Friday, August 29, 2008

Deport them! Deport the bloody lot of them!

"Not Local?" There are times you wonder if The League of Gentlemen was filmed in Hastings.
East Sussex native Emma Munn on the final testament to the town's soaring race hate crisis.

Thousands of language students come to Hastings and other coastal town across southern England every year, providing a boost to the economy and filling the streets with excited teenagers from all over the world. Mohammed Al Majed was one of them.

The wealthy 16 year old had come from Qatar to improve his English over the summer and was a week away from being reunited with his parents when, for no apparent reason other than being Arab, was set upon by a group of youths outside a seafront Kebab house.
He was beaten, kicked, had bottles thrown at him together with jeering insults of 'Bin Laden'. These bold citizens also took turns at stamping on his head until, racked by severe injuries, he died in the street.

Once a fashionable resort during the Victorian era frequented by poets, artists and writers, Hastings popularity has gone into sharp decline over the past 30 years. During the 40s and 50s it was a haven for Londoners wanting a cheap seaside break, but with the introduction of package holidays lost its quaint appeal, resulting in massive financial losses and unemployment.
Walking though this town (where I spent most of my teenage life) the initial reaction is one of uneasiness and slight sadness. The seafront is a mess of large, once grand and expensive townhouses now converted into squalid flats or boarded up, paint peeling and gardens overgrown. The promenade is full of hooded youths clutching cans of Skol and, as a final blow to the ambience of the seafront, the pier was closed two years ago and now stands rotting. The whole image is one of despair and neglect.

Foreign students here are treated with contempt. This year, between April and August alone, there were 100 reported assaults on language students. Not surprising when you consider that in this small town there are 37.1 violent crimes for every 1000 people against a national average of 16, and drug offences rose sharply by 30% in 2007. This is a town of just over 80,000 people. It doesn't take a genius to work out that Hastings has some problems.

The usual concurrence between locals regarding those-who-are-not-English is one of 'Get rid of them, there's too many and they're taking over' quickly followed by the typical '...Don't get me wrong though, I'm not racist or anyfink'. Coupled and finished off with the extreme, laughable ignorance of 'I'm sick of them, these people are a drain on the economy. They come here saying they are in danger then they don't leave. They take our jobs and money'.
Poetry in motion by a populace who can't even separate asylum seekers and immigrants from kids spending 5 weeks in their town and spending a fortune for the privilege of doing so. Work out for yourselves who is more of a drain on society.

Flicking through an EF brochure at work, I noticed that Hastings was one of three towns offered to students over the summer to study at. The other two, Oxford and Cambridge, were general descriptions of the town, brief history and other basic information. Hastings however was more like a competition for how many times you can fit the words safe and safety into one paragraph; 'A safe environment for students, a safe town center, comfort and safety in a great town to learn in, safe, safe, safe' as if the town was so desperate to portray itself as something it isn't. Hastings is a town so safe that students who go out drinking in the town leave the bars early to avoid the locals, and sometimes leave the town altogether for evenings out, preferring the liberal atmosphere of Brighton.

Rife unemployment, poor education, the small-town mentality of people who are bringing up their kids with the racial views of the worst League of Gentlemen standard (all non-whites and non-English don't work and take benefits that I could have) and bad diets of crap, misinformed newspapers and magazines are conducive to breeding new generations of ignorant and sometimes violent individuals without basic principles. Hastings in the lead up to the next decade will be the flagbearer of all these things.

The harsh fact is that if you are a foreign student wanting to improve your English abroad this year, the 'safest' thing you can do in the future is avoid Hastings at all costs.


Anonymous said...

But it seems to me that almost the entire local population of Hastings are on benefits. and they spend their giro on cheap booze to be guzzled by the rusty shut-down pier.

No question though. Those foreign students should be beaten up. You know why? For their stupidity in picking the arsehole of England, such a dodgy, supercrap town as their FOREIGN HOLIDAY destination!

How dumb can you be??????

Anonymous said...

I heard some guy once got shot in the eye in Hastings. BY A FOREIGNER.

Anonymous said... let's beat up all those 16-year-old French students, shall we?...

Luchenzo said...

Hastings always seems to get kicked, as if it's the only place that has these problems. These attitudes are rife across England, especially in poor communities of educational under-achievers. Perhaps Hastings suffers because it's a working class town in a middle class county, surrounded by predjudiced sneerers?

However just down the coast a foreign student was killed in Brighton a few years ago during the World Cup for 'being foreign'. Yet Brighton - which hides many of its problems on its outlying estates and has a much bigger drug issue than Hastings, as does Oxford - remains 'cool'.

Your article is one-sided and doesn't recognise the great diversity of Hastings, the wonderful improvements that have come with regeneration investment, and the rich cultural heritage and massive cultural events scene. Maybe pop back down for the next St Leonards Festival and see how people of all backgrounds party together.

Also I don't think anyone has drunk Skol lager for 20 years, even in 'unfashionable' Hastings.

claude said...

IMHO the denial such as the one from the last commenter can only contribute to the problem.

"No, it's not happening on my doorstep", "not my son", and "yeah but also in other places" ain't gonna do much good, Luchenzo.

Also, mouthing off about a "one-sided article" that glosses over the "rich diversity" of Hastings (when said piece was about an innocent bloke stamped to death) is a bit in bad taste, dont you find, Luchenzo?

Unless you really believe that, when drive-by shootings in London or Birmingham appear in the papers, reporters should end their article with a paragraph or two about the beauty of the Big Ben or Brum's industrial heritage. Fancy that.

Luchenzo said...

Claude, you're missing the point of the article in your chivalrous rush to defend its author.

The article is an attack on the town of Hastings.

It makes a reference to the death of a student.

But the article is not about the student. It's about Hastings.

That's why my comment is fair.

The death of Mohammed Al-Majed shocked, distressed and disgusted everyone in Hastings.

(Just to add, some might not know: the murder was committed by a thug visiting from Bermondsey, South London, not a local.)

claude said...

when you mentioned Bermondsey with regards to the awful crime committed you glossed over the lovely Church of St Mary Magdalen that has existed since at least the 13th century in the South London borough.

Seriously, though. There are a few points to be made:

1) This is a blog. It's not as if we have to adhere to the BBC's code of impartiality or similar. We think that the town of Hastings is rough? We think that.

It may not be the only city that is rough - obviously (my beloved Bham has had 11 shooting incidents since January 2010 but I ain't clinging onto their "great diversity" when I talk about the current rise in violent attacks)- but in this specific article it's Hastings and its proud history of attacks against foreign students that we're talking about. Full stop.

Sure, you're welcome to comment and say that it's not true, but we are also free to blog otherwise.

2) Take a look at this.

Those are the 2008/09 figures from the police and local authority. They compare various crime statistics in Hastings vs the English average. I'm afraid to say that your beloved town doesn't come out on top. Or actually it does, in the sense that crime in Hastings, no matter the angle you're looking at it, is clearly above the national average

Sure, you've got an impressive castle (which everybody should visit, i thoroughly recommend) and a superquaint 14th century old pub (though I fail to understand why you let that pier rot), but Hastings seems to be one of the many English cities with a social problem. Just take it in your stride and, if you really do care, try to do something about it instead of crying that "but also other places too...!", "it's not just us...!", coz that won't do any good.

3) The main culprit may hail from Bermondsey, but not the rest of the gang. A quick googling about will inform you. Just saying.

Best of luck and try to rescue that pier!!! It broke my heart when I saw it closed.