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Live with Poles in London and around the world

Kevin Anderson | 18:00 UK time, Friday, 21 July 2006

We've just started the programme. George Matlock, editor-in-chief for Radio Orla, says that12,000 Poles live in the Jersey Islands, and just this year, they had their first summer Polish festival on the island. It's just one of the many changes that the Polish community is bringing to Britain.

We started at the Patio restaurant in West London, but quickly went to Northern Island to talk to Katrina Codorla on how Poles are integrating there.

We then went to Melbourne Australia to talk to Elizabeth Drozd. She said that Poles are known as a quiet community in Australia. The city is very multicultural, and Poles don't have difficulty integrating.

Ros put a question to the audience wondering if Poles had an easier time of integrating because of their skin colour. We had an e-mail saying that Poles could feel more at home in the UK after only four days rather than some people who were of a different skin colour who had been here in Britain for 40 years.

Also, today, papers in Britain were filled with stories about this huge influx of Poles. It's the largest emigration into Britain in three centuries, according to the Guardian.

Next to Warsaw

Robert Bierdon, an MP in Warsaw, said that Poles found it easy to go to Britain because of the universality of the English language. Robert said the Poland is tolerant if you are white, Catholic and heterosexual, but outside of that, it's not as tolerant. He has led a campaign against homophobia in Poland.

Simon, a barman who came to Britain for a couple of years, said that while it might be good for the Poles who left, that they really needed to talk about why people were leaving Poland. Stephen Okello Ogwang-Kampala Uganda sent us this e-mail:

We received comments not only from Poles but other people looking to leave their country. I completely agree with the polish motive of leaving their country to work in Britain, what can you do in a country where there are no jobs or low pay for your profession? To look for greener pasture is the answer. It is my dream to leave Uganda to work in UK..My advice to migrants especially Polish is, it is good to leave home but it is better to go back... Thanks


We then returned to Lebanon. Israel has been dropping leaflets calling on people to leave the southern border area of Lebanon and Israel.

Mohammad and Sharif said that the south is still safe in places, but they said that they were facing a humanitarian crisis. Sharif said that they felt the world was leaving them in the dark. But he said that the they are seeing a change in public opinion. He said that the world was seeing how disproportionate the Israel response was to what Hezbollah was doing.

Simon in London asked them if they believed there was a way to end the conflict without a major loss of life and a further escalation in the conflict.

Hassan in Tyre said that they were facing increasingly difficult conditions due to the bombing.

Mohammed said he would like to see it over soon, but he doesn't see that happening. The international community seems to be willing to allow Hezbollah to be pushed out of the south. He thought Hezbollah was holding firm and that most of the losses were civilian and not in Hezbollah's forces.

Sharif said that Hezbollah was not a militia but was just trying to liberate Lebanon. Sharif said that Israel was systematically destroying the infrastructure.

Viktor said that the worry for the Israelis and many here was not that Hezbollah was not trying to liberate the country but trying to bring back destruction to the country.

Sharif said that this was a difference of opinion. He said that Hezbollah was trying to liberate a small part of southern Lebanon as well as bargain for Hezbollah prisoners who had been captured by Israel.

During the programme, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the Hezbollah kidnapping of Israeli soldiers as an 'outrageous provocation'.

As the programme ended, we heard an announcement from the British Foreign office alerting British citizens that Saturday would be the last day for maritime evacuation of British nationsl from Lebanon.



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