I was born in Cornwall, but live in Catalonia.
I have a British passport and a Spanish wife.
I am an immigrant here and I am loved and accepted in my adopted home.
But today I am afraid, afraid about what has been unleashed in my country of origin by politicians who are happy to foment hatred in order to further their personal ambitions, who are willing to sacrifice community and compassion on the altar of greed and prejudice.
Today I have wept, and will weep again for what my country is becoming.
In March 1939 – the date says it all, surely? – WH Auden wrote:
Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there.
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.
How hard it is for us to learn. So let us come together and speak out against hatred and prejudice, against bigotry and lies, before it is too late. And let us not think that the victims of our silence and inaction will be others. That is not the case now, just as it wasn’t the case in 1939. As Auden wrote, a few lines later in the same poem:
Came to a public meeting, the speaker got up and said:
“If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread”;
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.
Jo Cox, RIP. Like so many, I never knew you, but like so many I will reap the rewards of your efforts. Thank you.
June 16, 2016 at 21:11
Wonderful and important piece of writing
June 16, 2016 at 21:17
Thanks David. I’m sure you’re struggling as I am to digest the events of today.
June 16, 2016 at 23:06
Not sure I posted my reply
I am struggling to comprehend how a woman whose life was about so much that is good could be ended like this. My eyes are filled with tears and I just hope that I do not hear any bigoted comment over the next few days as I will not stand by without response. X
June 16, 2016 at 23:10
And neither must we stand by without response. Stay safe.
June 16, 2016 at 22:55
You put into words how I feel. This campaign has served only to legitimise bigotry and hatred. I am deeply ashamed and saddened.
June 16, 2016 at 23:06
Thank you, Nigel, for your words. It helps to know that there are companions out there on the dark road. Let’s keep pushing together towards the light. All the very best from Catalonia.
June 16, 2016 at 23:12
Lovely thoughtful words and sentiments, Alan. As you say, let us all try and push together towards the light.
June 16, 2016 at 23:13
Thank you, Laurence.
June 17, 2016 at 08:44
Nelson Mandela said: “judge me not on my successes but how many times I fell and got back up again”. Jo can not get back up but we can. We will because we have have to, your writing reminds of that. Thank you.
June 17, 2016 at 11:51
Thanks for that, Sharon.
June 17, 2016 at 10:33
Sickened and saddened by this sad event and so many others of our times. I’m with you all
June 17, 2016 at 16:28
Such a poignant post, Alan. It’s sickening, abhorrent and utterly dispiriting. I woke in the night, disoriented, thoughts straight to Jo Cox. Alan, you would be so disheartened to hear the rhetoric around Cornwall. The littlest of Little Britain; such narrow-mindedness. Cornwall would be so much the poorer without EU funding. Britain a poorer place without its blend of global citizens, let alone European ones. There is no place for bigotry. Love wins.
June 17, 2016 at 17:25
Yes, Julia, the news I hear from Cornwall is not good, although I also know there are still many thoughtful and decent people who will put love and compassion before the sowing of hate.