The day after the Brexit vote, I visited with several friends, all of whom were immigrants to London and all of whom felt devastated and nervous about the vote. I went and met one of them at the Polish Cultural Centre where she had a rehearsal and we chatted about many things, not just the vote. She did, though, share with me that everyone there was very anxious about what might happen to them. Much of the anti-immigration sentiment in recent years had been directed at Polish people so they could only begin to imagine what might be ahead. Especially considering their history. My friend had fled Poland after WW2. She escaped a place depleted by the Holocaust and found a home in London. She was nervous about the future.
Two days later, I read that the centre had been vandalized with horrible anti-Polish graffiti on the very doors I had only just gone through days before. And I read that someone had pushed hateful messages in both English and Polish through the doors of an elementary school. The trouble that that hateful person took to do it is the thing that disturbs me the most. He must have found a Polish translation of his hateful message and then he laminated the cards. They were laminated! Laminated hate. Against Poland. Or the idea of Poland. Or Polish people. Or the IDEA of Polish people. It is shocking in its mundanity. I cannot help but picture him in the printing shop, standing by the laminator, waiting for his message to emerge. Or, worse, maybe he works in a school. Somewhere with a laminator in the office and he used the school’s resources to print out his hateful message and then, what the heck! Laminate it. Perhaps while some small child stood by and watched and learned to hate.