陳真1997. 8. 15.
An Open Letter to the British People
Emir Chen 1997. 8. 15.
We are a group of students mainly from Asian countries, studying at universities in different parts of Britain. Your country is a nation with a rich and diverse culture, with attractive characteristics in all places. However, whether in Cambridge, York, Oxford or Edinburg, there is one common “characteristic” –racial discrimination.
During day time or at night, on quiet alleys or busy streets, almost every Asian student, male or female, has had the experience of being called names, harassed, obstructed in the street, or even physically assaulted. Within the short distance of one street , it is possible to have to confront abusive language from both adults and children several times. In these incidents, the offended persons are mostly female students. This is to say, besides racial discrimination, there is also sexual discrimination. We hold that all these violations of human rights have to be stopped.
Every civilized Britain person would agree: though Asian students suffer, the greatest victim of these two problems is Britain itself, because the protection of human rights is an essential part of the progress towards a civilized life. We believe that the majority of the British people live up to Britain’s long tradition of civilized life, which is exemplified by its achievements in political reform, or by its concern, in recent years, for animal welfare. During our stay in this country, we have made many British friends and feel from them a deep sense of cordial friendship; we have also experienced goodwill from people whose names we do not even know. However, the ignorant behaviour of some British people has blemished Britain’s good name.
We come from different countries each with its own problems; this is why we are willing to bear the emotional suffering of being away from our homelands, our relatives and friends, in order to come to Britain. We hope that one day, our homelands could be the same as your country, making a sustained and important contribution to the development of civilization. However, we not only care about the future of our own homelands and people, we keep reminding ourselves that we have to do the same for your land and people. We believe that what we intend to carry out today is the best way to show our gratitude. This is one of the reasons that we have chosen to do this. We believe that the majority of the British people will support our cause.
Furthermore, we ask ourselves how we are to contribute to progress in our own countries, if, as educated, articulate people, we cannot even ask for justice on the most elementary issues of human rights for ourselves. If all our intellectual achievements were only for personal advancement, they would not be worth much.
We do not wish to instruct the British government and tell the British people what to do. We believe that if these problems could be honestly acknowledged, effective policies and methods for education could be attained. In order to speed up the process, we plan, in our little spare time from our studies and research and with our limited resources, to carry out the following actions, with no exact timetable:
1. advocate the basic values and essence of human rights;
2. publish articles and pamphlets;
3. ask people to write to non-governmental organizations and government officials regarding this matter.
If these actions still do not improve the situation of racial and sexual discrimination, we will pursue other non-violent methods such as marches, consecutive sit-ins and fasts. We hope that through these actions, racial and sexual discrimination can be confronted so that British society may progress toward a situation in which the human rights of all races and sexes will be fully respected.