Britain – Wake Up!

As the dark and horrifying mists of WWII began to drift across Europe, its tendrils seeking out the disillusioned and the hateful, filling every dingy corner of the continent, an unwelcome guest hopped across the stormy waters of the English Channel and came to stay for a while on our little island. This guest wasn’t a spy or an asylum seeker. It wasn’t actually a person, it was an ideology.
Fascism had come for a visit.

He entered Britain having traveled from his homeland across the waves, and was willingly hosted by thousands of upright citizens from all sections of society. A man called Oswald Mosley was in charge of hospitality, he organised parties and demonstrations to make this new arrival to our kingdom feel welcome, and slowly but surely, fascism became a friendly lodger and a familiar face at dinner tables across the land.

Eventually, it looked like fascism might decide to become a permanent resident. He was here to stay. One fateful day, Mosley organised a big parade, with fascism leading from the helm, passing right through the East End of London, home of the Jews, a group of people fascism did not consider as friends. 3000 people turned out to the march, donned in black shirts and boots, ready to cheer their new acquaintance through the streets. 6000 police would protect them, this was freedom of speech.

But Britain woke up.

100,000 people gathered on Cable Street to say ‘Fascism, your stay is over.’ They built barricades and blocked the road, threw vegetables and insults, and decided that this guest was no longer welcome in our homes. The police tried to clear a path, but you cannot clear a path if the street has disappeared. There was blood and arrests, screaming and smoke, and by the end of that day, Britain had won a great battle. Fascism packed up and left and was welcomed back with outstretched arms by his friends in Europe.

This Saturday, fascism’s great grandson is coming back for a visit.
There’s going to be a parade, through the Jewish heartland of London, with the banner of anti-Jewification fluttering in the winds of hate. They are going to rip apart the holy books which contain the essence of a Jew’s mission in this world. They are going to burn an effigy of the leader of the only Jewish state on earth. They are going to protest against a population which has helped to build our country into what it is today. They will be protected by the police, this is freedom of speech after all.

The alarm clock is ringing, but Britain is still sleeping.

Yes, this may only turn out to be a damp squib, a handful of nutters coming to shout their slogans to an audience of noone.
Yes, to react loudly might validate them and spread their message even further, whilst if we stay quiet they may not even be loud enough to drown out the sound of Sabbath songs and laughing children which permeates the air each Saturday.

Yes, it might even be cancelled before it starts. The equivalent of hitting the snooze button and waiting for it to kick off again, louder and more violent than ever before.

But that’s all besides the point.

Britain, the alarm bell is ringing. Our leaders need to react, to say that free speech is not a licence to hate freely. The media needs to inform the world that Britain does not support the actions of her wayward sons. But most importantly, the descendants of the 100,000 of Cable Street need to stand up and say, ‘We will not stand for this, we will stand in the way of this, just as our grandparents once did.’
Britain – Wake Up.

About the Author
Mikey Lebrett currently lives in Manchester and studied for two years in Israel, at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavne. He completed a degree in Pharmacology at Queen Mary University of London, and is now studying for a PhD at the University of Manchester. Mikey is heavily involved in Jewish communal life, and has considerable experience in Jewish Informal Education.
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