Xenophobia, Bad Behaviour and the Blame Game

I don't normally blog about politics, even though I have strong opinions (don't we all?) but sometimes politics and events in your home country overlap with the kind of character analysis you find yourself doing all the time as a writer and sometimes you just have to say something.

Way back in 1983, the Russians were accused of shooting down a passenger airliner, with great loss of life. It was one of those terrible incidents that could be attributed to a horrific set of coincidences - always much more likely to occur at times of international tension. The aircraft had strayed off course, and the Russian fighter planes claimed that they couldn't identify it as a civilian aircraft. Disaster ensued.

Our tabloids, of course, had a field day. I had only moved to this village some three years previously. And I had an Eastern European surname. It's my dad's name and I'm proud of it, so I always tended to use it professionally, even after I got married. But of course all Eastern European names sound the same to many people, and - going about my business on the quiet street where I live - I found myself the target for name calling and jeering from a group of young lads.

My husband happened to know and like the father of the chief culprits. He had a quiet word and it all stopped, as if by magic. And that was that.

The interesting thing though, is that those 'culprits' were not the chief culprits at all. They were invariably the fall guys. They are all grown up now, and they never really got up to any more than minor mischief. This is still a rural area, where farmers don't stand for any nonsense and everyone knows their neighbours. But the more I kept an eye on the dynamics of that group of lads, back then, the more obvious it became that the real villain, in a small way, was the neat, clever, good-looking, middle class boy whom everyone praised as being 'such a nice boy'. He would set up situations but when retribution struck, he was nowhere to be seen.

One example will suffice. From a distance, I saw him kick a football at a martin's nest, on the eaves of one of the old cottages, deliberately dislodging it and bringing it down into the street. A moment or two later, an irate householder emerged, to find the usual suspects, still hanging about looking guilty, while the real culprit had - as if by magic - melted into the scenery. He always contrived to do it, and for all I know, he may be doing it still.

He may have gone into politics, where he is still destroying lives, and then melting into the scenery, leaving those less cunning to take the blame.




Comments

gz said…
Sadly it is so,in villages,in families, in politics