I'm in London and I'm asking myself, "Is this really the place I went to college and used to work for the BBC or is it a foreign city?"
Certainly foreigners outnumber Londoners in the area where I am staying. Men wear beards. Women wear headscarves, complete head coverings or even burkas. It is strange and most unsettling for me--because this is England and these are not visitors, they live here!
I have no objection to someone wearing a headscarf, especially if it is in respect for her religious beliefs. But that someone should be invisible under a complete covering in a Christian country of two thousand years of culture makes me see red. I think it's great that First World countries welcome refugees from Third World places of intolerance and persecution--but I can't see why they are allowed to import their lifetsyle and impose it on the country that has taken them in.
To me a burka or chador or whatever they want to call it is an insult to half the population. It is essentially saying, "I am invisible. I don't matter. I don't count." And women in civilized countries should learn to stand up for themselves and refuse to wear it.
But the government of England has been so falling over backward to be PC and not offend immigrants they they do not try to assimilate--they bring the intolerance and persecution with them.
Another reason to ban the burka is the terrorist aspect. When I pass a tall woman, completely covered including face, I don't know if it's a terrorist with a machine gun or bomb under there.
So I am not easy in London. I can only hope that the next generation of these immigrants wants to fit in, wants to Westernize and refuses to be bullied into submission.
Sorry this isn't a cheerful travelogue, but this is my overwheming feeling in this city.