The rise in hate crimes within the U.K. following the controversial vote to leave the European Union has been staggering—police reported a 57 percent increase in hate crime allegations over the weekend after Brexit.
There have been incidents of young boys telling people of color to “get deported” and anti-immigrant attacks involving smashed windows in restaurants and bombs thrown into shops.
Perhaps even more terrifying was when Colin J. Appleby, a local actor living in London, witnessed something essentially Nazi-esque.
He posted on Facebook that he a heard a group of people singing on Drury Lane in Covent Garden, London—“the home of two theatres, a plethora of restaurants and bars…in liberal, tolerant London”—but they had changed the words to a well-known tune.
Singing “Rule Brittania” (a patriotic British song), they altered the lyrics to:
Britannia rules the waves
First we'll get the Poles out, then the gays"
Appleby specified that he reported this disgusting display to the Metropolitan Police, but the fact that these individuals felt wholly comfortable spewing such hatred in public is unfathomable in this day and age.
Reiterating the poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller during the Nazi regime, Appleby concluded with these profound words, inadvertently urging witnesses to speak out against intolerance:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out.
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out.
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out.
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Banner Image Credit: Reuters