terça-feira, 28 de junho de 2016

'My family doesn't feel safe here any more': eastern Europeans on Brexit

'My family doesn't feel safe here any more': eastern Europeans on Brexit
We asked people around the UK to share their experience of attitudes after the EU referendum result

Guardian readers and Sarah Marsh
Monday 27 June 2016 13.25 BST

Since Britain voted to leave the European Union, people have been reporting incidents of racism believed to have been fuelled by the referendum result.

Eastern Europeans, in particular, seem to have been targeted, with suspected racist graffiti found at the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) in Hammersmith, west London.

Cambridgeshire police are investigating reports of racist laminated cards saying “Leave the EU/No More Polish vermin” being distributed in Huntingdon in the hours after Brexit was announced.

The Polish embassy in London said it was deeply concerned by incidents of xenophobic abuse directed against the Polish community since Britain voted to leave the EU.

We asked eastern Europeans around the UK to share their experiences after the referendum:

‘My family doesn’t feel safe in the UK any more’

I feel scared after the referendum. In my workplace I have heard people saying things, such as: “Pack your bags and get the fuck out.” Followed by, “If you want I can give you a suitcase.” This referendum has not led to communities coming together in any way – the opposite has happened. Now I feel worried about me and my daughter’s future in Britain.

When I was growing up in Poland I experienced racism because my father was from the Middle East. I don’t want my child to feel the same sense of exclusion I did. Three years ago I decided to move permanently to the UK because it’s such a multi-cultural place. Since coming here I have joined classes to improve my English and learned about the country’s culture and history. My whole family used to love England, but now I feel disappointed. I had no idea so many people hated us so much – me and my family have never done anything wrong in England: we have never claimed benefits and we pay taxes, we respect English culture.

I have never had any problems in the UK until now. I feel like an unwanted guest and I have now decided it is time for me and my family to move on. We don’t feel safe any more. It’s very weird how this country has turned completely against us.

‘My British colleagues have been very supportive’

I have never claimed any benefits, I work hard and bought a house here with money I brought over from Poland. I am about to marry an Englishman, but now I am reconsidering my future here. I am an EU citizen and value my status. I have the right to be respected and not blamed for all the world’s misery.

The whole referendum campaign was based on hate and due to it I witnessed nasty discussions on how immigrants were stealing everything from the British people. Fortunately in the NHS, where I work as a nurse, there are many people in my situation so we support each other. My British colleagues and employer are also very supportive. I do not understand how the nation could voluntarily choose isolation, and the poverty that comes with it.
Anonymous, 45, Leeds

‘I’ve been told to go back to Poland – but I was born here’

I’m British by nature – born and bred in Somerset. I have a Polish surname from my grandad, although my mother and grandmother are both English. Since the referendum I’ve heard many comments about going back to Poland, even though I’ve never lived there and was not even born there. I find it utterly disgraceful that people now question where you should live based on your name or how you may look.

I feel the UK is divided and I no longer feel proud to be British. We were finally accepting people for who they wanted to be and now what? The progressive steps we made and fought for, for so long, are now lost in this regressive result.
Anonymous, 27, Somerset

‘I am sad to the bone, but it won’t make me love London less’

I am originally from Romania. After a long and careful consideration, I migrated to London a while ago. It was mainly because of that cultural affinity. I have known the city as a visitor before, but now I know it as a tax-paying, Tube-riding East Ender. I’ve always loved the UK and I love it even more now I live here. I’m sad the UK voted to leave the EU – sad to the bone. But that won’t make me love London less. I’ll always be an anglophile in everything I do or think, from personal life to art, business or politics. I’ll talk, write, dream and curse in English until my last breath. Surely enough, to the natives I will remain an immigrant, and my anglophilia won’t make me a nicer one. But it defines me and it will always keep me here, no matter what happens next.
Stefan Liute, London

‘I have never felt uncomfortable in Britain until now’

I am heartbroken about the result. I have been living here for almost 10 years and must say I have never felt uncomfortable until now. I don’t feel comfortable to speak my own language in the street , as I don’t want to provoke anyone or even to be seen as just another immigrant.

At work my colleagues have made negative comments about eastern Europeans being in the UK. Some of my friends have heard similar things.

Lots of my British friends or colleagues, who are mostly the same age, expressed sadness over the result, saying this is not in their name. They seemed almost apologetic. It reflects the fact that most of the younger generation wanted to stay in the EU.

Britain suddenly seems different. It is not that I believe that I will be forced to leave, it is more the sense of not feeling welcome any more. Also Britain used to be seen by many European countries as a “moral” leader. It was considered an open-minded, welcoming country – this now might have just changed.

Anonymous, 34, Surrey

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