COLUMN: There once was an immigrant. A human being. You. By Malcolm Rasala.

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There once was a young immigrant. He was 17 years old. He was found hiding in a lorry in the small seaside town of Eastbourne in England.

Send him back to his own country hissed some of the townsfolk. He cannot stay here jeered others. But all he wants to do is better himself said a few. Not at our expense cried an angry minority.

Why thought the more thoughtful are they so mean-spirited? What has entered their souls to make them so callous, so hard-hearted? What has happened to them that blinds them to their common humanity?

Do not Britons go out across the world to live, work and play in different countries? Had not young Britons marched out into almost every nation creating the British Empire? Do we not trade with every country and rally behind the call that it is Britain’s duty to do so?

Who asks to be born in one country rather than another? Why should a human being be chained to the land of his birth? Britons have never been? Do we not have a Queen who presides over a Commonwealth of 53 member states and is Queen of 16 different countries?

“We are a small overcrowded island” scream those indoctrinated with the venom of millionaire newspaper barons who do not even live in Britain.

Millionaire politicians searching for votes echo the hate. But we are only 51st on the list of population density answered the wise.

Even Bermuda and Monaco and Jersey and Belgium accommodate many more people per square mile. Ugh replied the mean spirited. Well we cannot afford immigrants they hiss. But the aggregate wealth of households in Britain is £9.5 trillion that is £9.5,000,000,000,000 reply the sane.

Ugh grump the meanies. For they do not like facts, especially facts that demolish their prejudices.

To the wicked facts are irrelevant. Meanness chains their hearts to an iron ball of selfishness. No matter they themselves are often the descendants of immigrants: Romans, Saxons, Jutes, Danes, Vikings, Normans let alone our forefathers ‘out of Africa’.

No matter the leader of the crabbed hearted was himself from immigrant stock, with an immigrant name and indeed is married to an immigrant. Hypocrisy is not a word he or the mob understand. A black canker of grudging diseases their being.

They cannot see what their rivals like Germany see; that young educated immigrants create wealth and business and taxes to pay for the care of a longer living population.

They prefer hate to love, anger to intelligence. They have grown cold to what they felt when young, the spirit of adventure, of discovery, to succeed, to give youthful meaning to their existence. A lack of empathy has withered their hearts.

They have forgotten the words of the wise man: “O human race, canst thou grasp the happiness of such a minute of consciousness, this penetration of the soul by its mission, the moment in which all dejection and every wound – even those caused by ones own fault – is changed into health and strength and clearness - when discord is converted to harmony – the minute in which men seem to recognise the manifestation of the heavenly grace in one man, and feel how this one imparts it to all”.

Or as a recent Rowan Atkinson movie put it “Open your heart English and you will be reborn”.

There once was an immigrant. A human being. You.

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