Saturday, September 17, 2011

What type of multicultural model for Europe?

Europe now-days seems indeed like a middle aged lady, that looks for an identity, a way to move forward and reinvent itself. There are plenty of debates of how to form a European federation, conscience and populace, or how to integrate the various ethnic groups that live in our continent. 

During those debates we hear many different opinions that come from different lobbies or interest groups, all with different vision or agenda about the future of Europe. 

Some political or social groups dream a different model of society, that in their opinion would make our world better. The most liberal of these groups support that we should not focus so much on our national heritage and identity, but we should all become citizens of the world.

History as it is being taught in our schools is one of the things they would love to change, as they are against in cultivating any nationalistic sentiments. That of course is a very radical point of view, because history if is taught the right way, can teach us a lot of our past mistakes and how to avoid repeating them. When we are mature enough we could learn from it and move on to the future with knowledge, not ignorance.

They also promote a new kind of citizenship for the world, a multicultural model that must be safeguarded and promoted in all corners of the Earth. States must be comprised by as many ethnic groups as possible, of all religions, races, and cultures. In other words what we already observe in Europe and other regions. Holding a passport and being a citizen of a country now-days, does not mean that you are ethnically German, Irish, Danish or Greek, rather that you are citizen of this country. 

And rightly so,when you live in a country for so many years pay taxes and contribute, you are a citizen of this country. In fact you become a citizen of this country the very moment you get a job there and start paying taxes. But then why in our passports they still use the term "nationality?"

To me nationality is your ethnic background, something that you are born with and never changes. Citizenship is referring to the state you live in and have your rights, totally different meaning. Being a non national, but a citizen of a country should not mean that you have less rights than the citizens of the predominant ethnic group of the state. But can we be as mature in Europe, or do we still need to feel that our countries are representing an ethnicity as well? 

The nation state was the most wanted model for Europe in the past and most countries tried to integrate and absorb all ethnic minorities. They tried to create a homogenous nation state, promoting one language, consciousness, religion and tradition. Now Europe went to the other "extreme" and our leading elites are trying to create quite the opposite.

Though I agree with the second position, I disagree with their methods. They follow the recipe that to them was apparently successful in USA, by creating a melting pot. The freedom of speech, the democratic right to express freely your opinion, becomes a right to believe any religion and any version of history or culture you want. In the end you end up with people with no ethnic heritage, though with various ethnic backgrounds. But why do we have to assimilate all people or cultures into one?

If they want to make nations to come together and create a successful multicultural society, they must proceed and encourage the opposite. Promote each others' heritage, culture and history onto all other nations, so we can get to know each other better and come closer. The continuous cultural exchange will eventually bind us all together, by creating a culture with elements from all ethnic groups.

Instead they are inspired and follow the American model with all its faults, since America is not the best example of a successful society. They are trying to "Americanize" us all, with the dominant capitalist multicultural "Anglosaxon" culture being promoted upon us all. 

If they want us though to accept such thing, we need to be part of it and see people from Greece for example, the Greek language, culture and heritage, being promoted all over Europe. And vise versa, cultures from all over the continent promoted within Greece. 

In Europe we are already in an "integration mode" and this is the best way to proceed with the integration process, by keeping our culture and heritage as well. Otherwise people will probably reject such new culture as something foreign, if they do not see parts of their own cultural elements in this new European or global culture. 

The world is far more interesting place because it has so many different races, languages, ethnic groups, religions and cultures. Just like biodiversity to biology, the variety of human cultures enriches this planet, even though sometimes it causes problems. We got to understand that the problems arise from the other, darker side of the human nature that is called greed and power mongering. 

Some global elites, in their frustration to control the planet by making everybody feel connected and think the same, are promoting globalization and multiculturalism. In Europe and most of the Western world, this process is particularly obvious. We listen to American music, watch American movies, TV programs, reality television. 

Why would it be wrong to have a more diverse model of this new cultural and political ideology? It is called "multiculturalism" after all, so where is the diversity in it? Even the EU's motto is "United in Diversity". We do not have any French music hits lately, any Italian actors, Czech directors, Greek painters, Estonian movies, Polish designers, Romanian fashion designers or Finnish celebrities.

Instead we get TV shows like the "A country" has Talent, cooking and singing contests or competitions in all countries and languages. The same program but in different language. Nothing to promote intercultural dialogue, our national or European culture and heritage. Rather turn Europeans into Americans and model the future European population after the American one. 

Erasing the rich cultural background of Europe or other regions of the world is not the way forward. We need to preserve it, promote it and be proud of it. Encourage multilingualism and people to discover and experience as many European cultures they can, by the establishment of music festivals and other art oriented events, by traveling, appropriate TV programs and a different education system in our schools.

Only then multiculturalism will succeed, when we are all feeling that we are part of it and contribute something to it. When we are proud of this new cultural project and not feel threatened by the loss of our own heritage. Right now, the "Americanization" of Europe has only bad effects. It is time to redesign our societies and Europe should not be adopting just one, capitalist, Western and consumerist culture. 

Being different is nice and dialogue is good. Being proud of who you are and where you are coming from is an advantage. Respecting and understanding other people's culture is a virtue. Adopting a new way of life and enriching your heritage with so many others is what created human civilization so far. Trying to control it or create one single superior global culture, led to fascism and authoritarian empires in the past.

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