Monday, 31 August 2009

Multiculturalism?No sir, It's a Joke!

I have worked very hard to promote the so called Multiculturalism in my city. I established many Multicultural initiatives including diver(c)ity, a magazine deals with intercultural issues. I brought to my College the joyful "International Food Festival", which runs every year. I aimed -with my colleagues- to bring people from different backgrounds to meet and be friends in order to discover for themselves the richness of other cultures. I'm very much involved with some NGOs, that focus on Multiculturalism, human rights and social justice.

Having said all that, I should mention the fact that I have discovered from my long on going experience that Multiculturalism is fine if it is about having a meal or a brief chat. However if you are talking about real life then I afraid Multiculturalism is no more than a joke.

First of all think with me about any possible answers for the following questions:

Does Multiculturalism in your view mean that ethnic minorities should keep their culture and tradition or they should adopt what the host country thinks is good and fit for them?

Does Multiculturalism mean that the host nation is superior and the ethnic minorities have no roots or pride and as such they have no any entitlement to whatever they think is right for them?

Could we say that Muticulturalism is a voluntary interaction between all cultures to have a healthy society in which people are equals and recognize each other's entitlement to free religion, culture and tradition?

Do you think we could agree about a specific definition for Multiculturalism?

I have to tell you that there are many other questions and the reality is, people have different answers, approaches and expectations which actually make the process of Multiculturalism difficult if not impossible.

I have lived in the west for many years and needless to say I have met many good people but I have to say that there are many communities here that live in fear of who are often referred to as "foreigners who are here to take our money", why do they think like that?

What are the implications of this way of thinking on the life of the ethnic minorities? Surely the answers need a complete and focused study to find out the roots of the problem.

Also I met many individuals who are either members of right wing parties or you could describe them as racists. However, the most astonishing thing was when some friends of mine tried to impose their own culture on me just because I live in the west.There is kind of confusion amongst my friends about "what's Multiculturalism is all about?", I was surprised to find some very educated friends telling me what I could describe as an aggressive way to impose their own values upon me. Read the following and see for yourself people's perception of Multiculturalism:

1. Khalid, forget Iraq and try Guinness.
2. Khalid, do you drink?No
do you dance?No
do you have a girlfriend?No
What's the meaning of your life then?
3. How many wives you could have in Iraq at one time?
4. Khalid, you should find a girlfriend.
5. Show some respect and come and drink with us.
6. Khalid, do you in the Middle-East force your women to wear the scarf? Do you also
keep them at home?
7. Why do you not have democracy in your countries?Is it because you love
8. Why do you treat women badly?
9. How often do you have to beat women in the Middle East?
10.Why do you write from right to left?
11.Do you allow girls only to cook in the Middle East?

There are many other strange questions but these are just some examples to show you the lack of understanding amongst many western people for our religion, culture, values and traditions. I think that's the main reason why almost all the Multicultural marriages failed in our community.

Few years ago, I met a western girl and I thought we could get a future together but I was totally wrong.

She did not want to have kids until she is 35 or 40 while myself I wanted many kids as quick as possible.She feared that getting pregnant would ruin her figure.She also used to drink heavily every week-end and to marry her would meant for me as a Muslim husband to be with her and then carry her on my shoulders. How many times would I have to do that?Probably for the rest of my life if I were to marry her.

Then the straw to break the camel's back came when she went swimming wearing -at least in my view as a Middle Eastern citizen- almost nothing.

The next day I told her:

We should stay good friends.No need to destroy our friendship by trying to impose one's culture on another.We both have every right to be free and nothing like freedom.I would like to keep my values and I do not want to impose them on you.The ending was nice and we remain good friends.

The problem we have these days is that some people in the west think they have a superior culture and the others who are coming, for example, from the Middle East should learn from them.However, I strongly believe that there is no better or superior culture of any kind.We are all equals as responsible people and have the same entitlement for whatever we think is fitting for our life.

We should accept each other as we are.My or your religion, culture, tradition and values are no one's business as far as they are within the law of the land and reflect my and your legal entitlement. This fact should be protected and respected.

I do not believe in Multiculturalism if it means that I should forget my history and culture to adopt other cultures that I had never encountered before.

Multiculturalism is not going to work with people who are brought up to believe that their culture is the absolute truth and the ethnic communities should follow them; does not matter for that crowd if the minorities are obviously not willing to do so.

Multiculturalism is a joke if only the minorities are always ready to accept the others who think they have the superior culture, and not ready to move one step forward in recognition to the fact that minorities will bring enrichness to any society in which they live.

I conclude by saying that Multiculturalism, if it does not mean freedom for all cultures, should be rubbished.Those who are trying to create conflicts between the different cultures should leave people enjoying their life and building their successful future in the way they think is most suitable to their culture and values.

Friday, 21 August 2009