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3/9/01

STRAPPADO WRACK

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Barbarians and 'THE CITY'

Having frequently traveled to London for well over this last decade, the changes in conditions are much appreciated. A Cosmopolitan mixture of this great city has always been evident. Neighborhoods are distinct with ethnic groups seeking to reside in their own enclaves. Contrast this with 'The City' and you will find a most traditional British atmosphere within Westminster. But over the years, a most disturbing trend is changing the nature of this society. As with the era in America where immigration was at its peak, new residents were eager to assimilate into the British culture with a sincere effort to learn, speak and use the language. The exception were those who wish to retain, ONLY, their own customs. Now this balance is in danger of disappearing. In many areas and neighborhoods, English is not spoken at all.

At one point we were warned that the Barbarians were at the gate. Today, they are more likely residing in the townhouse next to you! Yes; Sterling is still the currency of the realm, but the move to convert to the Euro is much more than just a change in the money that one uses. At the core of this debate is the very future of the kind of nation that England will become. The rural countryside retain their character and traditions, but how can any nation survive when the heart and soul of a society is discarded by those who by the good graces of their adopted land, allow themselves to reject the essence of their benefactors?

But all is not lost. The miracle of British culture is a living organism that resides in the character of her people. At the London Museum, a class of young school children were enthralled with the explanation of the great London fire. Their memory of this tale will stick with them throughout their entire life. The story teller was serving the highest function and purpose of her art. Little children were learning what it means to be British. The heritage of their culture are not just the displays and exhibits within the walls of this depository. The true legacy lies within the creation of an identity in each child. The knowledge and value of what it means to be an Englishman or woman, is the highest gift that a nation can bestow upon her citizens. Thank God for that inheritance from a great people.

London should be much more than commerce and monuments. If one restricts their view to the basic tour, the underbelly of diversity will not be confronted. Why will these new inhabitants not follow the tradition of their predecessors and assimilate? The changing character of Zone 3 is disturbing and sad. The tubes connect all the neighborhoods with transport, but the language is the glue that melts the downtrodden into a productive citizen. As long as the Barbarian chooses to be a primitive, he will remain one. The notion to discredit the 'WASP' is a central topic in this multicultural environment that has gone insane. The cure for London is in learning and knowing the meaning of what it means to be English. This is a lesson that is just as valid for America. Let us follow the lead of the teachers of that tradition, and accept the legitimacy of the greatness of our heritage. Only then will the atavistic become civilized. 'The City' will survive, because the wealth will be there. But London will remain, only if the English culture is taught and accepted by ALL their residents. Start with speaking the language to your neighbor. The life you save may well be your own.

SARTRE - March 9, 2001

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