WHATEVER the final outcome, we can be proud of England’s World Cup performance.
There is nothing wrong with patriotism, but it is better inclusive than narrow or xenophobic.
The atmosphere so far in the World Cup shows a shared celebration of this festival of the beautiful game.
What a contrast to the narrow defence of national interest adopted by some politicians. The heartless separation of children from their parents by the Trump administration in the United States, in the name of national security, is a prime example. Even though the policy was reversed following an international outcry, the damage has been done and will take months if not years to put right. The UK Home Office has also, at times, shown an astonishing lack of empathy for the problems caused by its aloof and bureaucratic approach, for example its handling of the Windrush debacle.
All countries have the right to protect their borders and to make decisions about who to allow in, but if it is done in a mean-spirited or inhumane way, then the resentment and anguish created threaten the very security such policies are meant to provide. If we lose our humanity, we diminish ourselves and grow weaker at the same time.
It is partly a problem of labels. If we look beyond the labels — for example ‘migrant’ or ‘refugee’ — then we see real people and families who, like the rest of us, have their hopes and dreams and have often made a vital contribution to society, especially in health and social care.
Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Freddie Mercury of Queen all have one thing in common. They were refugees.
Richard Totterdell, Dalton
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