sábado, marzo 25, 2006

Islam: Clashes of Opinions

Dear Mario,

Maybe we should bear the following point in mind. Whether we like it or not, Europe is a multicultural continent. To turn the clock back and return to a closed notion of national identity based on uniformity is simply not an option; and so much for the USA with millions of Hispanics and other non-European immigrants. The multicultural environment does not seem to me the problem; Chinese have been embedded with their Gods and semi-gods in all societies and work their way out of the railroad laying and laundry stereotypes to Wall Street and restaurant chains.

Since black-and-white film era, Latinos are maids, gardeners and more recently drug-dealers and desperados. Bush has made the “Big Wall” a question of national pride. Why Mexicans and Latinos in general do not burn down American embassies in protest?

Islam is a way of life, and not a peaceful one. I remember been taken to a small ghost village near Alexandria, Egypt where the last residents fled by mid 50’s because a revenge process of 20 years had killed more than half the population. It all started in 1934 when somebody killed somebody and for the next 20 years or so children were reminded every day that so and so killed their relative, and their duty was to pay back in blood. That attitude has repeated consistently in Lebanon where Christians had to fight for survival and cornered in the northeast part of Beirut, are surrounded by a very aggressive Muslin society that now overpowers the once almighty Lebanese Christians. Muslim groups are aggressive to each other. Expressing your Sunni heritage in Saudi Arabia can bring you trouble among not very tolerant Shias. When living in Saudi Arabia, my “Ikama” (personal ID) was brown, same as all non-Muslims; Muslim’s is white. The mandatory car insurance covered one million US$ for a Saudi victim, ½ a million for a Non-Saudi Muslim and 100K for any other.

This narrative has only the intention of shedding some light on the cultural mindset of those burning embassies. The intricacies of offensive depiction of Muslims, Latinos, Homosexuals, Christ, Jews or Buda has embedded how vocal and reactive the offended party is. I was just reading in Al-Jazeera that Iran’s Hamshahri newspaper (the largest), plans to run an international cartoon contest about the Holocaust. Multicultural societies have the difficult task of balancing “integration” and “assimilation” of the immigrants. I am afraid that Muslims will never assimilate to a non-Muslim world.

Un abrazo


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