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Poking fun at immigration

Not sure what happened, but in the last couple of weeks Lithuanian Jotter received quite a few comments, and they really inspired me to post more regularly. I apologise for such a long wait, so in order to get back on track I‘d like to share my little collection of excellent cartoons that were published in British newspapers over the last year or so, which are much more descriptive than any post on this blog. So, Eastern Europeans in the eyes of British cartoonists:

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‘Santa’s Polish, dad’

©Metro, December 2006

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‘Oh, stop moaning! The poor man’s flown all the way from Poland to treat your septic toe.’

© Mac, Daily Mail, 17 January 2008

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On Lithuanian stereotypes, immigration and… art || Away in UK

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“The British feel the competition and they don’t like it, because it makes them work harder”, observes Rokas, a 20 year old Lithuanian photography student, currently living in London.

This and many more rather bold statements are featured in a short documentary story recently produced by Gerifilmai.com, and available online.

And no, Rokas does not pick strawberries in Kent; he wouldn’t know how to lay bricks, and he certainly feels rather upset by the Lithuania-related stereotypes we all have to shake off.

The video is rather short and slightly too one-dimensional to fully explore the subject of immigration impact on the British economy, or the perception of Lithuanians in the UK, but perhaps the slow pace of the interview is proof that there are decent, normal Lithuanian people out there who don’t have to drink drive or commit murder in order to attract attention.

Why is there hatred towards Eastern Europeans in Britain?

As the famous advert goes, ‘Can hate be good? Can hate be great? Can hate be something we don’t hate?’ I’m not so sure anymore. These two stories happened to me in the last half of a year, in both cases while travelling on South West Trains.

On the first occasion, I took a late night train from Guildford to get home. The carriage was rather empty, but at the very end of it I could hear a group of local youngsters ‘messing about’. Their mobiles were blasting with music tunes, the boys were joking around, and the girls were laughing as loud as they could. The ticket collector approached the group and asked politely to remove their feet from the seats and to keep the noise levels to a minimum; otherwise, he would have to ask them to leave the train. Oh dear, the man had his best intentions, but not the best ones for me.

So, the whole group moved down the carriage where I sat. Even though there was plenty of space for as far as you could see, they specifically chose to land onto the seats next to mine.

One boy, not older than 13, asked me a question which I didn’t catch.

‘Pardon me?’ – I asked. I shouldn’t have, I know that now because they heard my accent.

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My Unofficial Oath of Immigration || 35 Things I Do to Integrate

1. I can speak English. I also understand English, and quite a few of the accents, although getting the jokes is sometimes tricky. So, I use subtitles while watching ‘Have I got news for you’ or ‘Mock the week’.

2. I show interest in sports. I can’t call myself a footie gal, but I do watch snooker, and find curling rather amusing.

3. I love pets or animals in general. I would report anyone hurting or kicking their dog to RSPCA without a doubt. I adore watching birds, squirrels and even slugs which seem to be in plentiful number this year.

4. I love a good laugh. I don’t get upset being called ‘sneaky f***g Russian’ as a joke like Boris the Blade from Snatch, even though I am Lithuanian.

5. I absolutely love walks in the countryside.

6. I don’t despise tea with milk, and I always look forward to the occasional full English breakfast. I’ve even come to love custard and Yorkshire pudding. Marmite is still in the pipeline though.

7. I celebrate Easter, Christmas, Mother’s and Valentine’s Day, and of course it’s hard to complain about general Bank Holidays (except that there are not enough of them). I also post tens of Christmas cards, and I sign them all personally. I even send RSVPs to event/function organisers if I am asked to.

8. I remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, and will send out ‘Thank You’ cards / emails / letters as appropriate after attending a meeting, an event, a reception or a dinner party. I will even send ‘Thank you’ cards to estate agents and solicitors if they did a good job. I try to give feedback and testimonials to the companies who performed well, and give feedback (or complain) if they didn’t.

9. I will wait in queues at the Post Office. I will even let someone go ahead of me if they are merely getting one letter sent, and I have a pile of packages of various sizes. I gave up the queue jumping technique a long time ago.

10. I say ‘sorry’ if someone bumps into me.

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