Family ties

I was prompted by an article I read yesterday to create an image collage of the flags of my ancestry. The picture is a recent one of me that Will took when I was out in my new chair for a hospital appointment (you can’t see the chair much, admittedly). The flags are as follows:

Left, top to bottom:

  1. England
  2. Breizh (Brittany)
  3. France
  4. Kernow (Cornwall)

Right, top to bottom:

  1. Mandate of Palestine 1924 CE (even the coins of this era said Eretz Yisrael, “State of Israel” on them)
  2. Mandate of Palestine 1927 – 1948 CE
  3. Soviet/ Socialist Bosnia
  4. Japan

Some of them I might just be related to rather than descended from if that makes sense, such as Cornwall and Bosnia. I certainly got an earful about the Bosnian war when growing up (Fun fact: I had a boyfriend once who simply didn’t believe in the Bosnian genocide. He said he had never heard of it, that he couldn’t find anything about it, and he thought I was making it up. I don’t know how I stayed with him as long as I did).

Being Breizhad (Breton) I obviously identify with the Cornish desire of separation from England. Not that the bombings are good.

For some reason I always thought that Bosniaks aren’t Slavs, and so if I love Cyrillic and Russian and the Czech Rep, it’s fine because it’s not something related to myself. But apparently Bosniaks are South Slavic. So if I am descended from rather than just related to some Bosniaks, it’s like life is going “Haha, you were a Slav all along!”

Although that might explain why I like Cyrillic so much, maybe my brain sees it as a safe familiar thing. Having said that, Bosnian Cyrillic is now disused and I don’t know it anyway. And other languages confuse me, especially Macedonian, with a Ќ. What am I supposed to do with an accented K? My brain tells me to go Kéh! but that’s probably wrong.

Anyway I have gone on a big tangent.

Here is the passage I wrote in response to an article I read, which in turn prompted a collage of ancestral flags:

People keep harping on about how immigrants don’t assimilate and are going to change the ethnic makeup and appearance of the entire country.
As somebody who is pretty bloody mixed, let me tell you why that is bollocks.
I come across as the average English person, unless you can pick up on the occasional Breton (swear)words I throw in to try and keep hold of them, or you can identify my very Breton nose.
I speak English all the time, even though I garble it because of Dysautonomia. I have a roughly English sense of personal space that I don’t like people crossing into. I don’t like tea, though, and that sometimes gives me away. But basically, I seem so English that many people feel they can vent their racist and xenophobic thoughts at me. Oops.
I’m Breton Celt on Mum’s side, Arab from the old Mandate of Palestine on my dad’s side, with a bit of Mizrahi, Japanese and some others thrown in for good measure.
According to Britain First’s gloomy forecast, I should be dark skinned and refusing to speak English in the street. I also should definitely hate Christians and the “British way of life,” even though my sister converted to Christianity and I’m reconnecting with Judaism after being raised with the Breton Pagan religion.
My sister and I are white as office paper and naturally red-headed. My Arabic is non-existent, my Hebrew is bad, I don’t speak Bosnian, or Cornish, or Brythonic, I used to speak Japanese fairly well but certainly not like a fully Japanese person would and I’ve definitely not kept up with it. I can still throw out some French and Breton, because I used to speak them at home and they roll off the tongue easier than other languages do.
The point is that, unless I give a long-winded explanation, nobody knows that I’m foreign as all hell. I have not disrupted England’s national identity, and neither will my children. And as the article that prompted this ramble shows, people from immigrant families identify more with the nationality of where they are, rather than where their families came from. This is the exact opposite of refusing to assimilate.
I like being in England. I have affinity for other places, but I live here. I fear leaving the EU or having to move elsewhere if a (more) fascist party is elected, precisely because I like England so much.
Both sides of my family liked England too, evidenced by the fact that none of them remained in their original countries. They very happily assimilated with where they went and, down the line, here I am, looking perfectly English.

If anyone else feels like showing their family flags, I’d love to see them! I am quite the vexillophile.

I suppose it’s bloody typical that my dad never mentioned anything about Jordan. This new information also revises the position I had in this post about the West Bank.

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