I saw this video on Twitter yesterday, and was really moved by it. I looked for it on YouTube and luckily found a Guardian version I could embed here.
The poem, “You clap for me now”, is by Darren James Smith, and refers to immigrants in Britain, who, previously subject to xenophobia, are now being applauded for their work during the pandemic. Pointing out this hypocrisy, the poem and video are both angry and sweet—and if they don’t make people examine their attitudes about immigrants and immigration, I don’t know what will.
Unfortunately, the Spectator excoriates the poem and the video for being “self congratulatory,” but I don’t think it is. I think it’s clever and thoughtful. After all, it’s undeniable that a lot of people in the UK (and in the rest of Europe and the US) don’t like immigrants, and yet now applaud them for their “heroism” during the pandemic. Some work voluntarily, knowing the risks but wanting to help. Others are involuntary heroes: they have to take low-paying jobs that are dangerous and involve contact with the public.
In any case, the Spectator can shove it.
The beginning is nice, analogizing the fear of the virus and of immigrants. According to the video’s notes, it was produced by Sachini Imbuldeniya.