Saturday, 24 January 2009

Obama and the Skinhead



On Tuesday 20th January 2009 I was rushing to a meeting in central London when I suddenly realised the time. I called my business partner and said we needed to hold the meeting somewhere near a television screen. I then dived into The Globe pub on the Marylebone Road and texted him. I found somewhere. And they served alcohol. Bonus. I ordered a white wine.

As the crowds in the pub clapped and cheered in a most un-British fashion at first Aretha Franklin taking stage then the great man himself, I noticed a solitary silent man avoiding the screen. A young skinhead stood at the bar looking more than unmoved - he was angry and was refusing to look at the screen.

The image of this boy will stay with me longer than the emotional hopes and outpourings of the day. We are many of us working towards a better world - but let's not get carried away. We need to listen wide to every man, woman and child. We need to tackle ignorance, isolation, marginalisation, pain and anguish - whatever it's root.

6 comments:

Mark said...

The only people I saw not smiling in Washington were a group of preachers who had permission to use bullhorns on a tiny piece of street everyone had to pass to get to Washington Monument. There's was ostensibly not a racist message but a homophobic one: "defense of marriage" in their language. The racial issue surfaced, however, when one guy started ranting about how it's wrong to vote for someone only because of his race. I was going to say something but my wife was smarter. We walked onto grounds of the Waahington Monument and joined 2 million people who felt differently than these preachers of hatred.

How to listen to them? Obama tried with his inclusion of Rick Warren. (He also included Eugene Robinson at the Sunday concert.)

Buddha said...

Hi there!
I was browsing the blogosphere looking for people with similar interests that want to be friends - in a blogging kind of way, so I stopped to say hi!
Wishing you happy bloging and the best in your life.
BoH

Anonymous said...

that's no skinhead...first of all, hair, second of all, spotty trainer top, wheres the fred perry, or the jaytex shirts, just cause someone has short hair, they aren't necessarily a racist, or a skinhead for that matter...so, go talk shit to the punk kiddies, and why would a skinhead in england care what happens in the u.s.a., his leader is white...

caroline said...

@ anonymous - Just as I said "We need to listen wide to every man, woman and child. We need to tackle ignorance, isolation, marginalisation, pain and anguish - whatever it's root". Thanks for your comment

Anonymous said...

Being an Australian, I have no vested interested in the USA. But I am becoming increasingly aware, in MIRC and in blogs, of a hostility that seems distressing - especially in a country that has guns.

Of course half the population will dislike any particular politician, but I am not talking about mere politicial disapproval. I am talking about fear and hatred. Calling Obama the anti-Christ is tantamount to calling for his assassination.

I remember the heartbreak when the socialist Prime Ministers of Sweden and Israel, Olof Palme and Yitzchak Rabin, were assassinated by right wing fanatics. Two beautiful men who KNEW they were hated and were targeted.

Hels
Art and Architecture, mainly

Anonymous said...

Being an Australian, I have no vested interested in the USA. But I am becoming increasingly aware, in MIRC and in blogs, of a hostility that seems distressing - especially in a country that has guns.

Of course half the population will dislike any particular politician, but I am not talking about mere politicial disapproval. I am talking about fear and hatred. Calling Obama the anti-Christ is tantamount to calling for his assassination.

I remember the heartbreak when the socialist Prime Ministers of Sweden and Israel, Olof Palme and Yitzchak Rabin, were assassinated by right wing fanatics. Two beautiful men who KNEW they were hated and were targeted.