Hi, my name is Sukant Chandan. I’m 32 years old. I was born in Chandigarh in North India, in Punjab, in April 1978. I always say, teasingly to my parents, they brought me here, in the winter of 1981 without my consent, at the age of three and a half. . . .
I remember being on the flight to this country, in ’81, in Christmas, arriving at Heathrow Airport, and seeing this snow-covered land. Snow is called barf in our language and sweets are called barfi, and snow looks like some Indian sweets, we have Indian sweets that look like white snow. So I thought: Wow, sweets everywhere, I’m so lucky to come to this country in a way. But when I tasted the snow, I realized it didn’t taste very good. That may be a little story that sums up a lot of experiences of people who come to this country. . . .
Really I think, for young people and not so young people who have come from other parts of the world and live here, who have traveled and made this their home, the challenge for us is to respect ourselves and who we are. It remains a question whether non-white people can be accepted as who they are in the West. Right now there’s a big controversy in the West: the Western governments want people like us to assimilate and integrate, we must know the language, we mustn’t support the freedom struggles of our people in Palestine or Iraq or Afghanistan or other places.
We have won, historically, the right to come here, in the 50s and the 60s and the 70s, when the West wanted, literally, us to do their dirty work here and they wanted us out. But we fought for our right to stay here, against the government and against the Far Right and racist organizations and movements. So, we’ve won our right to stay here. We’re here to stay, permanently. That right has been won. Now, I think, the final challenge is for us to completely take over the West. . . .
By 2040-2045, the United States will become a majority non-white country. The majority ethnic group will be Hispanics. In Europe, by 2050, in England, ethnic minorities will comprise about 20% of the population. That’s still a small amount — currently we’re only 8% — but you have to see we are strategically positioned: we are strategically positioned in the metropolitan areas of the West, which are the most important areas. Since the late 40s and 50s, non-white people, especially Black people from the Caribbean, have had a major political and cultural impact in this country to such an extent that most of our youth culture, our dress, our street slang, is from Caribbean culture actually. Reggae and hip-hop and dancehall and R&B are music of the trans-Atlantic Black experience. We’ve really transformed the West, and we’re continuing to transform the West. And the West is very nervous, because the West is losing its control of the world, and now I think the West is thinking, “Well, we’ve lost control of the world, we don’t wanna lose control of our own countries,” which is actually occurring at the moment as well.
My advice to everyone, white and non-white:
To white people I’d say, “Respect non-white people. Respect them according to who they are.” Who they are is usually very friendly and very nice and we only want the West to treat us with mutual respect, with peace and friendship.
And to non-white people I’d say, “Never forget who you are, where you came from, and your loyalty to that,” because in the West they will try in a million ways, and in ways that you are conscious and subconscious, to try and strip away your loyalty to your people. And your loyalty to your people is more important than the loyalty to the English white people, because white people in the West only comprise a very small minority of the people of the world. The majority of the world are non-white people who are still suffering, who still need to be freed from poverty and other social and political constraints.
And I think white people should join in that struggle. They should join in those struggles because it’s through joining in those struggles that white people free themselves from their own constraints and from their own oppressions, because the people who are making cuts, social cuts, in England today are the same people who have created havoc and tragedy before in the British empire and today — which is the last desperate gasps of the British empire — in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So, stay strong, enjoy your time here, and get back a little of that which the British took from you.
Sukant Chandan is a London-based political analyst and filmmaker and runs the SonsofMalcolm.com blog. He can be contacted on <firstname.lastname@example.org>. This video was released on 5 April 2011. The text above is an edited partial transcript of this video. See, also, Civilians for Peace, “British Peace Delegation Heads for Libya to Call for an End to the Killing” (MRZine, 7 April 2011). Cf. Hisham Aidi, “‘Let Us Be Moors’: Islam, Race and ‘Connected Histories'” (Middle East Report, Winter 2003); Moustafa Bayoumi, “The Race Is On: Muslims and Arabs in the American Imagination” (Middle East Report Online, March 2010); <www.decolonialtranslation.com>; <www.indigenes-republique.fr>; oumma.com>; www.webislam.com>.