Multi-culturalism

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Multi-culturism

 

Humans are born and emerge in specific locations on the planet and therefore into geographical relationships. They are then programmed by their prevailing culture to identify with that location and behave as a consequence as if they ‘belong’ to it.

 

This location also becomes part of their personal identity. ‘I am a German, an Irishman or a Zulu, and from this identity is born the concept of territorialism. This false assumption has been the catalyst for most, if not all major wars throughout history, and multi-culturism is the force that will eventually dissolve it.

 

Of course there are losses in this ongoing major transition and many will mourn the passing of their traditional identity, awash as they feel in a shoreless ocean of ‘bloody foreigners’, while the transformation from England to Ukayland and thence to Europia is barely noticed.

 

But too late for that now. The inexorable ‘march of progress’ turns a deaf ear to these complaints and leaves us to await with much interest the distant advent of the new Earthmen.

 

 

Origins

 

Rain falls thinly acrossCamdenTown and runs in long slow rivulets down the grimy windows of John’s cafe in theChalk-Farm Road. It is a quiet period with only three customers to grace its interior, and the counterman idly runs a damp rag over his chromium plated tea-urn which emits small spurts of steam from its worn piping. In one corner sits a bus conductor busy with his accounts and a black man peruses a newspaper in another, while against a far wall a man named Smith deals with a cheese sandwich.

It is peaceful inside the cafe and the far-off wet swish of traffic joins a faint hiss of steam from the urn. A tranquillity soon disturbed by the sound of rowdy voices from the street outside. Soon the door crashes open and two very drunk Scotsmen blunder over the threshold. They wear stained overcoats topped with flat workmen’s caps. The two ravaged looking men stand swaying in the doorway for a while, their ruddy weather-beaten faces glaring truculently around the cafe before staggering across to a table.

The counterman is having none of this.

‘Not here,’ he commands. ‘Go somewhere else,’ and he waves his hand towards the door.

The two drunks are infuriated by this, and one lets rip with a stream of expletives, which, since they are delivered in a rich Glaswegian accent are barely intelligible, but by the number of “f” words the gist is not hard to discern.

‘Guis a cup of tea!’ shouts his companion, and begins pulling out a chair. At this the counterman makes as if to come out to deal with them and they begin a clumsy retreat. At the door they linger, glaring round the cafe until one of them spies the black man.

‘Fuckin black bastard!’ He snarls, barely able to keep his feet, and his mate, not to be outdone, adds his piece.

‘Yeah,’ he says. ‘Why’ant you go back where ye came fra.’

The counterman has had enough. Up goes his flap and out he comes and makes for the two, who exit as fast as they are able, still shouting drunkenly.

‘Fuckin’ black bastard. Go back where ye came fra.’

The door crashes shut and the counterman stands for a while looking through the glass into the street outside. The cafe is once more quiet and a faint hiss of steam is again apparent. Satisfied that all is well he returns behind his counter, and taking up his damp rag begins to run it over the urn. Pausing in mid-wipe, a thoughtful look passes across his face. He looks up and directs his gaze at the black man. After a moment he speaks.

‘Where is it you’re from Jimmy?’ he asks.

The black man looks up from his paper, and the flat Geordie accent causes Smith to stop chewing for a moment.

‘Newcastle,’ he says.

 

 

*

 Dave Tomlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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