On Brexit and xenophobia – Abuodun Kuforiji Nkwocha

On Brexit and xenophobia – Abuodun Kuforiji Nkwocha

Brexit left me feeling funny. Just like Donald Trump makes me feel nervous.

Britain voted out of the European Union last week and I won’t lie, I am not sure how this affects everyone else (let the experts analyse) but I am wary of the sentiment of ‘Britain first’ and ‘making America great again’.
A sentiment that is fuelled by the notion that immigrants have removed the shine from these first world nations.
While I recognize that there are plenty people in these countries that do not share this belief, I cannot ignore those that do.
I even feel like sticking my tongue out at Britain and America.
They are the moralists that are quick to tell us how we are getting everything wrong. The police of the world. The champions of human rights. It appears that there are a lot more closeted racists than we thought.
Let me see if I can explain it.
I once had a toaster that wore only white. He loved white kaftans and white shirts. His toes were always perfectly manicured, he spoke in gentle modulated tones and seemed to be very put together. He was also quite good looking. I liked him then but I had a major problem with him.

Brexit
You see, I am not that meticulous. I am the sort of girl that will be halfway to her destination before she will look down at her feet and see chipped toe nail polish and ashy feet. It is the reason I carry lotion in my bag till date. I wear my clothes as dictated by my mood and I hardly ever wear makeup (forget that my sabinews picture, it is not my real face!). I can be loud and do funny things without caring how I look. So when I was beside this guy, I felt unkempt.
He was so pristine that it made me feel like I crawled out of a gutter.
It is like that when these first world nations speak about us. Beside them, we are the bumbling idiots that are fantastically corrupt and terminally dependent on their hand outs. Beside them, we become so aware of how nothing about us works and that we are so far behind.
The emergence of Trump and voting for Brexit is like seeing that this very neat put together guy wears stinking 3day old boxers. It is like finding out that behind the beautiful sparkling white teeth he flashes, a hideous acrid mouth odour festers
It is not news how these nations view us. We the barbaric people that kill ourselves because of religion, politics and tribal differences. We are so backward that we have refused to embrace the gays, the arbitrary new definitions of gender, transgender etc etc. We rig elections and our leaders are not visionary like theirs. They are so far ahead of us that they actively campaign and donate to campaigns that fight for animal rights. They ‘adopt’ animals and become vegan. The height of civility.
I kind of fell for these. Thinking that they are the definition of who we should be.
But the cracks are showing.
In the name of being politically correct, they deny racism and white privilege because it sounds so civil to do so.
But we can smell it. They say one thing but another thing is showing.
How did Trump get this far? There are people that support his views especially on immigration.
Why did Brexit happen? There are people that have strong feelings against immigration.
It all smarts of xenophobia.
I read an impassioned plea for a Brexit. The individual said her child had to go to school 8miles away while there were schools within a 5 or 10minute walking distance from her. THOSE IMMIGRANTS were making her travel to the moon and back to get her child to school. She talked about waiting 10 days to get a doctor’s appointment concerning eye drops for her child because THOSE IMMIGRANTS had placed a burden on the NHS. She spoke about controlled migration as though one was talking about pest control.
See oyinbo problems.
So I asked myself, what made her child more entitled to closer schools and faster medical services? Her child is British and so should have preference over any other child that is not British on British soil.
Is a human being not a human being first? If I want the best for my children, is it not human to be empathetic to people who desire the same. Is it not so ‘first worldly’ to champion the cause of humans because they are humans? What has changed? Didn’t they want to save the world before? Through colonisation, through military intervention and through AID. Why don’t they want to share their country?
The word immigrant is thrown around like a dirty word. They are the holes sinking the ships of these great examples of how nations should be. I watch these people speaking about the little inconveniences of sharing their space with people that are running from destitution and I wonder.
An immigrant is portrayed as a parasite, of no benefit to the host while getting all its nourishment from the host.
If you believe them, every British individual is hardworking and every immigrant is a lazy freeloading oaf.
With Trump, every immigrant is a terrorist trying to take over American. Forget that A merica is an aggregate of people mostly from everywhere.
I have family that have migrated to these nations. People that are hardworking and law abiding. They pay their taxes, pay their bills and contribute brain and muscle keeping these countries afloat. In my immediate family, there are 2 medical doctors that studied hard and are practising in these countries.
I also know of tons of freeloaders that are BRITISH and American. They see some jobs as beneath them and they also feel entitled.
Not every immigrant is a leech.
Not every British individual is contributing positively to Britain.
My people, wake up. These people do not believe that every race is equal and that every individual is deserving of the things they enjoy. They say they are appalled by racism and its cousin brothers (permit my Nigerianese). But their votes say something else.
While I know that this vote is to leave the European Union, I see it as reflective of how Brits see immigrants.
My dear friends settled in other people’s countries, shey una dey see, ba? A lot more resent you than you think.
If your race is obvious from how you look, your children’s children’s children will forever be called ‘foreigners’ and ‘immigrants’. It doesn’t matter if they have never been to Africa or Asia. When they do bad things, they will be referred to as ‘British of Nigerian descent.’ Someone, somewhere will resent that you are a making a living and ‘shining’ in their country. Someone will blame you for his lack of success, lack of ambition or simply because his child has to go to a school 8 miles away.
If you are Nigerian, do not feel smug. Your country is so rundown that your brothers and sisters sitting in prisons abroad have denied you just to remain in those prisons. A life of incarceration is better than freedom here in Nigeria. In Nigeria, we do not face racism, but tribalism and discrimination based on religion are the cousin brothers (there I go again) of racism. If we do not put these petty differences aside and demand good governance, we will erroneously fixate on the thought that our differences hold us from achieving things. If we fragment, every area will still suffer from the things that tore us apart. Let us love our country the way Brits love theirs (but not enough to kick others out o, we are better than that.)
And for our leaders from 1960 till date. Pele. I greet you all.
If you had not messed up this country this bad, who will run away to be insulted in another man’s land? Is it even possible for any leadership to steer us towards being a nation that people run into for respite? If Nigeria doesn’t care about us and for us, honestly no other person is willing to do so.
*sigh
Forgive me, I am romantically idealistic with a dash of simplicity. I just want everyone to get along. Let us just be citizens of the earth. Let’s live and love till we die. Fat chance (quick question, why does ‘fat chance’ also mean ‘slim chance’?)
Finally, I just want to recognize Brits that voted to remain. I hail una, it is a pity the bad guys won. And for America, go ahead and make Trump president. Many things define greatness but a mop of red hair, flaying hands and puckered lips are not the hallmarks of greatness.

Ps.
Obiageli Fire has gone into hiding after her last week’s article. Men all over Nigeria want to assassinate her.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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