Privileged and Proud

Afloat. Alone with my best boating companion, the lovely MasterB. Feeling incredibly privileged that I can do this. That my pension is crap fades into insignificance when the Boy and I settle down to a weekend, a long weekend thanks to my self-employed status which means I can choose to say no to work and ring fence days in the way I could not when half my income relied on a job where I was required to be there when my employer so decreed.

Listening to Ed Sheeran and loving it. I know some people think he's lightweight, and they are free to their opinion, but I love his lyrics and music. Maybe it's a ginger thing. My brother-in-law used to call me Ginge, though I was a strawberry blond rather than true ginger. I was never bullied for my hair colour and am appalled that many kids are. How does that work? The second most popular cats to be adopted from shelters are gingers (the first have odd eyes), so how come people love ginger cats, but think the human gingers are objects of derision? Prejudice. Yuk.

Last night I saw Girl From the North Country at the Old Vic, and before I left home at lunchtime today I had to listen to Planet Waves. I wouldn't put myself in the first rank of Dylan fans, but this production was a reminder that his music and lyrics have been part of the soundtrack to my life, and they have such resonance. Such resonance. It's a fabulous production. Tired as I was, and I was very tired, it was another occasion when I felt acutely aware of how privileged I am. I was my friend Nicola, and we knew quite a few members of the audience, I because we had complimentary seats due to my work, she because she is a voice teacher and ex drama teacher. It was something of a shock that I realised today that Ncola and I have known each other for twenty-eight years. Am I really that old? Answer: yes.

I have also been emailing my friend Maria in Barcelona (friendship length: thirty-eight years) after the attacks in her city. She says she and hers are safe, but as a fierce and proud Catalan I imagine this is a particularly painful time. I haven't yet seen pictures of anyone running from the terrorists with pints of beer in their hands, but that doesn't mean that the the sangfroid of Catalunya will be any less that that of London.

Donald Trump, a man to whom shame and integrity are obviously equal strangers, immediately tweeted something I am not going to dignify by repeating. His conduct since the horror of Charlottesville last weekend has been even more mind boggling and shameful than usual. My work brings me in contact with many people from the US. I have yet to meet one US passport holder who supports their current president.

Fortunately despite DT (how well his initials suit him) the most popular response to these events is solidarity. We know that there are extremists. Those extremists represent a tiny minority. The havoc and carnage they cause is out of all proportion to their support. DT and his ilk play into their hands when they react with their xenophobic, inflammatory comments. As Jo Cox said: We have more in common than divides us. We stand with Barcelona, we stand with beleaguered Moslems who suffer retaliatory and unmerited attacks. We all have a right to freedom of worship; to dress as we please; to live peacefully side by side; to have cross cultural, cross religious friendships. When Trump and others react by abusing whether verbally or physically Moslems they abuse and hurt all of us.

I am privileged to live in one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse places in the world. My neighbours are my neighbours. Race, colour, creed; we are all Londoners.

We are one people. We hurt. We rise.


4 thoughts on “Privileged and Proud

  1. Beautifully stated. It’s been a rough couple weeks here in the U.S. … We’re trying to limit his damage to our own nation, but it’s difficult.

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