This article was written a few months ago but its content is even more relevant after the Brexit vote and in the context of 57% increase in racist and hate attacks.
“Was this Britain? Every group of people I passed was speaking Russian. The shops were full of black bread, pickled cucumbers and vodka, the faces were Slavic”.
I could go on but I don’t want to scare you. It is not a work of science fiction either. This is the village of Boston and its green fenlands under ‘the English Heaven’ as described by Peter Hitchens of Daily Mail on 28 June 2013.
Many days have passed since Peter has published his post and he’s written many before and since. He won’t be intimidated by the ‘political correctness’. He goes straight to the point by showing us that whilst immigration had largely been tolerated for many decades – from the moment the migrants started settling in ‘little English Heavens’ – all jokes went out of the window.
But the biggest revelation came in his defence that ‘race’ clearly wasn’t a problem only that “their faces looked Slavic and their culture, language, customs, attitudes and sense of humour were different”- to the point that he felt helpless (“what if they did not understand the word Help if I was drowning”).
Peter knows what he is talking about – he had spent some years working in Moscow and could promptly distinguish the Cyrillic sings on the shops (or so he says) from the Latin alphabet even though he probably could not read it.
A few hypothetical questions left though (for the purposes of the cultural competence training):
- How many people has he passed that morning and how did he know they all spoke Russian. To a monolingual ear most Slavic languages tend to merge into one.
- Russian citizens are not coming an masse as EU migrants – am I missing something?
- Finally – what joke did he tell and to whom to conclude that sense of humour might pose a future integration challenge?
The full article below. Brexit or Noexit – will Britain finally accept that debate on migrants is also a debate on race and economics?
Since this article was published the Balkanist has published an open letter to Washington Post in which the issue of describing ‘Eastern Europe’ and ‘Eastern Europeans’ as a homogenised block with inferior culture. This was in reference to ‘culture of cheating’ at Eastern European educational institutions. See the link here: