We stumbled across the following cut and paste post, and cut and paste to share. Original source unknown.
Sentiments are all ours.
When I walk around the town centre I hear voices in many accents and languages. I have heard most of them all my life. The Scots, Irish, Germans, Italians, Jews and Basques were already here before I was born. So too were the Eastern Europeans, fleeing first the Nazis and then the Communists. There are Latvian clubs, Ukrainian clubs , Polish clubs, Estonian clubs and so on all over the region. After the “Captive Nations” Europeans came people from the West Indies and then people from the Indian sub-continent and Africa. The new voices around my home town are Chinese; we have a thriving University which has a good number of Chinese students, and those of a new wave of Eastern European people. Not that any of THAT matters.
I taught for thirty eight years in the area, mostly at a comprehensive, and taught children from all these backgrounds, and also from Africa, from Palestine, from Sri Lanka, from Greece and from Russia. They were all, well, children. They were, of course, mostly lovely. My colleagues were white, brown, Christian, agnostic, Muslim, French, Spanish, Caribbean. Not that any of that made any difference. I spent my last five years of work at one of the highest achieving schools in the country where some of the pupils had doctors or surgeons as parents, some taxi-drivers, some accountants, some shop-keepers and some academics and so on. Nearly forty percent of the pupils were Muslim or of Asian descent - and none of that, none of it, made any difference.
When I was about twelve I had an experience that did make a difference. On a visit to my grandfather’s house one day, being left alone whilst everyone else went to walk the dogs I explored my grandfather’s library. Looking through his books I discovered a photographic record of what the Allies found in the extermination camps in 1945. There was a horrid fascination that kept me turning the pages looking at one nightmare after another. I felt sick and yet I couldn’t stop looking: gallows, ovens and shower-rooms that weren’t. One image stays with me: a giant yard full of what appeared, at first sight, to be neat stacks of firewood. Except it wasn’t wood that was so neatly piled. I couldn’t tell my parents why I was so upset when they returned from their walk, I felt that I had been looking at something obscene and shameful, and I had.
So here’s the thing: I was taught at junior school that white people were naturally better than every one else, that there were such things as human races and you could judge people by which religion they held to. It was all a lie. None of it, none of this nationalistic, xenophobic nonsense that engulfs us today is true. And it is why I am so angry about the results of the Referendum; that a project that was explicitly set up to ensure that the horrors of the past could never be repeated because we would be bound together at first economically and then through shared cultural experiences, a project that in those terms at least was an enormous success, that all this should be thrown away under the influences of those very forces it set out to destroy, is heart-breaking. I say shame, shame to all those unprincipled politicians and media men who encouraged this Pandora’s box to be opened. Let us hope that a butterfly of hope was released too."