A few years ago, I had a discussion with an acquaintance about loitering youths around my area. I mentioned that I felt disturbed by the fact that local black youngsters loiter around my house, sit on my fence and occasionally pee in my garden. The acquaintance, apparently trying to explain why they do it, said (I don’t remember the exact quote, so I paraphrase):
British people are often annoyed by the fact that these kids stand at the corner and hang around, doing nothing. But what the people have to understand is that in West Indies, where they come from, it’s a common form of recreation.
What the man, a Briton himself, essentially tried to say was that it was the British people who had to understand the “recreation” of the youths from West Indies and live with it. For his point of view, the youths didn’t have to integrate into the British society, au contraire—the British had to redefine themselves and their beliefs to “understand” the newcomers.
Of course, that’s what Labour’s idea of multiculturalism was all about: many different cultures, nations, manners. And natives had to change their ways to accommodate the newcomers’ manners, no matter how many different types of them came along. Messy and confusing, isn’t it?
In these last days, we have enjoyed the fruits of that kind of thinking. We’re seeing burning houses, cars and buses from all over London and attorneys from places like Kuo law firm trying to keep the city in one piece. We read about children attacking policemen and teenagers looting stores, stealing TVs and smashing in store windows.
Believe you me, I don’t have anything against immigrants. People have moved from country to country, looking for certain things in life, throughout the history. I myself am an immigrant, I’ve lived in the UK for barely three years. But there are immigrants and then there are immigrants. I can honestly say that I have fully integrated into the British way of life. I take the train to work every day, I speak perfect English, I wear a suit to work, I am ridiculously polite, I pay taxes, I contribute to the society. I love this country and consider it my home. I wouldn’t have it in any other way. I firmly believe that if one moves to another country, one has to speak (or learn) the language and respect the laws, ways and customs of this country and its people. How can anyone think otherwise is completely beyond me.
And by integrating into a society I don’t mean one has to lose one’s own identity. Quite the opposite, I think that people should always remember what they are and where they came from. They should keep their ethnic and religious identity and cherish it. After all, our history and background is what defines us. But at the same time, one has to abide by the laws and customs of one’s host country. For example, you can speak Arabic at home, attend a mosque and eat halal food, but you can’t judge by sharia law—simple as that. And you have to obey the laws of the country that has been generous enough to allow you to settle here.
These people who riot and loot in London are criminals, thieves, lowlifes. There is no excuse for what these people are doing. And it was their choice to become criminals, and therefore they have to be arrested and punished to the fullest extent of the law.
No, these are not children who are bored. These are common criminals. But had the immigrants from day one been constantly and systematically integrated into the British way of life, I think this would have never happened. These people would have been much more considerate towards others and others’ property.