Over the years we have not had many overnight visitors to Chateau-Mallon. This has more to do with the limitations on space rather than any unpopularity. A three-bedroomed house with four adults doesn’t lend itself to friends staying over.
However, I had a bachelor-flat once that hosted several visitors, some for long stays. Our family home before that saw many non-paying guests over the years and I have fond memories of all of them. But starting early in the nineties I do remember overhearing others complain bitterly about the antics of visitors to their home. Typical of comments at the time were the likes of, “We were good enough to take them in and feed them and then they left the place like a pigsty.” These observations became louder and nastier as we moved into the new century and people became less tolerant but more jumped-up during the Celtic Tiger.
Those thoughts returned to me today as I looked at images of the latest atrocities in London and Manchester. I have not written much about Islamic extremism because I am in two minds about who is most at fault for it. But the micro-analogy of guests in your home is relevant to the whole area of Muslim immigrants in the West, (or anywhere else for that matter).
I have recounted trips I made to the UK during the worst of the IRA violence in the seventies. I didn’t do any of it of course but I was, (sort of), guilty by association. I was 100 per cent Irish in a country was that was being bombed by Irish extremists claiming to be doing it in my name. But first and foremost, I was a visitor to the UK, taken in, feed and sheltered by them in return for money given to me by a UK company. It would have been second nature to me to behave correctly and respectfully even back then. Call it basic good manners if you will. I only misbehave at home among my own, (Tee-Hee).
But as an example, I was Catholic in a Protestant country but the sight of one of their chapels did not offend me, (do you see where I’m going with this?)” The cultural Britishness I encountered daily was not offensive to me either. I don’t remember saying to anyone over there that if they didn’t revoke their Britishness and become Irish then they must surely die like dogs. I suffered no desire to kill strangers while in London. Indeed, I cannot remember anytime in my life wanting to murder my hosts. It was and is, a ridiculous notion! I encountered kindness and a welcome in the main and reciprocated in kind. The odd time there was bitter indifference and I could only shrug at that.
But in the host/guest relationship there are duties and responsibilities on both sides. The average UK taxpayer might grumble that they don’t owe Middle-Eastern immigrants a living, particularly in the UK. But if they are now bank-rolling them then surely the least they might expect is that the guests would behave themselves and show a modicum of gratitude to their hosts. I do not think this is an unreasonable expectation.
For the immigrant, they have been, we are told, forced to leave their own countries due to persecution and even wars. Their wealthy Arab/Muslim neighbours refuse to take them in, as in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. But when the Humane European States take them in, feed and house them, pay them and offer them the opportunity of an education, they appear to deeply resent us. It is almost as if they would prefer the European Navies machine-gunned them and their families before they reached these shores. I don’t get it?
Before, during and after the Famine, Irish men and women in their millions became immigrants to countries all over the world. They were universally vilified and hated wherever they went. In several countries they were sold into slavery. Signs such as “No dogs or Irish,” were common wherever they showed up. Far from imposing their religion, language or culture, they had to struggle to even survive and hundreds of thousands of them didn’t. Fast forward to today and compare the Muslim immigrants in any of the EU countries by comparison.
Am I the only one here who senses a bit of irony?