The center of anti-immigrant unrest this week was the city of Ulster — the former main arena of intra-Ireland showdowns. Recall: earlier, before the IRA laid down its arms, here the Irish Catholics attacked the Irish Protestants. And vice versa. They traditionally live in Ulster in different quarters and try not to go to each other.
But in the past few years, the situation has changed: a new factor has appeared — roughly speaking, “ours”. That is, immigrants from Eastern Europe. According to the local immigration center, approximately one hundred ethnic and linguistic groups today work in Northern Ireland. And the Irish (whether Catholics or Orange) unexpectedly discovered that there are not so many differences between them. It was our fellow countrymen and geographical neighbors that became the main target of the «weekend of hatred.»
For clarification, “Hour” in the person of our special guest worker Evgeni Dedko turned to the Irish themselves. We give him the floor.
In southern Ireland, that is, in the Republic of Ireland itself, the cooling of relations between visitors and locals has also recently been noticeable. This is our correspondent. He noted in his own practice: a year ago, drunken claims, which the locals put forward to passers-by from Latvia or Lithuania on Friday evening, did not figure «come here a lot.»
However, last weekend, although held in Dublin quite peacefully, a group of Latvians (two guys and two girls from Riga) in the northern suburbs still got into a fight with a group of Irish youth. It all started with insults on the topic: “Why aren’t you going home? They earned money for us — and leave, we don’t need to produce our children here. ” These cries were addressed primarily to girls. When the Irish tried to move from words to deeds, our guys had to enter into a small conflict. However, the police did not need to contact. Graffiti still appears: «Lithuanians out» and «Poles out.» Our compatriots are traditionally attributed to the Lithuanians and Poles.
In general, the growth, as it is called here, of “racism” is evident. Why «racism», however, is not clear. We have one race with the «Irish», Caucasian. True, judging by the conversations, some Irish consider themselves a special «Celtic» race. The grounds for a special «Celtic» pride are the same as those of other nationalists: a list of great people of Celtic origin, the legend that «we once owned all of Europe» and in general we are «the oldest civilization on Earth.»
They explain the current outbreak of nationalism in different ways. Local enthusiasts of friendship of peoples and economic growth believe that the reason is simply that the consciousness of the local population is not developed. Ireland, for many centuries being almost mono-ethnic, is simply not psychologically prepared for the invasion of foreigners who are not going to leave anywhere. While it seemed to the Irish that «this is a couple of years,» they treated us well. And now they will have to be re-educated in a politically correct manner. Because it is in the interests of economic growth, etc.
But many of our guest workers have a different impression: it seems that economic growth is not so valuable for «local» ones. In any case, they do not want to sacrifice their way of life to him. And they really got used to the fact that they are sitting on their island themselves, without outsiders.
There is such a nuance: now more and more people come to Ireland who, in English, can’t even walk with a foot in English. That is, you ask them what time it is, and they silently pass by, are shy. Queues for free language courses are packed months in advance. Therefore, the local feeling of “alien invasion” is now growing rapidly. A familiar Irishman, who, in principle, is well-disposed towards Eastern Europeans, explained to me: “You see, we just did not think that one day there would be so many of you.”
What will all this lead to? We will wait for the next election. There are also xenophobic-oriented parties here. True, elections (to the Senate and House of Representatives) will be held only in a year, in May-July 2007. Until next summer, the official policy towards us is unlikely to change.
In Northern Ireland, six racist attacks against migrant workers from Eastern Europe were committed. In Belfast, “racists” knocked out windows in “Lithuanian” houses and smeared paint on the wall. In Lisburn, two young skinheads beat a resident of Latvia, almost knocking out his eye. In Carrick, a canister of gas was thrown into a hostel of the Poles and set on fire. In Casteldowson, they attacked a guest worker from Lithuania: broke into the apartment and set it on fire. In Klouhi, five masked skins beat three immigrant women.
And information for consideration. According to opinion polls, every fourth native of Northern Ireland hates migrant workers.
We have our own racism
Meanwhile, the case of the young Riga resident Agnes, who attacked and beat two Sri Lankan students, was transferred to the Riga District Court. The girl is charged with inciting racial hatred.