Since the official announcement of Sadiq Khan's London Mayor Election win, on Friday night, a deluge of racist and hateful comments has been endlessly flooding the web with distasteful hashtags such as #LondonHasFallen and references to London being under the threat of an imminent invasion or currently being invaded by a horde of dangerous and fanatic foreigners in what looks like an incredibly politically-motivated Khan-hate campaign, orchestrated by a mix of disappointed Conservatives voters, UKIP members, far-right lunatics and other crazy pro-Brexit extremists.
After reading some similarly abusive and racist comments about Khan's win from his countrymen on social media, a Frenchman, resident in London, has had this classy response on Facebook on Friday evening:
His words echo what millions of people in Britain believe in. That a country that favours and embraces multiculturalism and multiple faiths, like Britain, isn't worth less than a country that prides itself for its secularism, like France, when in fact, it ends up promoting the rejection of, or creating hostility towards one particular religion, or all religions, and towards a particular ethnicity or community.
Whoever in France dares to try to lecture Britain on integration should first look at the way it has failed there. The continuous rise of Marine Le Pen's racist party in the opinion polls in France should come as no surprise. It is clearly the result of decades of useless politicians in consecutive governments who thought that giving a ball or a skate park to the youth from unprivileged and different ethnic backgrounds in the banlieues (French suburbs) would be enough to keep them happy in the ghettos that had been built by, and for their parents. The question of their, and their parents', integration would resolve itself at school and when some banlieusards (suburbs dwellers) would become successful role models for generations of kids.
The politicians expected that, alike the effects of France winning the FIFA World Cup in 1998 on a generation that identified itself has the "Black, Blanc, Beurs" generation (Black, White, Arabs), the French would end up living happily together and in harmony, under one flag, one language, one culture. Unfortunately, this was a short-sighted view of the situation, an idiotic dream that decades after decades turned into a nightmare. After going through economic crisis, unemployment crisis and the more recent migrant crisis, the "United Color of Benetton" effect ended up not having the long-lasting legacy on the French Society the politicians had expected. In the contrary, it has grown into opposing more and more "the real" French and "the others". The former reminding the latter of their vast ancestry and telling them that they are not French. (They are!)
When talking about the French (born in France!) whose parents, or grandparents, were forced to move from the then French colonies to France to work, in order to rebuild the country after WW2, the growing supporters of Marine Le Pen and her sympathisers use on social media her very vocabulary and her very language, describing them either as different, foreigners, migrants, undesired, parasites, invaders, terrorists, etc. The use of that sort of vocabulary out loud was totally unthinkable just a decade ago. Maybe the internet is also a bit responsible for that, but the rejection and the exclusion of a part of the population instead of its integration can only lead to more divide, more racism and more ignorance.
A MUSLIM MAYOR, SO WHAT?
It did not matter to anyone what faith was following Boris Johnson, or Ken Livingstone before him, if any. Why would it matter today with Sadiq Khan? Why should the new Mayor of London be defined by his faith?
What better way to silence all his detractors than choosing to be sworn in on Saturday as the new Mayor of London in a multi-faith ceremony in Southwark Cathedral?
"I'm Sadiq Khan and I'm the Mayor of London," he started, which immediately got the audience smiling. "I'm only here today because of the opportunities and helping hand that our city gave to me and my family. My burning ambition for our city, that will guide my mayoralty, is to ensure that all Londoners get the opportunities that my city gave to me."
Beyond the racist and abusive comments, whether in Britain or elsewhere, what really matters is that Sadiq Khan has received 1,310,143 votes in Thursday's election, which was 315,000 more votes than his opponent Zac Goldsmith. The largest ever personal mandate for a London Mayor.
Although I did not vote for him on Thursday, I have only one thing to say to Sadiq Khan: "Congratulations, Mister Mayor, on a large, clean and classy win!"