New Internationalist

Sleep in for St George

April 2014

An item from the Agenda section of the magazine, where we look beyond the news curve with reports and comment on breaking stories.

A day of inaction will be marked on St George’s Day, 23 April, to celebrate migration in the face of increasingly rightwing rhetoric in England.

The national Facebook campaign encourages anyone who was not born in England, or whose close relatives were foreign-born, to take a day off work to make it crystal clear just how big a contribution they make to the nation. Let’s hope few people will require medical attention on the day: 30 per cent of all NHS professionals were born overseas.

Campaign founder Aliena Amicus – who uses a pseudonym out of fear of repercussions – says that far from being a massive drain on society as the tabloid press suggests, immigrants have brought, and continue to bring, great economic and social benefits to the country.

The emblem of St George, patron saint of England, has sadly been commandeered by fascist organizations such as the English Defence League.

George is thought to have been born in Cappadocia, in modern-day Turkey, and was later executed in Palestine for his Christian beliefs, early in the third century. He is also the patron saint of nine other countries, including Ethiopia, Georgia and Palestine.

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 471 This feature was published in the April 2014 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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