A Split Nation

Let us not be a nation of xenophobes too

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I am not a massive supporter of politics nor do I think the EU was perfect to begin with, but when the results of the EU referendum were revealed it well and truly struck a cord with me, as I am sure it did millions of other British and European people. I will not delve into the benefits of remaining an EU member, how doing so grants us access to the single market, free movement of people, goods, services and so on. I will not inundate you with every reason as to why I would wish to remain in the EU, but I will in part explain the feelings behind my despair at the outcome of the referendum. To me, leaving the EU does not represent the progress I wish for the world, for my future offspring and the children of the future who will bear the ramifications of the vote. Aside from my anguish at the prospect of my children – as well as myself and my peers, for Brexit will be put in place before I even finish my degree – being deprived of free movement to work in different countries in the EU without a Visa, the opportunities that would have come with the ease of living outside Britain, being deprived of possible friendships that could have been made, marriages that could have taken place, and all the things that would have been learned living outside Britain, I despair for what is going to happen and is already happening inside Britain.

I understand the Prime Minister was attempting to fulfil his promise that there would be a referendum, but I must say it baffles me that something of this magnitude would have been entrusted to the public, of whom many do not fully understand the political system and the way in which the EU works. A friend of mine remarked that it was funny how the public elect politicians to deal with the important political issues and yet these very politicians still get the public to somewhat do their job for them by trusting us to make these important decisions, of which a large proportion of the public have little knowledge about.

I am a big supporter of development and innovation; positive change is healthy and always placed in high regard by me. I am an advocate of any change that is for the better. However, I am not certain this change is really going to be of great benefit to our society in many respects, and instead has displaced us some steps backwards. I do accept the result, and by the manner in which current events are unfolding I feel it is highly unlikely that politicians will go against what was the majority vote by giving us a second referendum. This is despite however much we protest or however many people have come forward to claim they regret their vote, or felt they had been deceived or misled by the Brexit campaign.

I am aware that a central issue of the Brexit campaign was the complaint against immigration, and making it appear a significant problem for the UK. What really saddens me in particular is the increase in hate crime in Britain since the referendum. Instead of progressing we are moving backwards, and have catalysed the path to an intolerant, dare I say xenophobic, and discriminatory society. There has been an increase in the use of racist attacks, people telling others that now we’ve voted out of the EU they should go back to their country, violent hate crime such as the beating up of Polish people, Romanian children being told by other children to leave the UK, immigrant workers being told to “go home”, as well as people of colour being told to “go home” despite living in the UK all their lives. The immigration discussion has proven to be toxic and has mobilised the application of vicious racism and far-right nationalism. Instead of being an outward looking, tolerant country, we have encouraged a close minded, discriminatory mentality whereby anyone who is not British-born is essentially vermin and should be removed from the country (regrettably, this talk is to a certain extent reminiscent of Nazi Germany – and we are all well aware of the indescribably heinous nightmare of a world that was).

Encouraging immigration, although perhaps not seen as politically attractive, can increase the proportion if people in work and thus support Britain’s aging population; the elderly population accounts for 55% of welfare spending, for pensions as well as social and health care. Immigrants from outside the UK bridge skills gaps, are on average more educated than natives, contribute to the local economy, and are also less likely to claim state benefits. The Prime Minister had already negotiated that migrants who did not find work within six months would be forced to leave the country and were banned from claiming jobseeker’s allowance in the first three months of arriving in the UK. There was therefore little need to be concerned that taxpayers were funding permanently unemployed foreign people; the people claiming benefits are mostly natives and not the immigrants. I am not endorsing free flowing, illegal immigration by any stretch of the imagination – I do understand there are a select few who can abuse the system – but the majority of immigrants are working and contributing to our economy, helping to diversify our society, and having a positive impact. Unfortunately, post-referendum there is said to be a surge of illegal immigrants planning on entering the UK before Brexit is put into action, which is entirely counterintuitive for the Brexit supporters because this is exactly the type of immigration we did not want.

It was perhaps naïve of me to believe that racism was a thing of the past, and that in this modern day society, the majority of people were accepting, willing to have new experiences, meet new people, appreciate different cultural backgrounds. Many, if not all British people, are by no means of sole British descent – we are all bound to have heritage from outside Britain; even our beloved Queen is descended from Danish and German ancestry. Being British is not determined by the colour of your skin, your religion, your race. We are all British nationals. We all live in Europe. I have friends who are white and “English-looking” (if there ever was a thing) who do not hold a British passport, I know people who do not live in Britain and yet by parentage hold a British passport, I have friends who are Indian, Asian, Nigerian, Pakistani but have lived in Britain all their lives so are by nationality British. Whom out of these can we claim to be the most British? I am British-born, as is my brother and my father. My mother who was not born but converted to British citizenship has contributed just as much, if not substantially more, to our economy than the average person who was born British. In living and working here, we contribute to the British economy and have every right to live in the UK as much as anyone who does not look “foreign”. We all make up this country. The hate and prejudice has, and will always have, absolutely no justification.

It has been said that post-referendum, no matter the outcome, the rich will still be rich and the poor still poor, and we will still manage to blame immigrants. This mentality of putting the blame on others instead of delving deep and solving the problem from its core needs to cease. I understand it is somewhat human nature, to deflect the blame away from ourselves, but unless you begin to take responsibility enough to tackle issues, the issues will never be resolved. You will just fill yourself with bitterness, and waste your energy on resentment instead of self improvement. It is easy to blame others; there will always be someone else to blame, whether it’s a lousy PM, immigrants, the EU, laws, foreigners, whoever. It has been confirmed that there is no post-Brexit plan – perhaps instead of putting all that time and money into making so many complaints, spreading false information, and slagging off the EU, a plan could have been generated to demonstrate why it was such a great idea to make our exit. Perhaps instead of people complaining that foreigners with perfectly valid degrees and skills are taking all the jobs, you should be working towards building your own skills and experience so that you too can secure a job.

Whether you were pro-Brexit or pro-remain, Europhile or Eurosceptic, I urge you in the midst of all the political propaganda and mixed messages, to remember your humanity, and that immigrants are merely people too and are not the cause of all your problems. We have already proven to be a split nation; let us not be a nation of racists and xenophobes too.  I understand that there are so many decent people out there who do not stand for any of the attacks on immigrants and foreigners, and I am by no means pointing fingers. However, if the rather irrational fear of immigrants spurred you to vote out of the EU, please reevaluate what it was that you really voted for.

 

Wishing you love, light and laughter,

Shannon x

Deprive

 

© Shannon Feetham and withlovefromshannon.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Feetham and withlovefromshannon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A World Filled With Love

Love knows no boundaries

My heart goes out to all the people who live in fear of the safety of their families. From those who fill our history books to those still alive today who have ever lived in fear, those who have feared being ostracised for being the minority, to those born into circumstances that have been out of their power to alter, those who were born “different”, those who did not come from a privileged background, to the people who have been discriminated against for not fitting into a certain ideal. I want you to know that regardless of the circumstances beyond your control, you are loved. Regardless of your ethnicity, the colour of your skin, your religious beliefs, sexual orientation, your physical stature, regardless of the way you look, whether you suffer with physical or mental heath issues; you are loved. Love is universal; it knows no bounds. Every human being with a heart is capable of love.

May all the hatred and evil harboured in the world be brought to an end. May the darkness that shrouds the light be banished from existence. In this day and age, it is abhorrent that people must still live in the fear of expressing their love for the people they do – be it those of the opposite or same sex, same or different ethnicity – that there are still people so evil in the world they would want to segregate others for what is beyond human control. It is not those who fill the world with love who are the problem; it is those who fill the world with hatred. May love always conquer hate and violence never be the answer. May people see that it is not right to resort to violence, and for the love of all that is good and just, may violence be brought to an end. May the people of the world see the evil in treating others as outcasts, in hurting others, in causing pain. There are enough issues in the world that impede human growth without bringing violence and hatred to the table.

If you do one thing today, and every day for the rest of your existence, may you show others love and kindness. Whenever you feel that you are a failure, or do not meet society’s ideas of physical perfection, when you feel that you are not capable of material success, try to fill the world with love. When you feel down and disheartened, whenever you feel powerless, know that if you can love you are impenetrable. Because in showing love you are already doing more than many people are capable of; and that is a super power in itself.

Wishing you love, light and laughter,

Shannon x

 

The following is an original poem written by me – I hope you enjoy reading.

 

I grew up among the fairies and pixie dust,

Where everything once seemed within reach,

Where nothing seemed implausible,

And having faith is what they’d teach,

I came from a place where peace

Seemed the simplest thing to achieve,

Where you did not judge and were not judged

Based on what others would perceive

I blossomed with the mindset

That into their aspirations one grew,

And dreams were always big enough

They would easily be grown into,

A world filled with enchantment and magic

Was only ever a step away,

And one could await a new adventure

Every single day,

As I continued to grow I began to notice

The blatant cracks in my reality,

The sky no longer blue, the sea no longer clear

As they had always seemed to be,

My faith that good would be triumphant

And everything would be okay

Began to waver, began to falter,

And I gradually felt it slip away,

I began to realise that sometimes

People were not all inherently kind,

That people hurt and people lie,

And deceive as though you were blind,

Suddenly the world I knew

Seemed such a fragile entity,

It no longer stood invincible,

No longer unfettered and free,

I grew skeptical and questioned

The intentions that others had,

I felt the pain of those suffering,

All I want is to erase the bad,

I came from a place where love

Was only ever a step away

I did not expect it to leave me in shambles

And refuse to ever stay,

I am no longer that little girl

Who wishes for world peace every birthday year,

I am no longer blindly faithful,

I see past the veneer,

Whatever happens to that child-like wonder?

That vigour for everything the world has to give

When it seems to vanish from within you,

Within whom does it now live?

My once unadulterated world

Seen through eyes young and pure,

Has been mistreated, is now plagued,

Could someone find a cure?

Why did my world disintegrate?

Why did hope perceptibly fade?

Did it slowly become like this,

Or was this how it was made?

Deep down I still clutch the hope,

That we can reach a better place,

Despite the broken spirits,

And adversities we may face,

I grew up in a place where daylight

Outshone darkness from every side,

Where our love was everlasting,

Where love never died,

Perhaps one day we’ll learn

To value heart over vanity and greed,

And rise above the hurt,

Never lie or ever mislead,

The unscathed world I came from

Was not an illusion; it was real,

One day when forgiveness is mastered,

May our wounds ultimately heal,

I came from a place where love

Was only ever a step away,

We’ll find it again, it may not be perfect,

But it will return to us one day.

 

By Shannon Feetham, June 2016

 

© Shannon Feetham and withlovefromshannon.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Feetham and withlovefromshannon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Understanding
Origin Story

Saying the word Goodbye

An original poem by Shannon Feetham

Whether or not you believe that there is life after death, whether you believe that the spirit lives on in heaven, in the afterlife, whether or not you have a faith, it can always be comforting to hope that one day we might meet our loved ones again after they are gone. The word ‘goodbye’ has a detrimentally permanent quality about it; I often find myself dreading the words. The word seems too final – I don’t want to say goodbye, I want to look forward to the next time. I often find myself saying ‘goodnight’ or ‘see you later’ but there is something so terminal in saying ‘goodbye’ that I’m just not fond of. I recall at the beginning of my last relationship I told my then-boyfriend that we should never say the word goodbye because we always have tomorrow and the day after to see one another or speak again, so our conversation would never truly end; there would never have to be those finalising words until, of course, the day we did part for good.  Even to the ones I’ve loved and lost, I will say ‘goodbye for now’, in the hope that one day we will all meet again in a place free of the world’s hardships, where there is only love.

The following poem was written nearly three years ago, when I was sixteen years old, in memory of my Grandfather after his passing.

 

Saying the word ‘goodbye’ is the hardest thing we have to do

As we shut the door on one thing and embrace something new

Sometimes the easier route to take is to only say a word or two

Because words cannot express what I would like to say to you

But I’ll try my utmost to convey a little of the words I’d say.

 

Dear Grandpa,

Thank you for teaching us determination, that God is always there,

I adored your unassuming nature and your kind one-eyed stare,

Before I even knew what maths was you’d give me sums and I must say

Thank you for your patience for I still am doing maths today,

The man who taught us from young never to waste a morsel of our food,

Who told me that God was always near in a way I understood,

As you’d calmly smoke your pipe we’d listen to your humble words,

Enjoy sitting with you after lunch as we fed bread to the birds,

I remember among the final words you last said to me,

The usual question about what job it was that I wished to do

As you did recall when I was small a writer I said to you,

And if I do write a book one day I know whom it shall be dedicated to,

To my grandfather a man who only wished me good

And who taught me always to live my days and spend them as I should,

This reminder of a young ambition had me gratefully holding your hand,

It was nice to see that you believed in me, you truly gracious man,

Silent tears filled my eyes for that time long gone it seems,

In the midst of stormy days I had long forgotten that dream,

But thank you for the reminder for it now shined bright and true,

Subconsciously you turned my spark back on, I now write something for you,

So many thanks to Grandpa Andrew,

One of the kindest men I knew,

Though you’re not here in physical being you now live up and free,

You’re still present in your spirit guarding me and our family,

In the toughest of times you knew it would be worth it after all,

To reach a higher place in heaven where only love can breach its walls,

And in a place above us you stand now watching over those you love,

And we can only have faith that one day we can meet you up above,

Pray for us dear grandpa to one day reach God’s heavens there with you,

But for now you’re still with us in our hearts as we face a chapter new.

 

By Shannon Feetham, October 2013

Childhood

 

© Shannon Feetham and withlovefromshannon.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Feetham and withlovefromshannon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.