I’m sorry, but I fear I’m becoming rather xenophobic. While I’m a firm supporter of the EU and would renounce my British citizenship in favor of EU citizenship were we to have a federal United States of Europe, I’m fed up to the back teeth with foreigners from outside Europe who either don’t speak English while living in the country, or only speak very bad pigeon English, or who impose their alien cultures on us. Also all these foreigners from the Indian sub-continent who keep ringing me with surveys and other cold-calling. I’m afraid as soon as I hear that accent asking to speak to me I hang up.

Examples of the pigeon English I’ve heard or read recently include a few years ago when I still had a film camera, took the film in to be developed at my local chemist and the foreign girl behind the counter said: ‘Velop? What is velop?’

Then there was the Muslim woman who rang me at my mother’s place and said: ‘Police! Open up! Police! Open up!’ It was, in fact, supposed to be a plea to open up the Residents’ Association Clubroom, though it wasn’t my turn on the rota to do so that day. She couldn’t pronouce ‘please’ so it came out as ‘Police!’ She didn’t seem to know any other English.

Then the note from one of my mother’s carers the other day which read: ‘mummy oat hot hot finish’ which by the empty packet of Porage Oats on the table I gather meant her breakfast cereal had run out. It is worrying though should an emergency occur while one of these foreign carers was present. What would she do? Probably ring someone and say: ‘Police! Mummy down down floor!’ or something equally confusing.

On ‘Countryfile’ the other day when I was in a local pub I saw a piece on Hal-Al and Kosher food, and a discussion on whether religious ritual slaughtering should be banned in this country because of animal welfare regulations. Apparently a number of European countries have banned it. I would not go that far, but I do think Hal-Al and Kosher slaughterhouses and retail outlets should be strictly limited. The situation should not be allowed to exist where, for example, in my borough of London you are hard pressed to find any non-Hal-Al takeaway or butcher. One high road in my borough has many butchers’ shops, every one Hal-Al. My immediate area has two only, both Hal-Al. All the local take-aways are Hal-Al. All the local shops are run by Asians, and all except Tesco Express (also run by Asians) don’t stock English pies of any description.

The local State schools are all over 95% ethnic. White pupils apparently nearly all go to private schools. I saw on Facebook yesterday that some schools in the country are banning pork and only serving Hal-Al meat for school dinners. This is fair enough if it is an Islamic school, but State schools should all have a mix of pupils and ethnics should NOT be allowed to be in the majority. In America they adopted the policy of bussing pupils to different schools so there was an mix and no one racial group dominated any particular school.

I don’t consider myself particularly xenophobic, after all my father was Greek-Cypriot. But people who come to live in this country should learn to speak the language properly, and respect our local culture. Having said that, neither my father not many of my Greek-Cypriot relations who have lived here for decades ever learnt to speak English properly because they mix with Greek-Cypriots, read Greek-Cypriot newspapers and now watch Greek-Cypriot TV via satellite. It is just as bad with Britons who go to live in Spain and read English newspapers, watch British TV on satellite, demand a full English breakfast at local cafes and never learn to speak Spanish, Catalan, etc.

Respect the country you are living in, and learn to speak├é the language properly. That’s not too much to ask surely?

15 thoughts on “Xenophobia?

  1. Hell Tony,
    I’ve always enjoyed your blogs. Like you I too just put the phone down very gently when I hear a ‘certain type’ of voice.
    But I am very saddened by your attitude towards Halal meat. How you can balance your spirituality with giving tacit approval to this cruel and totally un British practice baffles me. The practitioners of this wickedness are the same ones who regard dogs as unclean, including Guide Dogs, Police Dogs, and so forth. I know who i think makes a greater contribution tom this country-they have four legs.

  2. Hi Alan,

    I don’t approve of Hal-Al or Kosher ritual killing, but I suppose we have to tolerate it for people of those faiths living in this country. What I strongly object to is all the local butchers’ shops and most of the take-away outlets (excluding the Chinese one presumably since they serve pork dishes) are Hal-Al. I would also object strongly to State schools serving Hal-Al meat, and I would never buy it myself if I had a choice, but with most of the take-aways being Hal-Al we don’t have much choice. So to make it absolutely clear, I don’t approve of ritual religious killing of animals for food, but at the same time I don’t see how we can deny a few restricted Hal-Al and Kosher slaughterhouses and retail outlets for strict Muslims and Jewish people. If we could ban the practice altogether without causing a violent backlash including terrorist attacks, I’d be in favor of a complete ban.

  3. Tony,
    I’m sorry but i just can not agree with you. You say we should be ‘tolerant'(that maddening word) but surely tolerance should only go so far.Next We will be asked, or rather told, to tolerate Sharia law, we already tolerate sexual abuse of our children. This country was always renowned for it’s love of animals and i for one will never compromise on that. you didn’t comment on me asking how you squared your spirituality with ‘tolerating’ this wicked abuse of innocent animals.

  4. I have no guilty conscience on this matter, but we must all judge outselves when we pass to Spirit. I avoid Hal-Al and Kosher food and would like to see it banned altogether. I can’t make it any clearer than that surely? It sickens me that we have fought for animal rights and continue to do so, yet so much meat in this country is now Hal-Al or Kosher. I really can’t be held responsible for what certain religious groups do, or what the government allows them to do. Ideally I’d like us to follow the example of certain other countries which ban Hal-Al and Kosher meat, so if this can be done I would support a complete ban. Certainly there are far, far too many of these retail outlets.

  5. I agree with Alan-we should NEVER ever allow any barbaric religious rituals to compromise the welfare of animals.Strange how we always strive to be ‘tolerant’when it comes to the ‘rights’ of humans,but the rights of animals don’t evoke the same ardour.However, ALL killing of animals is repugnant-the slaughterhouse is an abomination and whatever killing methods are employed,the animals face a terrible end to their short, miserable lives.As Sir George Trevelyan said:’Once we recognize our kinship with all life, we shall cease to be able to take life.We shall then awaken to the fact that we have an immense karmic debt to the animal world,and until that is settled,man’s spiritual progress will be retarded.

  6. Beautifully said Hella. I regard all animals even the unfashionable ones as co citizens of this world.
    The great poet William Blake said “He who hurts the little wren will never be beloved by men.”
    I find that I can never fully take to someone who is indifferent to animals. I can quite like them ok but something is missing. Some regard me as a bit of a crank-who cares.

  7. Now we have progressed to a debate about veganism and vegetarianism, etc.. To return to the original matter of ritual religious slaughtering of animals, the fact is if it were banned I’m sure certain people of these religions would keep their own animals and slaughter them secretly according to these rituals. Therefore a complete ban is probably impractical and unenforceable.

    As to veganism and vegetarianism, while I hate the idea of killing animals, I can’t see the practicality of these ‘isms’ either, unless it is for health reasons or personal preference. What would we do with all the farm animals? Would we be expected to keep them and feed them as pets? Would they be allowed to roam the countryside causing havoc, fighting for food supplies, with many dying of starvation? What would we do with the carcasses? Animal graveyards or crematoriums?

    What about rats, mice, cockroaches, etc. which invade out homes? Are we to be over-run by them? What about bacteria which invade our own bodies? They are a life form as well, as are plants. Where do you draw the line?

    I’m very sympathetic to vegetarianism, but tried it once and made myself ill, and I just couldn’t cope with all the complications: What to do about household pests, what products are tested on animals, which have animal products in them, what clothes use animal products? It was a nightmare.

    The fact is Nature has one animal prey on another and that is how populations are controlled naturally. When this fails for any reason, animals either become overpopulated and many die of starvation or they are culled.

    I believe we can’t see the whole truth in this life. When we depart this life we learn that this Earth and this Universe is largely a virtual reality. All living things are essentially Spirit and cannot die. Animals live on, as do we.

    The whole of life is a learning process and I’m sure ultimately we are all One – animals, plants, insects, etc. We on Earth only see a tiny bit of the whole spectrum.

  8. Alan, people will always call you all sorts of things once you become more enlightened and don’t follow the herd,as it were.The animals definitely are co-citizens of this world and deserve justice and respect.Henry Beston rightly said: ‘they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.” So many other poets, scientists, philosophers,etc.,past and present,including L. da Vinci,Pythagoras,Einstein,G.B. Shaw, Shelley et al have echoed our own sentiments, so don’t worry, we are in good company:-)
    Thank you for caring!

  9. That’s good Tony that we have reached agreement and i love your sentiments about us all being one in the fullness of time. One of my favourite people, who i’m sure you are of, is Dr Annabela Cardoso who combines great spirituality and dedicated research with a passionate love for all animals. As always i look forward to your blogs. Best Alan

  10. Hi Tony,
    yes, we have digressed a bit:-),but the discussion was still relevant in terms of the wider perspective.Whilst we may not be able to reach perfection on this plane,we, as individuals, have the power to make changes and not contribute to the suffering of another sentient species.
    In answer to your question as to what would happen to all the farm animals-we raise billions of animals,simply to satisfy our taste buds and the first thing we need to do is stop breeding them.Obviously it would take a while for this process to be phased out,but there is no reason that over time the remaining animals could not be placed in sanctuaries.From a health point of view we do not need animal protein(just think of the millions of Jains, Buddhists,Hindus who, for 100’s of years, have managed very well without the flesh of animals)and I am sorry to hear that you had a bad experience, but perhaps your diet wasn’t planned properly.Sometimes the body needs time to adjust too.I am not sure why you find it so hard to shop for products which aren’t tested on animals and so on-many supermarkets have adopted a non-animal testing policy and if you are interested, I could give you further info. on this.

    As for so-called ‘pests’ invading our homes(usually this is due to us leaving an easy accessible food supply which can often be remedied fairly easily),but if you feel you are ‘attacked’ you have a right to defend yourself.However,as I said above,wherever and whenever we can make changes for the better, ie. not consume once living,feeling beings or buy products which have been tested on animals,then surely we have a moral/ethical/spiritual duty to do so?

    One last comment re.religious ritual slaughter-you state that if it were banned,people would simply slaughter the animals secretely.I can assure you,that this is and has been happening already!In other words, people will always cross the boundaries of the law or do what they want to do if they can get away with it, but that is no reason not to call for an end to a superstitious,whimsical,abhorrent human demand/indulgence.
    Warm wishes,

  11. Thanks for your thoughtful contribution, Hella. Yes, I agree, once the farm animal population was reduced significantly the problem would be manageable, but I was thinking of the immediate effect if everyone suddenly went veggie or if a future government banned all animal products.

    As to my own experience, yes it was a badly planned diet. All I did initially was cut out meat and just have the vegetables with no substitute for the meat. Later I substituted some Quorn and soya products, but one problem is I hate nuts and dislike many non-green vegetables like carrots, parsnips, turnips, swedes, etc. I also dislike most of the trendy vegetables like courgettes, sweetcorn, etc. So a diet of green vegetables and potatoes is really not enough. There was also the problem of what to put in sandwiches – all I could think of was cheese, and that would be no good if I went vegan.

    I did find the question of what products (including medicines – I’m on life-long medication) are tested on animals or use animal products insurmountable. I’ve nearly always worn leather shoes, suede being the alternative. I suppose plastic or canvas is the other option. It really was a major headache. I’m sure my medication was tested on animals, nothing much I can do about that.

    While living with my life-partner going veggie would have been difficult as I did the meal preparation and he disliked most vegetables – in fact all vegetables except potatoes and marrowfat peas! Now I am main carer for my mother, who’s a lifelong meat-eater and smoker. She lives near me and I cook our main meals or we eat out. The lunch club for pensioners don’t do a veggie option. My mother likes her meat, so again going veggie would be too complicated.

    Once I’m no longer carer for my mother I’ll consider going veggie again, but I won’t go vegan and while trying to avoid animal products/those tested on animals I really still find this too much of a headache. I don’t know of any supermarkets which only sell products not tested on animals or not using animal products.

  12. Thank you for your feedback, Tony,and for the sake of the animals,the planet,the spirituality of things, as it were,Iam really pleased you will give this discussion and consequent possible ‘action’ some further thought.:-)Do you know that even the UN have urged people to stop eating meat as it is simply unsustainable? Check it out here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQlekfaPyaA

    I get the feeling that you are not very adventurous with your cooking,but often people don’t like certain veg. because they don’t know what to do with them properly! (apart from overboiling!:-( If you don’t like nuts, perhaps you like seeds such as pumpkin,sunflower, hemp,sesame? As a rule, people have far too much protein in their diet.Not sure if you have experimented with tofu products or pulses?And oh yes, I could give you plenty of suggestions on how to make a wonderful sandwich:-))..without using dairy cheese!!!
    I think you probably aren’t aware of all that’s on offer in the veggie/vegan world-you can also get fab.,non-leather, breathable, microfiber shoes&boots!

    As you rightly say,there is nothing much you can do about medicines which have been tested on animals-many of us-members of the general public and within the scientific community-continue to press for an end to animal testing as it is scientifically flawed and morally repugnant,but we can’t change what has happened in the past.When it comes to cosmetics and toiletries tho., we can definitely vote with our purse by boycotting companies which still condone animal testing.Supermarkets such as Sainsbury, the Co-op, M&S,Tesco, Waitrose, sell their own brand cruelty-free cosmetics/toiletries-also Superdrug and of course the various health food shops.

    You know, I really don’t mind if you want to em. me privately for any further info.or if you fancy meeting for a chat/coffee (or whatever!),in London one of these days.I live in Sussex, but go there fairly often..Hee hee, is that a scary thought?!:-))
    Have a good eve.!

  13. Adventurous in my cooking? Most definitely not! Steak and kidney pud, roast beef underdone, rare steak – this no doubt horrifies you. But it is what my family have eaten and grown up with for generations. Vegetables have to be boiled for 20 minutes till soft – we refuse to eat them crisp (or raw) and we stick to the traditional ones like sprouts, spring greens, cauliflower, peas, butter beans, broad beans, etc.

    I’m afraid I’m a no-hoper if you’re planning to convert me. But yes, after my mother passes to Spirit I may try more vegetarian dishes. At the moment the most adventurous thing I do is spag bol, and I know that can be done with Quorn mince. And no, I don’t fancy seeds of any kind though can eat them on bread. My mother positively refuses to eat anything with seeds in it though.

  14. I guessed as much, Tony,BUT you can always make a start by trying to cook new,more veggie-based meals!:-)There is hope for everyone,even if you and your family have been eating ‘traditional’ meals for a long time!Many of us have had a similar background, but once your conscience gets stirred and you begin to appreciate that each non-human animal- farm animal or pet,is an individual living being with a soul and capable of feelings,you may well make a decision not to be part of the killing process any more.Good on you tho that you have given the matter some thought-every small step counts:-)

    I share many of your other views/thoughts on different subject matters,so carry on blogging!

    PS.Meant to say this before-I totally agree that if people decide to come and live in this country,it is paramount that they learn the language!I wasn’t born in the UK,but when I moved here at 18 (long time ago!:-)the first thing I did was to study English.Can’t quite comprehend that people would not want to do that.I will make allowances for people’s pronunciations-it may not always be easy to master correct diction,but at least a rudimentary knowledge of the the language is essential..

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