‘I live in a hostile environment’.
Over the last year, many EU citizens in the UK have said that. So many times.
Harassment? Bullying? Legal uncertainty? Lack of empathy?
Being made into the ‘other’, being publicly vilified, demonized? Encountering obstacle after obstacle, so that life becomes a misery?
Like many other EU citizens, I have encountered all these.
But until a few days ago I thought that maybe it was just a personal perception.
Maybe it’s just because I’m not strong enough. Maybe it’s it because I can’t cope? Do I see a conspiracy where there is only an accidental collision of events? Are the nasty people, the acts of discrimination just unfortunate side effects?
Or do I perceive this all as ‘catastrophic’ because of my history as the survivor of a very difficult childhood? I’ve worked all my life on getting rid of what therapists call my faulty perception, the perception that the world is a hostile environment, because my childhood world was.
So am I sliding back in my recovery, perhaps through the reawakened anxiety that comes from not knowing my fate and future? Can London, the place I loved and felt at home in, really have become a hostile environment for the likes of me?
But a few days ago I had a brutal eye opener.
I am shocked.
Because the answer, in short is yes. It’s not my individual perception.
The hostile environment is real.
It is no accident. It was deliberately created by the UK government. The evidence is there, out in the open. They are in fact quite proud of it.
The EU citizen experience after the Brexit referendum has been an eye opener. A whole series of eye openers, in fact. Eye openers like bottle openers, sharp and painful. Leaving ragged wounds. Injuries that won’t heal.
But a few days ago, following various frightening twitter threads, I stumbled upon an article that suddenly explained the source of a lot of our suffering, the hostile environment. Or, rather, the Hostile Environment — because that’s its official government name.
To be honest, this is more than an eye opener. It’s like eye surgery with a bread knife that pierces the nerve right into the brain. Making my vision sharper, but my heart very heavy.
Here it is, the knife sharp moment:
‘I live in a hostile environment’. Over the last year, many EU citizens in the UK have said that. So many times. Harassment? Bullying? Legal uncertainty? Lack of empathy? Being made into the ‘other’, being publicly vilified, demonized? Encountering obstacle after obstacle, so that life becomes a misery? Like many other EU citizens, I have […] Continue reading
Here are the first few pictures from Nyla’s reading of ‘Slaughterhouse Morning’ at Waterstones Covent Garden on Friday 3 March. Wonderful audience, standing room only for quite a few! Most exciting image: people picking up my book, rapt and immersed. Reading it, buying it. Wow! Continue reading
Nyla Nox will be reading from her first chapter of ‘Slaugtherhouse Morning’. You will be the very first to hear it before the book comes out later in March! Link to the website Continue reading
“I really liked the character Nyla.” ” I also learned a lot about finance and banks in this book. I love books like this, when the author is writing about an industry, and writes it so well that we actually learn something.” “The writing style (like I mentioned above), is very unique. It took me a while to […] Continue reading
A modern-day Boschesque purgatory “Rather than relying on major dramatic moments to carry across the power of the story, it’s the death of a thousand cuts: a steady, minute chipping away of sensitivities, of sensibilities, of defences, of any sense of normality, together with the pathetic gratitude of finally winning horribly minor victories that make […] Continue reading