As someone who used to work for Harrods, I remember Mr. Al Fayed coming to the shop floor, always to greet the assistants, most mornings in the week. But after I’d left, years later, I was dismayed when I learned that quite a few black people (and other people from different racial backgrounds) were taking Harrods to the race relations board because of discrimination, and how Al Fayed was so contemptuous of their complaints. I wasn’t able to understand his behaviour especially as his origins was Egyptian, and therefore African. This maybe me being naïve, but one would expect some kind of bond with your fellow brother. But it looks as if he now understands, at a painful cost that other people can also decide whether or not, they bond with you.
I’m referring to his success last week of overturning the decision made by Baroness Butler-Sloss to hear the inquests on her own; and then later on, when Al Fayed is being interviewed by Sky News, he refers to certain members of the Royal family as “Nazi’s”, “bastards” and “donkey’s”. It makes me wonder if the inquiry is not just about Princess Diana and Dodi’s tragic death but also about being discriminated against and being rejected, which he’s not handling too well. Although I am sorry for Mr. Al Fayed’s loss I can’t help but feel that through his naivety he thought that owning Harrods Ltd would have given him unlimited access to the inner sanctum of the Aristocracy and more importantly, that his millions somehow made him white!
I hope for Al Fayed’s sake, that he is doing what he is doing for the right reasons, and not because he couldn’t make it into the right social circles.