UK must con­front racism

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

FOR weeks, the world was told that the Brexit vote was about three things: Sovereignty, econ­omy and im­mi­gra­tion. But over the past week, fol­low­ing the vote, it has be­come clear that im­mi­gra­tion, a code word for racism and xeno­pho­bia, was a greater fac­tor than any­one wanted to ad­mit. Not ev­ery­one who voted Leave is a racist. Rea­son­able peo­ple can dif­fer on the mer­its of a Brexit, but the Leave vote has cer­tainly em­pow­ered and val­i­dated the po­si­tion of those who be­lieve that mak­ing Bri­tain great again in­volved ex­pelling any­one with the wrong skin colour.

A dis­tress­ing and sick­ing num­ber of in­ci­dents have come to light — from the racist taunt­ing of rid­ers on Manchester’s pub­lic tram to re­ports of an Eastern Eu­ro­pean fam­ily in Rugby find­ing dog ex­cre­ment shoved through its mailbox. In the Manchester in­ci­dent, the peo­ple in­volved did not fit the Leave de­mo­graphic of older vot­ers. They were young peo­ple, be­tween the ages of 16 and 24, who were seem­ingly em­pow­ered by what they be­lieve to be the pre­vail­ing at­ti­tude of the ma­jor­ity. Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron has come out and con­demned the in­ci­dents, which, for those ef­fected must be like get­ting an apol­ogy from the ar­son­ist who just burned their house down. That’s still bet­ter than ei­ther Nigel Farage or Boris John­son, who, so far, have made no state­ments. It is time for Bri­tain to come to terms with its place in the new post-Brexit world, a world which they cre­ated. Cur­rently, the United King­dom is seem­ingly on its way to es­tab­lish­ing it­self as an un­wel­com­ing, in­tol­er­ant place that will rather ruin its own econ­omy than ac­knowl­edge that all peo­ple have worth, re­gard­less of their race or creed. — Gulf News

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