Last night, this man:
made his country proud, by winning the 10,000m in the World Athletics Championships. He is British, he has a British passport, although it’s true he wasn’t born in Britain. By birth he is Somali, but came to Britain aged 8, through no fault of his own. He learned English, integrated into the British system and way of life and starting running. Very fast. For his services to athletics as well as his charitable foundations and his work with young people, he has been awarded a CBE and a Knighthood by the Queen.
And yet this morning, after an hours rummaging round the World Wide Winifred, I note that a lot of Brits, his fellow countryman, watched his win with eyes akin to Hitler in 1936 watching Jesse Owens. Why?
In a country with a long history of both immigration and emigration (why is it that people coming to the UK are immigrants and yet Brits abroad are expats) Mohamed Farah isn’t a white English Christian, and in today’s society a lot of people have problems accepting it. He’s different, I don’t like him.
It’s a mentality I simply cannot understand. I’ve never been able to understand it, but I would very much appreciate somebody who is of this mindset to explain to me why. I am an intolerant person by nature, I don’t suffer those who I consider to be fools, but I don’t dislike them because I don’t like the colour of their skin, the country of their birth or their religion. No, it’s because as a person I find them insufferable.
In some aspects of life I have been very lucky. I have been married to a Jamaican and a Scot, both wonderful people deserving of far better than I, the most wonderful person I have ever met is Spanish and the woman currently sharing my house is French. One of my two best friends is half Jamaican and I count myself priveleged to have known all of those mentioned and many more besides. If my mindset was the same as some of those I’ve read this morning, I would never have entertained the idea of even talking to any of them and yet my life has been enriched immeasurably by having them in it. I don’t get it.
I, for one, salute this man:
as a shining example of what hard work and dedication can give you, there were tens of thousands last night in the Olympic Stadium who feel the same and many hundreds of thousands more around the country who would have also cheered him on. To the worringly vocal minority who couldn’t bear to watch him being successful wearing that vest, please feel free to tell me why. I would be very interested in hearing your views.