As a Buddhist, I have spent the last month - to the surprise of many - visiting the morning and evening prayers at my local mosque during this holy month of Ramadan. In brutal contrast, this morning I woke up to the news that my fellow Buddhists in Southeast Asia had just razed a local mosque to the ground.
It may seem drastic to some to move country entirely. It may even seem cowardly to 'bail' on a country that has given so much over the years. But sometimes a break up should come when a relationship is no longer helping you grow as a person. And unfortunately, I don't think the UK is an environment that will help my children grow up as stable and tolerant people as long as their mother is getting racial abuse shouted at her.
Dear David Cameron, This is what you did. This is what you did for asking a question that should never have been asked. You gave racists, xenophobes and bigots a government-sponsored justification to make us 'go back'. Did you ever think this would be any different? Can you hear the chants in Great Portland Street saying 'make Britain white again' all the way from your high horse?
The irony is that whatever this vote results for those of us in the UK, the meanings for those who have been "welcomed," in theory, to this country, know that deep down nothing will change until the domestic problems are addressed in the framework of their occurrence, without bringing into the discussion or even mentioning the liminal space that immigrants hold in society as they hammer out their work daily, only to realise that they are most unwelcome in this new country which they call home.
Despite being born and raised in England, I no longer identify as British. It feels unsettling to say so, and I should add that I still hold a UK passport and have a deep affection for my country of origin. However, having having spent almost a third of my life living in France and Belgium, and learned a second language, I now see myself as European.
Refugees are and should be welcome in the UK and other EU countries. They deserve better than this frankly appalling treatment. They're not trying to 'scrounge' from us. They're not just a 'bunch of migrants', like David Cameron said last week. They're people. It's time that they're given the help that they so desperately need.
If we allow the radical right to maintain their poisonous grasp on this story, the experiences of these women - their violent fight, their fears and their scars - will be left lying amongst the placards and the banners, dropped and forgotten whenever 'the mob' inevitably find something new to shout about. It's time to start writing headlines about real victims, rather than those who simply shout the loudest.
Trump's rhetoric is increasingly dangerous and divisive. Trump might claim he is simply 'telling it how it is.' That's not true. He is telling it how he sees it, and how he sees it, is not how it is. Trump is harming decent people through some warped sense of reality. And his platform keeps growing. We can't continue to laugh awkwardly. It is time to take the drunk, offensive Uncle to bed.
Could it be, with the Armed Forces actively distancing themselves from nationalist propaganda, parody pages like Britain Furst lampooning such fear-mongering, and artists like Waldhauer drawing attention to the omnipresence of racist content, that that the days of casual xenophobia on Facebook may finally be numbered?