Monday, 20 April 2015

I am an immigrant.....

If you have been on the London Underground recently you may have seen posters with this title. The individuals featured are not actors or models but immigrants stating simply how they have contributed to our society.

This poster campaign has been launched by a campaign called No Xenophobia as an antidote to the hype and hysteria being generated during the current election campaign.  We are not alone – people are being murdered in South Africa because they are from outside South Africa (black not white) with riots in the streets, refugee camps being set up and even the Prime Minister finally saying something.

There is a natural tendency for “us” and “them” and it extends through nationality, skin colour, religion to football teams!  It is when this tendency becomes xenophobia – an unreasonable fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners or of that which is foreign or strange – that the trouble starts.

Firstly here is my personal experience over the past couple of weeks. The following people were not born here – not all immigrants some are EU citizens working here: GP, nurse, the audiologist, person who took my blood at the hospital; dentist, dental nurse, waiting staff in every restaurant/coffee bar I have eaten in; mini-cab driver; cleaner, gardener, window cleaner, postman; post office counter staff – the list goes on – just too boring to list any more.

Secondly, I am an immigrant. I didn’t grow up or receive my education here.  I have worked almost my entire adult life (and still some) paid taxes, National Insurance, created jobs, with wonderful colleagues raised and invested millions of pounds into breast cancer research; raised two children who are now paying taxes ....  that’s what immigrants do. I have never drawn benefits for unemployment but I have benefited from the NHS, the public library, I draw a state pension into which I paid, I received child benefit when my children were small and many other “benefits” available to all.

So the next time you moan about immigrants – I am an immigrant! 

PS  This is what an immigrant looks like - yes, I snaffled one of those as well.

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