AUX ARMES, MY ENGLISH CHUMS!!!
From another FACEBOOK thread where I continue to be derided by the English for my complaints against their society:
Nicolas Papaconstantinou and Sarah Gillespie: thank you for your comments and for your critical engagement with the issues that I have raised. I assure you that my intention is not to target individuals (except for David Kirke, who will shortly be arrested for his verbal assault and inctiement to race crime by the Thamses Valley police), but to raise the bigger issue of English identity and the values and traits that are indentified by the ‘English’ with that identity. In virtually shamless mimicry of Gilad Atzmon and his dissection of ‘Jewish’ identity, I have turned his same lens on a self-indentifying, rich, powerful and militarily aggressive ‘English’ government and its supporters and apologists for instituting not only their abuse on other nationalities but on themselves. As my father once told me, the category of people that the German fascists abused and oppressed and murdered more than any other, more than Jews, trade unionists, homosexuals, communists, slavs, gypsies, the disabled or the mentally impaired was the German people themselves.
No, the English are not comparable to the Nazis, in spite of the well documented support members of the Royal Family and the English artistocracy gave the Nazis; the English people fought the Nazis and defeated them and liberated the ‘Jewish’ people from the camps. My argument is (if I may so arrogantly suggest), more subtle than that.
I am talking about common cause. We are all subject to the same oppression by the powers-that-be on us both socially and psychologically, in the insipid use of nationalism and national identity to undermine our confidence in our own truth and alienate each of us from each other.
Sarah, you know that I have an English daughter who is proud of her English heritage as well as proud of her father who challanges the misapporpriation by cynical means, the identity of that heritage. In tackling the evidence of racism that has been dumped (like a dog that has lost its own bowel control), on my doorstep, not once but on 4 occasions in the past 8 weeks in Oxford,
I am attempting to get the ‘English’ people to firstly, recognize that their internal mapping of identity no longer fits the demographic territory, the reality of their nation. So it was with the most recent Presidential election loss by the American GOP. They lost power because they no longer could see the reality of their own nation. The importance and rise to power of the Latino communities and most of all, the continuing and increasing power of American women, across partisan lines, to control their own political environments, their own bodies and assume the reigns of their own destiny. THAT is what I would like the so-called ‘English’ people to do and as was reinforced at my debate with my friend and role model Gilad Atzmon last night, the ‘English’ appear to be more willing to expend energy on denouncing and ataacking a pushy, American Jew-boy like me than examine their own failings as a nationality and cultural identity.
Nicolas, do you really think that I’m some jingoistic foreigner who is going to return to my own country and bask in the injustice, murderous hypocricy and much, much worse (than the English) social injustice in America?!?
You really don’t know who you’re dealing with or chastising here.
I left my country more than half my lifetime ago, precisely because I could no longer bear residing in a country swinging to the far right under Ronald Regan, the second worst President my country has ever elected. I left my native land to live in the then socialist country of France and prospered there as a journalist and for awhile as a film actor. When employment as a foreigner proved problematic, I askewed returning to my by then, extremely right wing, neoliberal homeland to pursue my career as a journalist and writer in your country of Britain. In the 28 odd years I have resided in the UK as a permanent resident and guest of her majesty the Queen, I have worked successfully for 10 English companies, risen in professional status and even invented the publishing genre (Graphic Novels), while I was working here, that continues to put money in the pockets of hard working British citizens.
I have started 3 companies, 2 of them sucessful, and have in my time employed and FAIRLY paid nearly 60 developers, artists, writers, programmers, designers and administrators. In all this time I have never once taken one penny from the public support I have been entitled to and refused, due to my nationality and status as a foreigner; in spite of my legal entitlement to do so the short periods I have been unemployed. Most significantly during the 3 years (2007-10) of disability I endured as a direct result of a near fatal car accident perpetrated by the gross neligence of one of your countrymen, who suffered no penalty for his crime; in spite of refusing a breathalizer test at the scene of his crime, (he is still driving around the roads of your fair land to this day, without inhibition or prohibition).
In my 28 odd years living in England, I have been assaulted, twice physically for the perception of my ethnicity, I have been barred from 4 establishments for expressing my political views, non violently nor aggressively, and I have been virtually ‘railroaded’ out of a Middle England, Cotswold village for being ‘the only Jew in the Village’ and for not conforming to this outdated concoction and instrument of social oppression I refer to as English Propriety or the politesse of the ‘great and the good’.
I believe that the above constitutes all the authority I need to freely comment on my observations and experiences in your country. I am sorry that my observations and relating of fact offends you; but why pray tell, are you more offended by my reporting of the facts, than the facts themselves?
Why aren’t you channeling your energies into improving your own country, upon correcting the flaws, the injustices that you see every day around you. Why are you so bloody complacent, my ‘English’ friends?
Sorry you felt the debate was characterised by attacks on you, Igor. I didn’t get that sense at all. I thought both your views and those of Gilad were subject to rigorous and generally fair questioning in a lively debate, in which you and Gilad spent almost as much time attacking each other as defending your views to the audience. You received a lot of support, as well as some criticism, which was surely to be expected at this kind of event. In fact, the main criticism of you was in taking too long to tell some of your anecdotes. Considering the event had been characterised on the Facebook thread by immature minds as some kind of racist hate fest, I thought it showed just how well people of differing views, races and nationalities (English, American, Israeli, French and Porthugese among others) can rub along, despite widespread differences of opinion, my politics with yours for example! Anyway, this is just a reaction to your opinion of the debate. The rest of the article needs more space and time to respond to than I currently have, though after the wretched Facebook thread, I’m more and more persuaded that face to face dialogue, wherever practicable, is the way to go.
April 16, 2014 at 11:00 am
I apologise if the length of my ‘anecdotes’ proved in any way boring to you; there is not greater sin of a writer or story teller than to bore their audience. I still believe that the longevity of my anecdote regarding my relationship with my Kurdish student friend was fundamental point. Again, to realise through genuine self-reflection that we must own the perceptions of others, no matter how uncomfortable or injust they may seem. It is something I have had to learn the hard way as an ‘American’ and inf act, my entire notion my own Jewish identity is fabricated by the perception of ‘otherness’ have had to take ownership of primarily in this country by the ‘English’ identity. That is why I assert that the Class-Based English identity (NOT any other sense of ‘Englishness’), is fundemantally a racist one and engenders the kind of attack I was subject to on April 6th as well as much, much worse violent racist attacks that are perpetuated every day by so called ‘English’ people on immigrants, asians Muslims and other ‘others’, particularly on Muslim women who are targetted by virtue of their cultural dress.
April 16, 2014 at 1:37 pm