Saturday, 29 March 2008

The UK, in the eyes of an Afghan taxi driver [UK, în ochii unui şofer de taxi afgan]

In order to balance a bit my disproportionately favourable views of the UK, I guess I should report the opinion of a man from Afghanistan who simply wouldn’t like to live in this country for good.

For the time being, as an engineering student and part time taxi driver, he finds the UK a great place to be, he praises the overall openness and tolerance of the Brits towards foreigners, but he wouldn’t hang around too much here after he graduates.

This is no country where to have a family,” he says, complaining (as the British media) about the huge number of divorces, and the general individualistic attitudes of the people here, that brings about promiscuity, and thus the distintegration of the traditional family model.

And I bet he wasn’t refering exclusively to the Brits, but to any people (from any corner of the world) drawn to the mirage of UK capitalism, who lose sight of what’s most valuable in life, in order to be part of this economic success story.

I assume that he could find a wife within the Afghan expat community, however, he wants to raise a family in his own country. No, he didn’t seem insane to me for not being afraid or fed-up with the war in his native country, “because there have been wars ever since I was born”.

As for poverty?,” I asked. He doesn’t fear it either, and would only work for about a year in the UK, but not to save money as I assumed. He wants to gain professional experience that would help him in Afghanistan.

Apart form the people here being “too materialistic”, neither he likes the British food, which he finds much better in the barren Aghanistan, “because everything you eat there is from someone’s garden, not from supermarkets”. I happen to have nothing against the food; I admit that it’s tastier on the Continent, but I can eat whatever I find here.

As for the people in the UK, in spite of the fact that I observe the same things as this Afghan guy, I don’t find them neither more secular than Romanians I work and live among in Romania, nor do I think this is unchangeable.

My dear Orthodox brothers met here prove to me that the Kingdom of God is indeed within our hearts, and that all men can change, anyone can be saved, whilst our Lord Jesus Christ can be found anywhere.

Nevertheless, this student – in his early twenties I presume, speaking perfect English, and with a very neat appearance, contrary to whatever prejudice about the Afghans, we, the civilised ones (?!) might have – really shames me, along with other fellow countrymen who often find ourselves complaining about “tough times” in Romania.

Here’s a man coming from a severely impoverished Muslim country, who has what I would call a healthy outlook on life. Unlike him, I’m hearing about Romanians planning to leave Italy and Spain to come here in the UK, in order to gain more.

But let us all (I include myself), think a bit from this man’s perspective – is there really much to gain, and at what cost, since a man from Afghanistan believes there’s nothing worth leaving his country?

[Pentru toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la/For all the posts on this blog go to: Contents/Cuprins]


Anonymous said...

money, money, money...
doesn't worth changing...
but UK continues to be a mirage...

MunteanUK said...

@ C.L.

It's interesting that Britain remains a 'mirage' for people from 'civilised' Europe, while an Afghan guy knows better what matters most in life.

Anonymous said...

maybe because there (in his country) he has nothing, he lives a very simple life and appreciate the simplest things, which we have forgotten in our chase after shopping, after money, after the luxury and convenience...

MunteanUK said...

@ C.L.

Undoubtedly, we - the modern & 'civilised' ones are SICK, while this Afghan guy is the HEALTHY one.