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Archive for the ‘xenophobia’ Category

Instead of “hello”

In about me, ethics, politics, relationship, russian, xenophobia on December 5, 2013 at 12:47

Imagine you ask somebody which country they are from originally (I probably wouldn’t as some people may not want to speak about this or they may feel upset that they accent shows). Imagine you have got some kind of reply. Would you then rushed into saying that oh, yes, you heard about that country,  it’s well known for (pick from the list) evil government,  racism, slavery, crime, bureaucracy,  obesity, poverty, injustice, unemployment, etc?

Similar conversions happened  to me twice last week. People honestly expect to maintain friendly conversation started with these accusations. I do love to criticise my native Russia when appropriate.  But  when strangers are talking to me in this manner it is like being held responsible for all negative news stories or just pure propaganda is completely different. Another thing that drives me mad is when strangers start to treat me as a zoo animal,  discussing my cheekbones, shape of the face or accent.

I thought that after 15 years living abroad I would get used to that. Apparently not. I still feel afraid to talk to stangers.

Abused by youth on Treowen

In about me, children, ethics, kids, legal issues, moral issues, people, relationship, traditions, xenophobia on March 24, 2013 at 20:55

Today at about 3 p.m. me and my husband were walking to the shops when 5 kids approached us (between Treowen school and community house) and started throwing snowballs at us. When I stopped and tried to tell them off (we obviousely don’t swear) we met with horrible disgusting verbal abuse. A girl was mocking my foreign accent and a boy exposed himself. I think we know the name of one of the offenders and I think we’re seen others locally before. We are distressed by this accident and we don’t think the behaviour of these kids should be ignored.

This is not the first occasion.  A couple of weeks ago my husband was verbally abused in the evening on the way from work. My children told me that one of their elderly teachers is being bullied at school by students. A couple of years ago two teenage girls were shouting swear words at me and my then little kiddies – without any apparent reason apart from thinking we are Polish.  Today’s “mocking girl”, often seen on that street, was trying to say something offencive to me on other occasions but I just ignored her. Not any more. Community support officers have been notified of the incident.

I don’t think I am overreacting.  When we were kids we loved practical jokes but we didn’t swear and I absolutely can’t imagine us looking innocent strangers into the eyes and being abusive.  We never had a will to do anything like that (Why?) And we knew there could be serious consequences.  E.g. parents called to the headteacher – it would be pretty scary.  Today’s lot were so sure they won’t be punished in any way. I think that is wrong and this attitude should change.

My Shop Reserving Policy

In about me, art, crafts, Британия, ethics, legal issues, moral issues, my artworks, painting, portrait, relationship, shopping, textile art, traditions, xenophobia on February 2, 2013 at 10:41

Just letting out some steam….

Dear customers,

if you would like to reserve an item from the shop you’ll need to pay a non-refundable deposit of 10 pound a week. Please notice that if you express a wish to come on a particular day I can not guarantee that the shop will be open at that time.

Let me explain the reasons for all this. I am a novice shop keeper.  And a very surprised one. Often people come to the shop, look around and say to me: “I really like this painting” or “I want you to do commission for me. I definitely will be back tomorrow / on Friday / next week, etc.”

I am accustomed to trust people. On the day named I would come and wait till the Market is closed – even if most of other traders are already gone. Usually nobody shows up. Later I see these customers again and most of them say absolutely nothing to me.

On few occasions either I felt ill or cold, or someone from my family was poorly and I would rather be at home. I am not exaggerating.

It is not just me I am concerned about. Probably other small shops and stalls owners who really are struggling at the moment feel the same way. Is it my goods which are not good enough on careful consideration or is it my accent suggesting that I am not around here and could be treated less humanly?

Imagine if you are employed and on the day you expected to be paid your boss ignores you just like nothing happened? The income of small business owners depends on you. We live by hopes your give us.

It is perfectly fine to say “I will think about buying this”. Great!  Nobody needs false hopes, disappointments or later embarrassment.

Yours sincerely.

Never say these words!

In kids, xenophobia on November 29, 2011 at 06:51

Kids had an anti-racist lesson at school where they have been taught all these abusive racist words they had no idea existed. So now they know…

Rude mothers

In kids, legal issues, moral issues, music, winter, xenophobia on January 6, 2009 at 16:43

In Newtown I sometime see mothers taking kids to the Primary school swearing loudly among other parents and kids. I guess its supposed to be OK. Maybe its something wrong with me, but when I hear a person swearing I just feel like they cover themselves in horrible dirt and also are trying to spread it on others around them. I’ve heard in some places of the world you could be fined for swearing in public. Lucky them!

Today me, my kids and their friend were walking back from school when a couple of 11-13 year old boys started swearing at my kids’ friend who walked first and then at all of us. Its third time on the same spot! (awesome view of the valley BTW) The kids from our hill of the High School age must be from those families where they start teaching kids “manners” at Nursery! Curiously, every time this verbal harassment had happened I was caring my kids guitar or violin. Maybe the local children just are feeling jealous because they parents didn’t bother with they music lessons busy drinking & spending on themselves (sorry for harsh words)?

Anyway, that’s not very important. It Russian Orthodox Christmas Eve! And we had snow in Newtown these holidays, hurray! Its only a centimeter but its been here for a couple of days (!) and the landscape looks really great, wintry, although its so slippery to go up and down the steep hills! And the snow sounds so great crunching under the feet – just like I remember it from my childhood.

Broken Solar Panels

In art, eco-friendly, moral issues, xenophobia on December 8, 2008 at 13:00

There is a house not far away from ours. Just one more of the simple 70s dwellings. It is the only one (as far as I know) having solar water heating system in the area. And it is BROKEN. I don’t know what had happened but it looks like somebody had thrown a stone at it from the street, breaking this expensive piece of technology and the owners couldn’t afford to (or just didn’t wanted to) replace it. Some people don’t forgive you for being different, be it an accent or solar panels…

Another sad thing, I’ve noticed quite a lot of desperate messaged from artists on the net like “this recession kills me”, “I have to lower my prices for a time being” and so on… Well, somebody actually told me that people may invest in art during depression as its price ought to go up eventually. So, lets hope for the best!

Villages – Towns – Cities

In good life, healthy life, photography, time, traditions, xenophobia on November 18, 2008 at 09:50

White Horse Village – changing China:

I watched a bit of this programme yesterday

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/5103100.stm

and was somehow surprised by a female presenter attitude. She pointed at a lady and said something like that this unfortunate one has to abandon the idea about going away to work in a factory, instead she is doomed to stay with her kids and work on a farm, and that’s such a hard work. Well, we switched the TV off after that. I think almost any way to earn money is hard, one way or another. It may be the stress (separation from family and home) or unhealthy lifestyle instead of the hard physical work, but the hard bit is still here. Interestingly, I’ve heard there was some research showing that men’s health is worse if they stay at home all the time, women’s health is worse if they go away to work.

I haven’t been to China but I see how in the Russian countryside the city folk dreams to live close to the nature, not just stay here on holidays, but most of the village and small town dwellers wants to move to the city, to give up their land, to fill up yet another huge ugly apartment block. There used to be quite a lot of tension and hostility on the buses, but now the better off people unfortunately mostly use their cars.

Once I was walking through a village, seen a nice old house and decide to take picture of it (no, its not that one). Immediately a very angry elderly lady popped out and started shouting at me. I was surprised – I would count it for a compliment if people started to take pictures of my house or garden. Anyway, she disappeared next year – probably moved to a town…

So, I’m bothered with question: Why people who live close to nature, see the beauty every day, have fresh air to breath and birds to listen to, are often so unhappy, jealous and hostile? Are they already so deeply affected by modern consumer culture watching TV and doing their shopping in towns and cities? In that angry lady’s village, there are crowds of tourist and pilgrims passing by yet local folk don’t even try to organise any farmers market which would be of a great success and helped them to stay afloat, I think. Its just looks like they don’t want to be happy where they are. Even here, in Newtown (Wales) I recon my encounter with xenophobic hostile youngsters shows that there is a class of people why don’t feel any inspiration from marvelous countryside around them, instead they think themselves being on some unfortunate margin of modern society.

PS. And the size of local gardens doesn’t help either. All the fields around, but the ordinary person in Newtown is lucky to have enough land to hung the washing in the back garden! Not surprising there is not much connection to the land.

Xenophobic youngsters in Newtown

In kids, legal issues, moral issues, Nottingham, traditions, xenophobia on November 12, 2008 at 09:21

Right, me and my children were… I think its called “verbally abused” for two days in the row by a couple of local high school teenage girls. I almost didn’t noticed them yesterday. As we were passing them by on the way home from school they were asking each others in unnatural loud voices “How to say f… in Polish”. Not actually being Polish I just thought “what a sad life the local girls have” (me and my family, we don’t swear and are trying to keep the kids away from this).

Today in the morning, when we just have leaved our entrance door, they unmistakably shouted at us something like “Polish scum” & f. word (a lot). As I started taking pictures of them, they got scarred and walked quickly away towards the Hope Church. I should admit it was the first time I actually almost went to report somebody to the police. As I citizen of this country I feel responsible. People shouldn’t be abused based on their nationality, Polish or not (they probably heard me speaking Russian to my kids & I guess Poland is the only Eastern European country they know at their age of about 15-17 years). And I think, nobody should swear in public, especially with kids around. But I stopped just before the police doors. Lets give them another chance, I thought. They looked frighten enough when I pulled my camera from the handbag! But any other incident like this, and I’ll do it. As an artist I’ve got a good visual memory (and my kids too), I know they live on Treowen and go to the Newtown High School. My children immediately told everything to their teachers & friends, so, its looks like incident will be known in town.

I had a bit of a shake because all that – always happens to me in similar situations – part of being an INFJ, I suppose. I’m so easily deeply offended but after that I get to such heights of inspirations and revelations, so, thank you, girls, for that!

Well, I should admit, growing up in a major capital city, I’ve been a bit xenophobic myself. Sadly, its seems to be natural for human beings. Its more understandable, if immigrants misbehave or form some sort of mafia. As far as I know, its not the case here. Maybe the condition the two girls live in or a family situation are really bad and they just jealous, maybe they have been brought up with hatred, without a slightest idea about moral and legal norms. Maybe they have been offended by somebody from Poland and now think all foreign-born people are evil. If by any chance you, girls, read this, please came forward and explain your point of view!
When we lived in the USA one of our American friends told me: “Don’t move to Britain, they don’t like Russians there, but we do”… I have been wearing this Russian scarf for 4 years in Virginia and DC. Then, about five years ago, we moved to Long Eaton near Nottingham. I went to a charity shop as usual. It was winter and quite chilly, so I had my scarf on. Exiting the shop I’ve been asked by two boys about 12 years old “what’s the time”. I told them and went forwards. Suddenly they started shooting me from their DIY blow guns, passing by Christmas shoppers looking at this with empty eyes. I absolutely froze and couldn’t do anything. Well, I understood they had asked time to be absolutely sure that I had an accent. Maybe they even though I’m a Muslim, wearing scarf. Later at home my relatives instructed me that I had either get my telephone and (pretend) to call police, or take some photos of the offenders. So I am prepared now… 🙂 But I don’t risk wearing scarfs on the streets of Britain any more… I also probably should be much more careful speaking my native language (or speaking at all!) : -( Mind you, if people want to hate, they will find a reason for this anyway.
PS. Just can’t stop imagining. Years pass, times change, our rude girls are trying to earn some pennies in Poland and Polish teenagers mock them for not being local… Sorry. I’m just being taking myself too seriously. “Educated, sophisticated, but shouted at and hated by some absolute zeros just because I’ve got a wrong kind of an accent in this part of the word”. I really should learn to get ride of my pride… Sorry…

Supermarket blues

In car-free living, eco-friendly, Nottingham, organic, shopping, xenophobia on November 4, 2008 at 16:40

Its looks like that there is going to be a Tesco in Newtown. Hurray! I know some people don’t like supermarkets, but for a person with the family and no car, home delivery is the only way to have healthy affordable food. There is Iceland, of course, but it hardly ever have any healthy food, and never anything organic! Also I love online shopping and really hate off-line madness: being pushed by trolleys and baskets, and shouted at occasionally… In Nottingham we had a choice of Tesco, Sainsbury, Ocado, Asda & Iceland for home delivery plus local organic vegetable box. We went almost completely organic. So far from it now, despite being “close to the Nature”! There is one place – the Cwm Harry Land Trust:
http://www.cwmharrylandtrust.org.uk/
We had their smallest vegetable box last year but ended up a bit disappointed – with lots of brussel sprouts (half of the family don’t eat them) and inedible green hard cabbage leaves. We were so busy trying to eat up the stuff we really hated…

Living in the Soviet Union, I thought angry shoppers were only typical for that side of the Iron Curtain – because of food shortage. How naive! Just a few days ago I’ve been to local Morrisons (hands full of bags & kids, people with trolleys rushing to the queue in front of us) and my son, being curious, vent standing next to cashier. An elderly gentleman in front immediately suggested that my child was going to steal his pin number!!! A child! I don’t know, maybe his little grandson is like this, or maybe he has overheard me speaking with accent and decided to indulge in his xenophobia…

Anyway, once there is Tesco with its home delivery, there will be no need for all that.

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