I work in education and recently, I started a new job in a Northern city.
The other day, I went to speak to Sue, my Line Manager, and was told she had already left for home.
I thanked Carol, the other manager who told me this, and I said as I turned to leave the room,
"Hopefully, I'll catch up with Sue first thing tomorrow". To which, Carol, a white, middle-aged English female, responded by saying to me .... 'Inshallah'.
I was halfway through the door and so surprised by this that I practically blinked and turned back to look at her. She was looking very pleased with herself...
'Carol, what did you just say?, ' I asked, trying to keep my tone of voice friendly.
'Oh, I said, 'inshallah', she repeated, as if expecting a woop of delight or a pat on the back from me !
As I said at the beginning of this post, being new to this job and this city, my values and views are not known at all. But my name can be taken as indicating I am of Muslim or of Jewish background... and I certainly look as if I'm of Middle-Eastern or Indian/Pakistani origin.
In previous workplaces, I have experienced years and years of being marginalised, ostracised, stonewalled and generally treated like a pariah. I experienced this, while, on the home front, being constantly punished for abandoning the traditions which all my family members still adhere to... and when I turned to engage in grassroots politics.... I discovered in a very painful way, that left wing activists for peace/justice /human rights ... did not mind me being physically attacked by a muslim mob, when I challenged the right of a muslim father to behead his 16 year old daughter, for having become a Christian...
Forgive me, Dear Reader, if I am not being very articulate about all this, indeed, I am sure I am condensing too much information into one sentence... but be patient, please, for it is part of the consequence of years of isolation....Perhaps this blog will be door out of this condition....
For, it has been my experience that in the Mother of all Democracies, there is much that is too dangerous to say, or say it, and you will be paying a high price, for years to come... and in more forms than the Inspector of Weapons in Iraq, was subjected to.
All of the above, flashed through my mind and ... I thought to myself, 'I cannot engage in any more battles, alone'.
My eyes refocused. I gave this liberal white woman a smile I hoped was not too wane, and I left.