Christopher, I read your reply to Marc Herzog's article, and a
strange feeling passed through my entire body. The feeling was of
fear, horror and misunderstanding. So my question, what is going
I am French, and came in your country for two years in order to
study network and distributed systems. Why did I came here and not
go to Germany, America or wherever? Because one of the Napier's
teachers came into my school in France and asked me to join Napier,
a very good and interesting university they said.
So I asked a lot of people about your country, to find out what
French people thought of Scotland. Every person I met talked about
Scotland being full of really kind and interesting people. "It
is a beautiful country…you will enjoy over there...”
So I came to Scotland with hope and happiness. When I first arrived
in Edinburgh I very much liked the architecture, the nice buildings,
the people were nice and there was a lot of garden and green field
everywhere. I never saw people looking for trouble. Then, I saw
an advert, entitled: "No place for Racism", then another:
"One Scotland, Many cultures." So I wondered: why they
need to make advertisements like that, if they are open-minded and
Thereafter, I settled down and started trying to understand, as
you said, the etiquettes, cultures and laws of your country, the
prices for housing were really high, so I though I would need to
work to earn my living. My English is not the best, but when you
write that the guy in the disco did not speak very much English,
you must admit that in Scotland, you do not speak English, you speak
Scottish and for foreign people, it is really a hassle to understand
you (especially when you are drunk...). So, anyway, I started to
look for a job, and went from place to place in order to find one.
All the places where I saw a sign written: ‘Staff wanted apply
within’; always gave the same answer: "Sorry, but we
already have someone who is starting this afternoon..." with
a great smile. “So why did you leave the sign on?” I
replied to them. “I forget to take it off”, they said.
Even a few days later, the sign was still there.
So I had to work as waiter in catering agency, where the employees
are mostly French and Spanish.
I started then to understand the Scottish culture, as you said
"the etiquettes and culture": party after party, wedding
after wedding, drink as much as you can - not for the taste but
for the effect. I saw bride’s father drunk, lying on the table
sleeping, the groom lying not so far from him... Incredible, also
drunk waiters and barmen, I was not used to that, nor seeing the
quantity of alcohol that the women can drink. The same women who
are partying, almost naked, kissing each other on the lips, grabbing
each other by the breasts, laughing and having fun of it. Maybe
the man who did that to your girlfriend did not see that she had
a boyfriend and thought it worked in that way in your culture to
get a lady.
The time when I understood most of your Scottish culture was two
days ago, was when I was coming back from work with my flatmate
and we got attacked by Scots without any apparent reason (just for
fun I think), no warning, only a big fist on the nose, followed
by kick in the head, and a lot of bad words toward us that were
not said in "English", after they ran away.
I felt very bad for your country, because of the lack of reasons
for the attack. We did nothing, only walk home after 12 hours of
work, exhausted, and too tired to handle a fight, I hoped they had
done it on another day, a day which I wouldn't have worked so much
and so long, a day were I could defend myself...
So is that the Scottish culture? Drinking, drinking, drinking again,
men as women, and then having fun fighting with foreign people.
I used to say: "If you get angry when you drink, do not drink,
or go sleeping straight after". I spoke with a lot of people
at work after the fight and they all have a similar story. I do
feel really bad about what happened to me because it is really the
first time (and last I hope) that such a thing has happened to me.
I have been in Paris, Lyon, Milan, Rome, New York, Chicago, and
more cities where I have not got into trouble, but in Edinburgh,
I will not go back home, not under the fist or feet of hooligans,
nor reading racist articles in newspapers, because I do not want
to make them feel they won. Three days ago, when I read your letter,
Christopher, I felt bad, two days ago, I felt even worst when I
got attacked, but I am going to stay here and show these people
that foreign people are not all bad, and that they can behave better
than some Scots. I am really sorry for my English, which is poor,
but I hope you get the message, I do not think that you are racist,
but were angry that your girlfriend had some trouble and I can understand
that, if you want to show me the way you live, the Scottish etiquettes
and culture, feel free to contact me, I will be more than happy
to meet you, and to share a bit of your culture with a bit of mine.
In reply to the inane ramblings of Mr Christopher Deacon in the
last issue of Veritas (November 21).
His spurious tale of an indecent assault on his “girlfriend”
by an “Asian looking gentleman” in a Glasgow nightclub
seems to be nothing more than thinly disguised racist ramblings,
which are both offensive and embarrassing. The yarn lacks credibility,
and the childish threats of reciprocal violence undermine any valid
point he may have wished to make.
His description of: “PC Plod and his fellow doughnut munching
halfwits,” is completely unjustified and is clearly based
on nothing more than seventeen years of watching ‘The Simpsons’
This letter wasted more than half a page in Veritas; space that
should be used as a forum for serious and sensible debate –
not as a soapbox for ignorance, bigotry and childish bravado.
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