Mo Farah – The British Dream


Much has been made of the American Dream – a set of ideals, that regardless of whoever you are, the opportunity for prosperity and success is possible through hard work and determination. Notable examples include Oprah Winfrey, and of course Barack Obama, and now Britain has its own shining example of the British Dream.

When eight-year-old refugee Mo Farah arrived in the UK from Somalia, life as a double Olympic winner, would not have even been a pipedream. Speaking little English, just three English phrases: "excuse me", "where is the toilet?" and "c'mon then", Farah had left civil war in Somalia for a new life in the UK. Against this difficult early start, Farah’s accomplishment is all the greater. Two days ago, Farah made his dream a reality, winning not only the 5000m and 10,000m races, but winning the hearts of the nation too.

Despite the obvious joy in his win, I was most touched by the tremendous example which he sets for all Britons. His victory and human journey shows that migrants have the potential to make great contributions to the nation if, or despite, the policy hurdles. By addressing these hurdles we will enable refugees and migrants, such as Farah, to realise their potential and make their mark on British life, thereby dismissing the myths which inhibit integration.

The UK refugee population is just 2% of refugees and displaced people worldwide, putting us behind countries like Pakistan, Germany and Kenya. Nevertheless, the public perception and reaction to refugees can sometimes be a negative one. For many refugees, human needs of stability and security are the utmost concerns.

Once the complex and intimidating process to secure the permission to stay in the country has been navigated, this initial success, can sometimes be quickly replaced by a less than generous welcome as they encounter a sea of public distrust.

Misinformation and scapegoating has created negative reactions to refugees and more than 4 out of 10 respondents in a recent British Future poll believed that more than 10% of the population - some six million people - are refugees. In fact, there are only 200,000 refugees which accounts for a mere 0.4 % of the population. Perception and reality could not be further apart.

Therefore, as MoMania and the MoBot sweep across the country - Farah’s personal and sporting victory is all the greater and is a lesson for us all.

Mo Farah. War refugee. Immigrant. Proud Brit. Olympic champion.

Long live MoMania!

Francine Fernandes

Archived Comments

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Nuff respect to the mo-bot 2012

Loved this article and love you too Mo. You did us proud!

A vision to be savoured

I agree with the above. Mo did us all proud! Often the positive impact of immigrants is lost amidst a tidal wave of negative associations. There have been so many positive impacts of immigration and seeing Mo draped in the flag with all types of people cheering him on, was truly a vision to be savoured.

Go Mo ....Go Francine

As usual a riveting and factual read about immigrants in this country. I never knew the number was so small 0.4 %. Francine,
thank you for sharing this with us.


I hope we wouldn't continue to see situations where wars are responsible for the movement of people thus subjugating them to refugee status. Mo Farah is not a shinning example of any British Dream. Mo Farah is where he is today because he is the very best at what he does. Let us see what Britain makes of him when he is no longer performing as an athlete at the highest level. I'm sure you still remember Frank Bruno and Linford Christie?

Racism in Sport

There is a lot of criticism currently directed at the racism in football.
The FA recognise English football still have a job to do in eradicating this type of criminal behaviour.

Unlike football racism in tennis remains unchallenged. The governing body for the sport in England the LTA have for the last three years been in damage limitation mode. They have tried desperately to silence the family of a top junior tennis player.

Two years of an embarrassing public campaign "I'm fighting LTA racism" have resulted in two years of extreme victimisation of this child.

So two years on with all the public money they have at their disposal with all the expensive legal advice sought the LTA have not been able to bring a claim for defamation against this child's father.

The real challenge for ethnic minorities in tennis is the sport's governing body is institutionally racist.
The racism is so in trenched, that when the sports governing body expressed its desire to be rid of this top junior player an LTA referee Brian Carr, and an LTA coach Emma Hingley lied to the police and perjured themselves in court to achieve the LTA's goal.

With this level of intolerance, the future for poor ethnic minorities in the sport who have to play in the UK is bleak.
White players in British tennis progress is either by merit or as a result of favourable use of LTA discretion.
Ethnic minorities are not so lucky their progress is thwarted by use of unfavourable LTA discretion.

The fight continues!
Join the fight against LTA racism

How sad that the homage paid

How sad that the homage paid to the Great Mo Farah should be sullied by the misguided rants of Michael Stoute. Perhaps he should consider his own police statement and court testimony before he defames the characters of upright citizens with his false claims of perjury.
Tennis is a sport for everyone, and "ethnic minorities" within the sport do not condone the behaviour of Michael Stoute!