Originally written for and published by Bella Caledonia on 28 May 2015
I regularly hear from fellow migrants of various nationalities “They think I’m stupid” or “They just don’t understand” when referring to the natives. I smile then and nod or laugh out loud depending on which social class I happen to be representing. I understand the migrants’ frustrations but also see how enclosed they are in their own understandings. We rarely appreciate that every time a native encounters a foreigner they have no idea what level of English they will be dealing with. Even as the conversation progresses, the native cannot know (unless it is evident from the content of the conversation) if he was really understood. An interesting social landscape considering the Brits are in their own country. Or are they?
Even though only 7-15 per cent of communication happens verbally, and but a fraction of human behaviour is governed by reason, communication is still vital as it facilitates true understanding and expansion. Today, it is one of the most important arts we could be practicing. There are very few non-commercial bridges left between nations and we cannot be sure if those will last long. Communication is the only bridge which, even though burnt time and again, can be re-created and each time it is re-built, it can grow stronger. (Given the objectives of the parties involved are similar).
Of course open, direct communication can be scary. In open communication everything comes out, shadows included. There we find out our own attitude and level of acceptance towards what’s ugly, irrational and criminal as well as vulnerable, hurtful or downright contradictory to what we believe/think about ourselves. It takes patience and maturity to remain impartial or not be disgusted by what comes out of the mouth of another or our own. It’s a risky affair, it can escalate and often does. But it’s the only way forward ~ through it. The result of a dialogue depends on how well it is contained. And that is an art in itself. Unfortunately, the upper class concepts of equality and political correctness drive divisions and lack of understanding even deeper. There is everything but honest exchange and communication between individuals of one class, let alone across social spectrum.
All that said, the most important communication that the rest builds upon starts with-in us. Do we listen to each aspect of ourselves with respect? Do we give our shadow, the inner child, the wise woman, the architect equal time and attention? Do we hinder or facilitate our archetypes towards their full expression in the world? Do we recognise which aspects are in conflict within us? Until we do, there is little chance we will ever be able to understand and transform the conflicts which happen on a larger scale. Because the roots of those are not found in the military or politics.
This week Mr Cameron introduced what might be one of the healthiest and most progressive policies of his reign thus far. In his statement on 28 November 2014 he declared a number of planned restrictions for the migrants to Britain. What motivates Mr Cameron, whether it is upcoming elections, his or Britain’s reputation in EU or genuine interest in matters of the country, is of little importance at this stage. If his rhetoric is followed by carefully implemented policies, they might initiate a restoration of balance between countries of Europe and beyond.
Cameron’s insights however come a decade too late and it’s optimistic or naïve to say that perhaps the statement given is a way of reflecting back on Britain’s own arrogance. Germany, together with other countries, ensured restrictions on free movement of migrants and ‘buffer’ period for the newly joint EU members in 2004. Britain hadn’t. It has now paid a fair price for its own short-sightedness and greed – in benefits. I’d call it mutual, if unequal, exploitation. For maybe that was the initial premise, to let migrants fill the economic gap at the lowest level, at which the Brits were too lazy or ‘educated’ (but not skilled) to perform? Or perhaps just a slice of grandeur, convoluted generosity of a wealthy Western country which today, Britain had ceased to be.
I’m writing this from a perspective (aka identification) of a white, educated migrant who arrived in England even before her native country was part of EU. I took full advantage of the opportunity and it served me well. In the meantime I observed workers in factories working for less than a minimum wage, disadvantaged because they could not communicate in English, reliant on manipulations of one manager who could. Alongside I experienced the other side of the coin as a public service interpreter and watched how the system was abused by those who came to UK, sometimes 6 months before, without a word of English but high expectations of the state to provide for them. That goes for people from non-, old- and new-EU member states and many from the ex-Commonwealth countries. Britain had to become a host for parasites before it finally looked at what’s going on in its insides. About time. That is why I welcome Mr Cameron’s proposal. The move, if it goes ahead will not only let Britain learn its own, true boundary but could also improve opportunities and conditions for those who work in this country, both migrants and natives.
How Scotland and Wales participate (or not) in the immigration game might define their future. These two are very different from what is represented as England, in mentality, geopolitics, attitude and social make up. It seems that Scotland was not serious enough about Independence but it is within Divine law that no Dream will ever descend on Earth if practicalities are not prepared. On the ground, in administration and infrastructure Scotland was not prepared to go it alone without substantial damage to itself. Mr Salmond’s bravado failed to convince the Cosmos his intention of independence was indeed a dream, not a fantasy.
However, it will now become clear if Scotland has what it takes to keep going and inspiring others or if Referendum 2014 was just a pre-mature ejaculation of enthusiasm. Fireworks are spectacular but short-lived; the real work is to keep the fire burning until enough of Spirit gathers to birth an independent thought which will then sponsor Its country on every level, practicalities first. Then asserting boundaries, not division, will become relevant.