappear leaving a trail of creditors and bailiffs in their wake. The ones who do remain, despite  burgeoning loans and arrears, claim hardship and allow the tax-payer to bear the burden. 

My other home's a 2 bedroom flat in Tower Hamlets
Their lives become a mere existence as they claim pension, disability and a host of other state allowances. If they are not sick, they will invent a disease that’s usually incurable. Their families live just above the poverty line and generosity is not a value they are quick to cultivate. Disgruntled from receiving money for no employment they abuse their spouses and children in every conceivable way. Gaze deeply into the eyes of their children and you will see a lack lustre spirit that has had the joy of childhood wrung out of it.  These are not happy homes and its the children who suffer most. 

The hope of any immigrant is to better themselves. Sadly it appears that many believe it is by foul not fair means. They are acutely aware of their human rights but not of the rights of the people of the host country they cheat. Their lips drip with lies, boasts and admonishments. They are right and everyone else is wrong. Their education is better and therefore their moral standing far superior.  They bring the worst aspects of their cultures and attempt to laud it over their integrated and progressed brethren. Stay clear of them; they are opportunists and confidence tricksters. Their words are pretty but their hearts are unclean. 

A big thumbs down
You are too good for them and I say that without conceit. 
You cannot live in their world because you don’t know the rules and, anyway, they won’t play by them. They will lure you into a cesspit of insecurity and deceitful notions. They need you far more than you’ll ever need them. Be gentle in your rebuff but get away -  far, far away.

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