Sunday, 18 May 2008

ABROAD TALES FROM HOME


First, sorry for the lack of pictures, I didn't know my subject matter would turn out to be that, so I didn't take any! I know some will not agree with what I'm about to say but..........hey, you don't have to read it if you don't want.


I should think there isn't a town in England that doesn't have an ever increasing immigrant population and nowadays we have so many different nationalities here. They usually find themselves living in the 'wrong end' of our towns. Keith and I had a wander along Frodingham Road yesterday morning to see what's afoot there these days.


It has never been the most salubrious of areas, being in the town centre, more or less, but I've always quite liked it. It's a little village in itself, but over recent years it has become run down - boarded up shops, scruffy houses, litter everywhere: truly the 'wrong end of town'. What a surprise we got though!


There are European and Halal food shops along both sides of the street. Like a phoenix from the ashes they have risen from the boarded up buildings. There's a post office - a different one; the old one was closed down ages ago - several newsagents with newspapers and magazines from all over the place, including England, men's and women's hairdressers, even a doctor's surgery. They are making something of an area we had given up on.


We have an ever growing foreign community here now. One way or another half the world claims the right to live on our tiny island. In our town there are a great many Iraqis who have fled their own country. You would be surprised how many are fleeing back again! We have Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians flooding in on the back of the EU. There has been a strong Polish community here since the last war but now even the price tickets on Tesco's deli counter have Polish subtitles!


It did look as if most of the shops are owned by Iraqis and Sikhs, even the shops which appear to be European. Keith knows many of the owners and workers in them because they all have other jobs at the chicken factory where he works! You have to give them full marks for hard work.


They are all so friendly too. They greet you, they shake your hand, they SMILE. For shame we should be so astonished to be smiled at! The goods they sell you won't find in Tesco. They're not what I call 'vogue ethnic' but 'everyday ethnic'.


There's a lot of bad feeling towards the immigrant population in this town because, according to letters in the local Telegraph, they "don't speak English" "live in their own exclusive communities" "treat women badly" and "take jobs away from English people" and so on. But what else can we expect if we ignore them? If we don't speak to them, how do they learn the language? If we don't welcome them into our communities, our homes, how are they to begin to integrate into our way of life and customs? How should they know we don't treat women 'like that'?


We've had all sorts round here at our house and, without exception, not one of them comes into the house with their shoes on. I don't make this rule, they just do it. It's a mark of respect. They never come empty handed either, even if they only bring a pack of sweets.


If you visit their homes they always give you their best. Coffee isn't served in their everyday mugs, you get the best china, or whatever passes for it. But always it is their best.


Make no mistake, there are some baddies among them, just as among us, but basically they are good, hard-working people.


Now then, if all these different nationalities - Iraquis, Kurds, Indians, Bangladeshis, Poles, Lithuanians etc etc - can all live and work together down Frodingham Road with no more than the odd spat, what right have we to be so stand-offish?

5 comments:

Raquel said...

Angie, I live in the middle of the insular midwest. We do not have a lot of different nationalities here. And I think that is a pity. I, for one, have always been taught to embrace them. Being a military brat, I was exposed to a lot of different nationalities, etc. when I was little. and I have been treated "that way" by American men. Right on, sister!

My friends call me Tulip said...

First time here and what a post to start on. I too live in an area that is populated by people from abroad, readign your post today has made me realised that I need to do more to make these people feel welcome. I have teenage daughters who can't find saturday jobs because all our jobs have been taken by immigrants but would my daughter's do the job as well as these people? Probably not, these people are working 2 sometimes 3 jobs to make a living for their famlies, not just pocket moeny to buy new clothes. More power to your elbow Angie, thank you for making me see it all a little clearer!

Marie said...

ahhh Angie, I see my friends are making their way here one by one! It's a good thing as they are good people. There are not a lot of immigrants where I live now but we did have a fair amount when I lived up North. I like to think of the world as a huge melting pot of God's children and wish we could all get along. I do think these people work extremely hard and a lot of the negative comments you hear come from people who wouldn't be willing to take the jobs the immigrant is willing to do. There is bad and good with everything and everyone.

kathleenlees said...

I'll try again.scruffy shop fronts etc.Isn't that all we see up and down now.Not like Our shop fronts used to look Angie.The least said the better you know me.Have a lovely day hope th ecomment comes through.

Sandra said...

Hi Angie, At last I can add a comment after going all round the houses trying to sign up...lol! I`ve not been online lately so I missed you leaving AOL. I`m glad your still blogging so I can still read what your up to. I agree with your views on ethic minorities, I have no problem with them either. My neighbours are Sikh and the other side they are muslim. The sikh family have lived there longer than us and we are good friends. I like to think I only judge people on how they behave and not their nationality. :o)

Love Sandra xxxx

PS: please ignore the follow up email address, I had to use Jim`s to get a Google account!

http://journals.aol.com/labdancer51/SandrasScribbles/