Home > Bit of politics, Foreignery > Of course I’m fucking cynical, that’s why I’m alive and not in gaol

Of course I’m fucking cynical, that’s why I’m alive and not in gaol

I’m not dead

Mashudur Choudhury, a chap from near enough to where I grew up that it might as well be the same place, went off to Syria to die.

His leaving letter to his missus went, “what good is a husband, father, brother that sits in comfort, sleeps in comfort, eats in comfort but neglects the cause of women being raped, children being attacked, mothers being decapitated, and daughters being murdered?” – this is, in case you’ve lost track of Syria, people being murdered by the government of genocidal lunatic Bashir Assad, who is backed by (not genocidal! Yay Russia! So much progress!) lunatic Vladimir Putin.

Homage to catatonia
I don’t want to minimise the extent to which Choudhury is terrible. He is very terrible. Syria is pretty terrible. Choudhury seems very much like the Stalinists who Orwell wrote about in Homage to Catalonia, who were dogmatic and were as keen to execute non-dogmatic leftist fighters as they were to shoot fascists.

But, rather as with Hausa women in northern Nigeria being kidnapped by organisations that combine Hausa and Wahabbi dogma to come up with something that is revolting, again, what the fuck are we doing intervening in this?

Between 1958 and 1965, my dad grew up in Lagos, the capital of Christian, trading, southern Nigeria; my granddad was one of the most impressive engineers I know who shaped modern Lagos; my grandma was a teacher (I wish she wasn’t also a massive bigot who non-stop tried to get my granddad to move to Australia because there weren’t any blacks left there, but she was).

45 years later, I worked in Lagos, because I was the person at the London office of the multinational consulting firm I was with who said “yes I have family ties to Nigeria; yes I’m willing to do this”. It was the best thing I’ve ever done and the most painful thing I’ve ever done. I knew that I could never live there, but I hated it far less than every other consulting assignment.

Whatever
My mum was Welsh; every progressive thing that my family did feels like it erases the Welsh side of the myth. Now I live in Australia, and I don’t feel even slightly at home in England (London doesn’t count), and the concept of English as opposed to British revolts me. I find UKIP people revolting, and obviously Australia is racist as hell in some ways, but I love the fact that at least Australia – correctly – assigns British people as British, rather than the bullshit divisions between British people that dickheads like Salmond or Farage wish to impose.

I’m British more than I am Australian, but if grandstanding fuckwits abolish Britain on me, then I’m sure as fuck more Australian than I’ll ever be English, Irish or Scottish.

  1. May 8, 2014 at 8:56 am | #1

    I completely take your point, and it’s well made. But I have a friend who feels very differently; feels Scottish not British, and wants to know why Scotland (which again, he views as a meaningful entity) should have spent more than half his life under tory governments despite never voting for them once.

    I obviously don’t have a dog in this particular fight, but he is very convincing indeed when he gets onto the subject of Scottish Independence. Oh, and he despises Salmond and the SNP who he sees as just another part of the corporate/political establishment.

    Incidentally, we seem to have a fair amount in common with regards to personal history – never realised we shared a curious Nigerian / Dad living there / time spent consulting there connection.

    Next you’ll be telling me you’ve grown a beard!

  2. Strategist
    May 9, 2014 at 8:51 am | #2

    Like Jim, I enjoyed this post, but with regard to Salmond, Jim is being too polite: you don’t have a point and it’s not well made.

  3. June 4, 2014 at 5:46 am | #3

    Yeah, what they said. You can’t insist that Britain disregards its enormously diverse cultural heritage because you don’t like UKIP. I’m happy to describe myself as English. My aunt’s Scottish and proud. I have several Welsh friends. Each nation has its own history, language and culture. Pretending they don’t is odd. Pretending celtic nations aren’t treated as second class by the Westminster elite is naive. I include Kernow in this and support its secession from the Union.

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