Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Thursday 23 May 2013

There is Nothing to Say

There is nothing left to say. 

Nothing seems to make a difference, and I am tired. 

I think many of us are tired.

I am caucasian and anglo, and nominally christian. I am liberal, educated, somewhat politically aware, and it all makes me sick and despairing.

It began, I suppose when my Scottish mother married my English father. It wasn’t a very big deal, not much of a cultural leap of faith, not very demanding to expect people to accept the union, I suppose. Nevertheless, that’s where it began, with my very middle-class, Scottish raised mother marrying my working-class, English father. They had very little in common with regard to family and background, but they’ve now been married for 57 years, so something worked.

One way or another things didn’t stop there, and, now, my children have cousins who are mixed caucasian/asian, christian/hindu and their cousins are mixed asian/west indian. They have cousins who are mixed caucasian/asian, christian/sikh. Beyond that, my niece married an Egyptian boy and my cousin married a Taiwanese girl. My younger daughter’s first boyfriend was also Mauritian.

We are a culturally rich family, and we all feel the benefits of entering into close relationships with wonderful people, whoever they might be and wherever they might hail from. 

Death is among us again, this time with a fatal attack on a soldier in Woolwich, ostensibly because of our differences of skin colour and belief systems. Death is among us again because of hatred and desperation, because of cruelty and prejudice, and because of an utter lack of understanding.

There is nothing left to say.

Nothing seems to make a difference, and I am tired.

When we failed to play nicely as children, when we fell out and fought, when we bickered and sulked, my mother would admonish us saying that she wondered how nations could be expected to live happily side by side when brothers and sisters couldn’t.

The truth is, in the end, that brothers and sisters can live happily side by side, and they can do it with a complex set of relationships with spouses and children, an extended family grown over decades with new members successfully integrated from any number of backgrounds. They can do it without diplomacy, without politics and without expert negotiators. They can do it with love and common sense, because they are people first.

There is nothing left to say.

Nothing seems to make a difference, and I am tired.


  1. This is so true. It is also disappointing to see the hate escalate on social media networks, with online mobs forming and prejudice reaching boiling point. There really is nothing left to say.

  2. It is not just the fulmination of hate groups that are saddening. By the time I heard about events they had already been coated in political spin: a prominent prophet of "rational" thought using it to advance his thesis that religion=insanity; a liberal media outlet editorialising not on the personal horror but on how there is bias in reporting of murders.

    I believe families, friendships, neighbourhoods work together because we see the victims of actions as individuals and not examples of a trend or reasons to make a new law.

    Unfortunately seeing people as individuals is often more intellectually and emotionally intensive than seeing them as merely part of a group, so the people who understand deepest that we need to see beyond prejudice are the ones with the least energy spare to speak the message.

    I am hopeful.

  3. my dad grew up in belfast, and my mother is english (...)
    she goes to church most, and he's more of a taoist (hah)

    I'm not sure if my open acceptance of cultures and ethnicities is down to my parents experiences and open-mindedness, the hassles I got for my accent when I moved here, or some other relationship, not unlike why I like many different styles of music.

    in some ways it'd be easy to argue that terrorism in it's less media friendly form has been part and parcel of living in the British Isles, not that it sucks any less with time. perhaps that's worth reminding the Americans sometimes.

    I've often wondered how other people receive some of the same input that I have in my years but come out kinda shit, or as my dad once explained to me "not right in the head". while that hasn't really been the driving force behind getting my psychology degree, it has given me the tools to examine the evidence gathered so far.

    in some ways the modern media / social media / internet / flat-world / culture export model has failed. with all the technology and access in the world and we still can't quite get past the same old dumb shit.

    fighting over who lived where back then over there, who has the best dogma operating system for life, the same old perpetual warfare over chunks of rock or other commodities we "need" because we built industries around them like a booze habit around an insecurity (and we have plenty of industries for those too!).

    sometimes it amazes me that no matter how much has changed, some things remain lamely the same. sometimes I wonder if we're "village idiot" of this galaxy ...

  4. The way I see it, the only applicable reaction is unconditional solidarity with all victims. What I see, unfortunately, is the EDL using this incident to spread their own malicious propaganda, otherwise ordinary people posting racist and ignorant bile…

    …and muslims rushing to the defence of Islam.

    How about some sympathy for the actual victim and his family and friends? I’ve only seen a few comments expressing that sort of sympathy instead of pushing group agendas.