I came across some of the articles I have written in the past and they were published in various papers/magazines.
This was published on the 3rd of July 2006 edition of a publication called “Asian Leader”.
STOP THE BLAME GAME.
Media describes him as one of the most influential Asian,so when the delicious George Alagiah talks about his forthcoming book we all sit up and take notice.
George said in an interview that the recent immigrants to this country do not want to integrate.He was eleven years old in the 1960s when he arrived in the UK and was ent away to a boarding school, he obviously thrived in his new environment and is now on the top of a very successful career.
According to him it was the willingness of the new comers to learn about and adopt to, to their new environment which made it easier for them to settle down.
I couldn’t agree more.
I can recall my arrival in the 1970 to this country and I can also recall a different climate to the present one.The biggest difference was that there were was no political correctness or various bodies set up at the tax payers expense to dictating how we should behave towards each other .
Some would argue that the absence of rules gave the racist the upper hand and they could put up signs like ” no Irish or blacks or dogs allowed”. It is also true that some legislation was needed , in my case I found that the natives were fascinated rather than weary of me as the new comer!
Let us fast forward to the last ten years or so and look at the climate now, we ;as immigrants have enriched this country, we have added colour and flavour to some of the bland British cuisine . We have many millionaires who have started businesses here and benefitted the British economy. Added colour to the landscape with our costumes , and have provided good looking men and women to the media and other wakes of life !
And that is where our George comes in.
Is he right when he says the present immigrants dont want to integrate?
What is the evidence?
There is data to prove that in the inner cities there are children who were born here but dont speak English, Why?
Because our young men go back to their ancestral villages and marry a girl/cousin who is not educated. I believe that the a mother is the most important person in how the children are brought up, if the mother doesn’t speak the language, is not allowed to go out and learn it ,she naturally communicates with her children , the children grow up knowing nothing else but their “mother tongue’.
A commons study has revealed that among that Muslim and Bangladeshi women make up the highest number of un skilled in the population . They cant speak English ,so are isolated . Simple tasks such as going to the doctors becomes impossible , because they have to either take their husbands or one of thier children to translate, sometimes as young as four year olds have to perform this task. A girl of three has to dial 999 and tell them that her brother has collapsed.
So why this reluctance? I have spoken to some husbands , who told me categorically that learning the language will “corrupt” the women and they will become “westernised”.
We have a whole generation growing up in a parallel world, hostile and alien to the society they live in, when we don’t understand something we fear it.
So what is integration? A word much used but misunderstood; it is not a special way of life , it is just the everyday little things, getting involved in your child’s school activities, try and befriend/help your neighbour, getting involved in the communities we live in.There are many opportunities to do voluntary work ,getting to know people who will in turn will do the same.
Then again the most important thing is to be able to communicate, so we can understand each other then only we can move forward.
The effort will have to come form within our own communities, It is not up to a politician or an organisation, we will have to stop blaming others, including the British National party and put our own house in order ,once we stop seeing ourselves as victims , progress can be made.
Even if this is not the country where our forefathers were born, it is the country we have chosen to live, work and enjoy all that it has to offer, then it deserves the best we can offer it too.
Sabina Ahmed ,is freelance writer and broadcaster , and is a regular columnist in Asians in Media.
The Asian Leader. 3-16th July.2006.