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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Monday, March 02, 2015

To most of the world, those who live on this island are seen stereotypically. There are many variations and gradations on the themes, but all have at their kernel an overweight, pint drinking darts throwing football watching bloke who'd have your back in a fight. Probably.
It wouldn't be politic to go into how we see those from the US or Canada, or India, or Central Europe. Maybe as a follow-up.
However, we, even with our inherent cultural differences, see ourselves as tolerant, sensitive, yet determined people. We are fair. We accept those among us from lands far away as positive additions. Differences in faith are not questioned; tolerance is paramount in being 'British'.
We're neither the stereotype the world may hold, nor that we're determined for ourselves.
We wonder, how three teenage Muslim girls could throw their life on this island away to fly off to Turkey, and then take a bus to the Syrian border to join Islamic State jihadists. We wonder how the man video'd beheading several people for the benefit of those who feed on propaganda could turn out to be a Londoner, a man who grew up and was educated here in the UK. The man known to his family and friends here as Mohammed Emwazi is now 'Jihadi John' to both the world, and his confrères.
We, in the collective sense, made this man. Somewhere along the line he decided to abandon being British, and committed himself to an ideal into which he could fit comfortably. We have had several incidents involving those who believe themselves to be following the dream of establishing a Caliphate over the past couple of years, and while we in our comfort can surreptitiously snigger at the US with it's race problems, we must become more introspective, for ours are worse.
We are not as tolerant as we believe ourselves to be. We are not as accepting of foreign ideas as we tell ourselves we are. We are not a society of equals.
Not that any country can make that claim confidently, regardless of constitutions or bills of rights.

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