‘So, where are you from? Oh.. let me guess. You’re Russian!’ says this person that I’ve never seen in my life, after I hold the door for her to get in the restaurant.
‘ No, I’m actually Romanian’ I say, thinking that this will lead to some unwanted and silly more questions.
‘Is it true that one million Romanians are coming on the 1st of January?’…. and I was right!
‘Of course it’s true! There will be no jobs left for you guys, no fish and chips left either, and everyone will have to learn to speak Romanian because we cannot speak English’
This last question was the most frequently asked question in the last few months since the media started to write on and on about the ‘invasion of one million Romanians and Bulgarians’. Everyone was panicking, including 90 ministers who tried to close the border at the beginning of January this year. But the 1st of January came and the media, plus Keith Vaz, went to the airport to welcome the Romanians which were represented by one person. One bloody Romanian. They had no choice therefore so the Brits welcomed him with their arms open (especially on Twitter) and did nothing to stop him. They made the poor man famous because he wants to work so he can repair his house in Romania. We’re invading and we’re coming one by one.
Me, as a Romanian, I was certain that the one million thing won’t happen in the first day of the year. Romanians might look in your eyes as conquerors of the English job market but we quite like to be with our families for Christmas and New Year and celebrate the holidays. We don’t think about invading Luton airport while we can comfortable sit on the sofa , holding a beer and having a laugh with our friends while watching Home Alone without the Romanian subtitle.
I am a media person and I read newspapers, especially when they write about my country and the people I grew up with, so I must say that some newspapers disappointed me a lot. English media exaggerated the ‘invasion’ and the main disappointment was The Sun newspaper and its front page on immigration. It generated quite a reaction on Twitter and was branded as xenophobic. More about it here. I used to read the tabloid from time to time, while waiting for my tea or a sandwich in a Coffee Shop but I decided I won’t read it no more at all. The things are never as bad as they look like in the media. I want to see the reality with my own eyes and that’s my purpose for studying journalism.
On the others side there were the positive reactions to the ‘invasion’ as the one from BBC One. That is actually my favorite one: Romania and the Romanians featured in the “This is BBC One” show.
And not to forget about the ‘Gandul’ campaign:Why don’t you come over? made especially for Brits by the Romanian newspaper’s team. Here are some of their posters:
For all those Brits out there who are frightened that you will have no home, food, jobs or benefits, karma will make its point soon, if it’s any point to be made.
Meanwhile you should know that 400 of you emigrate every day and your top destinations are: Australia, USA, Spain, Canada and France. No one complains about that.