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I pushed the red button

 Be against forced marriage not immigrants.

 Human sacrifice, forced marriage and clitorectomy; unacceptable in Surbiton.

If an Aztec, an Ancient Roman or a member of the Golden Horde was transported in time to Britain circa 2011-2, he might want to continue practicing his beliefs, however, and rightly so, there would be limits.  It might be a little difficult for him at first, but it would be easier for his children.

Fights to the death, human sacrifice, pillage, murder, clitorectomies, forced marriages and explosive martyrdom are definitely 'no nos' in the UK.

Early this year I had an 17 year old student who confided in me that her mother and father wanted her to marry her cousin, her mother's brother. The girl didn't want to, whereupon the mother took away her phone and computer. She told me that she was afraid she might get up one day and be told she would be on a flight out to Sri Lanka - suffering extraordinary rendition.

On the walls of the college I was teaching at (I am working elsewhere now.). are signs that say that forced marriage is rape and illegal, and the poster gives the numbers of the people to contact within the college. I worked closely with two of the people concerned, one of whom was my line manager. I alerted him, and convinced the girl to talk to him.

He talked to her and from then on I was out of the equation.

He came to me afterwards and said. We've been working on this all afternoon, and we can't do anything, but all I can say is that if anything happens there is a big red button we can push. He looked tired and I knew neither he nor my other colleague were getting paid for doing this extra work. British civil servants can be the salt of the earth.

Two days later the girl's younger sister came to see me. Just to say:t My sister won't be coming to your class today because she is flying off to Sri Lanka.

I pushed the red button.

My line manager nodded. Disappeared and I knew nothing more, except that two days later he popped by and said. She'll be coming to school tomorrow.

She did. She was pale - for a Sri Lankan - and looked exhausted, but I sensed happiness and relief. You look a little tired. I said and smiled. Anything happen last week?' No, nothing. she said. I am sure you'll do really well in your exams, see you in class. She went off.

My line manager never told me what happened story because of confidentiality and privacy. But when I asked:  Did they go round to her house and talk to her parents? He casually said. It was a little more dramatic than that.She was actually on the plane. It was a very complex multiagency operation. Everyone was involved, and don't worry, the parents don't know it was us, they think it was the airline. He couldn't say more.

Forced or coerced marriage is simply unacceptable here. It should be unacceptable everywhere. Ignore the argument that appeal to cultural relativism. Take young Bangladeshi girls and boys, plop them into Tomas Tallis; when they are older send them off to Tower Hamlets College, and you will get little Londoners. Nothing more.

Chain migration is a problem in Britain, it's true. You force your daughter to marry her cousin so that you can reunite your family in the UK and see your brother again. The family's well being is important of course. People migrate and make their contribution to the place they live in. The Sri Lankans have a hard time of it. When the Tamils came to the UK escaping a very real war and persecution they helped each other and built up little communities. In those closed communities the way women and children are treated might be seen to be a little problematic. But they adapt. Many Koreans for example, are accustomed to giving their children, especially boys,beatings, but in the UK they can no longer do this. Do they do it? Probably, Again the front line here is usually the school who alert the relevant authorities.

We all want to live in a fair society. Young people more so Let's call this ideal The City of God. We want to live in a place where each child is born equal and has the help they need to flourish equally and become a productive, well-adapted member of a productive, well-adapted nation, in a productive and well-adapted region of a productive and well-adapted world.

That's the ideal, anyway. Of course Britain is not that place: we have a two layer educational cake and all the icing is on the upper crust; the public schools have the resources. We do not really live in a meritocracy but a managed democracy. But still, many of us have been working to create a more human society a more politically correct equal opportunities meritocracy. Sometimes it shows. My former Tamil student can complete her course.

Luckily for her parents the courts in Britain are relatively tolerant of people who are still  adapting to life in the UK. They have committed a crime, kidnapping and aiding and abetting attempted rape and slavery, but will not be going to prison. A social worker will come round and visit to check that the young woman and her sisters and check that they are alright.

In their mid to late teens, and in their early twenties, the drive of young people is social adaptation. Ask people who have come to this country as immigrants and asylum seekers if they want to marry young. Unless they are deeply in love or very vulnerable and in the power of their parents, they will say they want to stay single until their mid-to-late twenties, or their thirties. Some of them might not even want to marry. Some of them might be gay, God forbid. Young people adapt to British social expectations.

It is, frankly, beautiful to see how quickly most Arab, Sri Lankan, Muslim, Korean, Chinese West African, Polish, Chinese ... children and young people see the benefits of the system of social equality in Britain almost immediately, a system that so many people in Britain, socialists, liberals and even enlightened Tories, have worked hard to make an important part of daily life. These young people seize the idea that they can achieve what they want to, probably, if they work very hard and many of them do engage. This is so inspiring. There is something so valuable in the social fabric of Britain so precious, and it isn't broken. It's the product of the work of teachers, civil servants, conscientious people from every walk of life who have a sense of fairness.

However, though we may have a comparatively egalitarian society, the immigration system doesn’t reflect this. It is shockingly unfair and irrational. A despicable system. I have had people say to me. We are not going to visit you because we have to fill in too many immigration forms. Now I am talking about people of means. The barriers for foreign students to come and study in the UK are too high. The barriers that the current and last UK government put up to people wanting to come and visit the UK from poorer countries.  And when they get here, for every ten British border guards who are alright, there is one who is a brute. Civil servants we should not admire.

In the The US, for example, the border control system is equally alienating, it has lost the US more friends and goodwill than all its recent wars combined. Everyone from the whole of Latin America, no matter how educated or patriotic or well off is frisked and treated like a criminal at the US border posts by very dumb and aggressive border guards.

Yes, stop forced marriages, but perhaps then reconsider the application to emigrate to the UK of the brother and family of the student whose story I told. Make it easier for people with family here to apply, but who live there, to apply. That would be human.

We don't hate British racists, we just want to stop them.

We don't hate British racists. We hate their ideas. The police in the US have a policy however. When they shoot someone about to carry out a crime they are not actually shooting them, they say they are stopping them from doing something bad. They are stopping the action.

When we jail and tag extremists we are just stopping them. When we act against British fascists we are confronting their ideas and their influence, we shouldn't hate them. Woody Guthrie's guitar said: This machine kills fascists. But fascism is just an idea in people's minds. Instead he should have written: This machine stops fascists. or This machine kills fascism.

The central concern of the British government should obviously not be for the well being of immigrants. It should be concern for the fully paid up, participating, tax paying citizens of Britain. However, it is a false dichotomy to say that the rights of immigrants detract from the rights of citizens. that is a false argument. That is the argument of racist scape-goaters. It is a discredited argument. It was discredited at the time of Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech.

The rights of citizens and immigrants are not directly in conflict. There are problematic elements there, but benefits too. To juxtapose them is to create an artificial argument just as Hitler did with the Jews.

Especially when often racists are not talking of foreigners at all but of people who are now British. Whether British people are of immigrant origin or not doesn't make them other, They are as British in law as you or I or Eels and Mash. When you attack British people of a different ethnic origin from your own you are still attacking British people and not foreigners. The point is that immigrants are British people once they have lived here long enough and once they arrive and adapt. The attacks on immigrant communities are attacks on British people that some other racist British people are defining as non British for their own purposes.

Hitler said that the Jews had what the Germans deserved, except that the Jews were Germans. But he took their property and persecuted them and killed them all the same. Most of the Jews made no distinction. They saw themselves as Germans or Austrians.

Remember that so many of our doctors now are the children of the Kenyan Gujarati refugees from Idi Amin's Uganda and Kenyatta's Kenya. Many of our mathematicians and scientists will come from the Sri Lankan community in future, they place such a high value on maths and science. Look at some of the people who write for newspapers in the UK or work for the BBC: children of immigrants. Sparky focused people doing very well in journalism because they deserve to be doing well. Now look at the media in France, Gernany, Italy and Spain. Yes, there is a lot of quality there but they lack a dimension our media has because we are - whether the racists like it or not - a fairer society.

The prototypical arguments of bigots are transparent. Here is an example of one such:

“A staggering 68% of all children born in Tower Hamlets are born to foreign mothers.That’s a lot of babies born into households where English is not the first (or even spoken) language. Subsequently, we have 448 000 children (according to the BBC) who go to primary school unable to speak English.”

Interpreting what the person here is saying, essentially he or she doesn't want any more 'foreign' babies. And that foreigners are reproducing like rabbits? And that the women who have the babies are not British. And that there are 448,000 babies born of foreign Bangladeshi women in Tower hamlets, few who will learn English.

Of  course these racist arguments are cobblers.

When times get tough then people look for scapegoats because they are powerless to confront the real causes of our condition, of our situation. What is the real cause of unemployment and relative poverty and inequality? It ain't the fault of the Bangladeshi baby, mate!

If I were ever presented with this false choice, I would choose to support the foreign baby before the bitter and twisted racist. I support the young people trying to live well and trustingly and adapt to a dynamic modern society, thank you very much and I detest Britain’s narrow minded racism. I detest the ideas of the racists who grew up in the 60s and 70s. The Pinky’s, the Skinheads and the Suedeheads.  I know them. I grew up with some of them. But society has chosen anyway. Just look around you. The racist ideas of certain old men and women aren't exactly the flavour of the month, the year or the last three decades.They have been unfriended, deselected.

The conflict between citizens who are and aren't of immigrant origin is an artificial conflict. We are all British and we are all in the same boat.  blaming the immigrants is a stupid game. I agree with people who say: The problem is segregation. We should do everything we can to overcome it.

Never underestimate people. Never underestimate the young. The young haven't quite been completely socialized into all the unfairness in their own culture, though they are probably blind to some of it. They are wild and riot, but at the same time they haven't quite joined the society they attack, and with good reason.

Before you join society you stand on the edge and look in and you may not like what you see. This could cause you to do a number of things. Step back into some personal abstraction of religion. Become a counter culture radical like the wonderful young Spanish indignados dancing in the main squares. Go out on marches like the British school children who were kettled and deprived of lavatory facilities and forced to stand on their feet for hours without water - standard torture techniques by the way.

Children and young people have a heightened sense of justice and fairness. The Lord of the Flies is about the corruption of innocence, not innocence itself. Thank God for young people who can step back and look before they leap or step into adulthood and society and say. I don't like what I see. I want to opt out of what I see. Or best of all, I want to change what I see.


This post first appeared on Donkeyshott & Xuitlacoche, please read the originial post: here

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