You Ain’t English! – The Ride Turns Ugly On A London Tram

I’ve been writing fast and furious over the last few days trying to meet my goal for NaNoWriMo, but I had to stop for a minute to send out a thought on some nasty business that happened on a London tram the other day.

The language is really rough so be aware before you click on the highlighted link above.

I’m not sure how they found her, but Emma West was arrested for her racist rant yesterday and I’m sure many will be watching to see the outcome of her court appearance. At least 2 million people have seen the video, and I have to thank one of the bloggers I read for alerting me to the news story.

I just watched the video a few minutes ago and was shocked by the foul-mouthed rant of the woman who was holding her child in her lap. One woman spoke up to her and then another woman joined in, but only because the shouting had bothered her baby who can be heard crying in the background.

While working on my novel this month, I’ve been seeing the world and it’s events differently, more like scenes in a movie as the chapters in my book develop. After watching the video, I couldn’t help but visualize a different ending than the one the people on the tram had to tolerate many of whom are not British by birth and probably feel a bit displaced already without being confronted by such a venomous outburst.

In the movie scene in my head, I wonder …

What might have happened if when the woman began shouting, ‘ You ain’t English, and you ain’t English either ‘ as she was did to those around her … what if one person on the tram had launched into a loud song, one uniquely identified as a song all Brits and many expats would know, a song that’s sung at public events by the masses and is usually one found in the group below.

What if one voice became two, and then three, and then four, until one by one the voices of everyone on the tram were joined in song so that in the end both immigrant and British born citizens were singing so loudly that her voice could no longer be heard.

That might have shamed her into silence and made the people she was insulting feel better for a moment, but I’m not sure it would have had the impact needed to bring some greater sense of community in the mix of cultures that call Britain home.

Maybe this is a wake up call for a dialogue of some kind. I know there are strong feelings out there, I hear the rumblings too sometimes, but there has to be a better way than the one Emma West is teaching her child.

Isn’t it time we work on finding it and if not now, then when?

Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.

 ~ William Congreve

Independence Day

American Flag - Elizabeth Harper

‘My Country, ‘Tis of Thee …’  are the words running though my head this afternoon.

I left the United States seven and a half weeks ago and aside from a few passing moments, I have not been really homesick until today. Today is the 4th of July, if you’re reading this and you’re an American, the date has meaning. Today in England, there is nothing on the news to indicate what’s happening on the other side of the ocean. The US seems to make the news here everyday, but today, when I’d like a glimpse of home there is nothing.

Cullene's Table - Elizabeth Harper

I’ve tried to create a bit of flavor from home by making some of my favorite family recipes. Things you’d recognize on any table at any gathering on July 4th.  I thought it would help, but I think I miss the traditions of the day and the people I love from home even more.

Watermelon

My sister in Alaska quite sweetly made me my very own version of a Peachtree Road Race number with a few modifications to fit my geographical location.  I usually run this race every year with exception of a few when I’ve been out of the country on vacation. I spoke with one of my closest friends this morning as she was preparing for the race. We ran the Marine Corps Marathon together last October and it would have been fun to run the what is touted as the world’s largest 10K run, with her today. It’s limited to 55,000 runners and the race numbers are almost as valuable as one of Willie Wonka’s Golden tickets.

Race Ticket

The weather here was quite different from the 91 degree heat I noticed on the Atlanta Journal website. Of course it’s always heat stroke weather for the Peachtree and it would not be right if wasn’t hellishly hot. Which is why when I looked out the window today and saw the weather here, I decided to skip my morning run.

Water Window

With the windy wet weather we’re having here, our barbeque chicken had to be cooked in the oven instead of outside on the grill. John keeps referring to the amount of food I’ve prepared for just the two of us as a feast. I can’t help thinking about my dad manning the grills on the 4th. Yes, you read that right. I said grills as in at least two and sometimes three. Chicken and burgers and ribs … oh my! Even though there were usually only five to ten people at our house on the 4th, my dad would cook as if the whole neighborhood would be on the doorstep before the day was out. We would have leftovers for days … with so much chicken you’d think you were going to start clucking if you had to eat another piece.

July 4 Lunch 2008

It’s been a quiet day here at my home away from home. Thanks to my sister in Alaska who took the time to dig out some family genealogy …we’ve spent a bit of the day reading about the life my ancestor, John Sparks who along with many others fought for American Independence.

Apple Pie

It’s late evening and John and I have had our first 4th of July together. We’ve had a lovely meal and lots of conversation about the ways our respective countries are both different and alike. When I went to Wikipedia to see who wrote the lyrics to ‘America’ also known as, ‘My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee,’ I found that Samuel Francis Smith wrote the lyrics without knowing that the melody he was using was the same as the one used for ‘God Save The Queen,’ the national anthem of the United Kingdom.

Imagine that … I guess in some ways we’re really not that different after all.

Reposted from original GOTJ

Sorry to have such tiny photos, but the originals were smaller on the first GOTJ blog.