The world has altered itself immensely in the last four decades. That is, the liberal-democracies have turned the faces of their various countries' absorption with heritage and culture and social values and mores inside out and upside down. As enlightened nations of the world they saw the light and they acted upon it so that their humanitarian impulses were richly rewarded with the results of the world they knew becoming intimately peopled with those unlike the original inhabitants.
Most economically and socially advanced European countries have invested themselves in the haloed convention of annual generous refugee quotas, and along with that, an open-door policy for immigrants coming from all the disadvantaged corners of the Earth. The make-up of their populations now resemble one another, colourful with the introduction and absorption of that quaintly named "people of colour" demographic.
On the way to all this generosity in population dilution from the originals to a brave new world of mixed-culture-and-ethnicity populations, everyone on the receiving end of hordes of applicants seems to have forgotten the historically-proven utility in shared values, priorities and systems of social justice.
Where at one time in the past, when far fewer exotic-origined
migrants were absorbed into indigenous populations there was a gradual merging of cultures and social mores; this is no longer the case and it hasn't been so for far too long. For with the growth of a universal social conscience, so too grew an aptitude to accept people for what they represented.
In this new mosaic of pluralistic attitudes that everyone is of equal value and all their cultural and heritage and religious baggage is to be given equal regard, instead of a melting pot and a shared system of values and mores, we've ended up with distinct ghettoes
where cultural practices offensive to the home majority and illegal in many instances are the norm.
In other words, receiving countries have, over time, sacrificed far more than they bargained for. The costs related to absorbing, settling and easing people into their new countries were foreseen, but not the costs associated with a country taken aback by the sudden deterioration of all they hold dear, with alien cultures insisting their values take precedence, as is their due.
So what is their due? Traditionally, when immigrants humbly entered foreign shores of nations that had agreed, however reluctantly, to accept them in much smaller numbers than currently occurred, those immigrants understood it was up to them to settle themselves in to their new country, to adapt themselves to its cultural values and in that context make a new place for themselves and the futures of their children.
Those immigrants and the succeeding generations managed to find their way of their own accord, and to mesh into the greater society. There was no special accommodation to ease their way through government hand-outs and hand-ups. The struggle to succeed somehow made the immigrants understand that they were offered a privilege, to begin anew, and it was up to them to succeed on their own initiative.
This is no longer the case, as governments go out of their way to sensitively prostrate themselves and their treasuries to ensure that new immigrants feel comfortable and secure and entitled. And that entitlement and feeling of security living within the cozy confines of a liberal democracy has resulted in frustration for the original population faced with newcomers who demand their due.
The most obvious, visible immigrant populations who have made inroads in overturning the original cultures they have invaded remain quite specifically Muslim. Where special dispensation is given by governments not quite understanding what they've let themselves in for by graciously acceding to all the requests and demands.
France now has had decades of 'problems' integrating its large Muslim populations who tend to be low on the socio
-economic scale and confine themselves to banlieues
where French police risk life and limb to enter as a result of sullen and angry pay-back from disaffected Muslim youth unable to advance within society where racism plays a part. France has outlawed the wearing of burqas
After the recently-concluded 2010 Conference on Combatting
held in Ottawa, Norway's representative spoke of her country's problems in confronting the very real threats to the country represented by its immigrant Muslim population unwillingness to assimilate. Sweden and Denmark have also taken steps to diminish the deleterious influence of fundamentalist Islam. Switzerland took the peculiar step of outlawing minarets atop mosques.
It's quite one thing to see elderly immigrants dressed in the unique costumes reflecting their heritage and backgrounds. It's another entirely to see their grandchildren being cooed and coerced into wearing those same costumes. Little girls in Britain, for example, wearing full body coverings, along with a niqab
, so only their eyes are revealed in public.
These are children groomed from the cradle to reflect not the dominant culture and its values and social mores, but those of an imported heritage, ethnicity and religion reflecting a tribal inheritance. Moreover, these same children, like those in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian Territories for example, are taught stringent religious dictums
; to remain separate from apostates, non-Muslims and Jews.
In his book, Blood and Belonging
, Michael Ignatieff
wrote of the difficulties Germany encountered when it repatriated Russianized
Germans from Ukraine in their hundreds of thousands; ethnic Germans who had no memory of Germany, no language proficiency, no cultural underpinnings. "They have to be taught to flush the toilet", he quoted a German social worker in a settlement house for Russian Germans.
Now Europe can look back with nostalgia at the passage of time when their only concerns in settling immigrants were to introduce them to modern conveniences. Ironically, when post-war Germany, a country whose economic well-being relied heavily on manufacturing and export, brought Turks into the country as cheap labour, they little realized that generations of Turkish children would be reluctant to leave the only country they knew.
In the United States which experienced the first of a wave of traumatic suicide attacks, followed by Britain and Spain, Muslim support for Iran's proxy militia Hezbollah is openly defiant with their flag in plain sight along with images of Hassan Nazrallah
. Recently an Al Quds
(Arabic for Jerusalem) rally vociferously protesting Israel's stewardship of the Old City of east Jerusalem came complete with claims that the 9/11 attacks represented a Zionist plot "in order to justify to occupy the land of the Muslims..."
In Canada, an Environics poll conducted a few years ago found 10% of Canadian Muslims feeling empathy for the Toronto 18, that they were somehow justified in attempting to attack the country to express their dissatisfaction with Canada's role in Afghanistan. That represents tens of thousands of Muslims living in Canada who feel similarly, but who have not - yet - acted upon their feelings as did the Toronto 18.
"Mainstream" Muslim and Arab associations and their publications continue to guide their followers in directions decidedly contrary to the values, aspirations and needs of most Canadians and the country at large. These Islamic groups tend to be fundamentalist in nature, and they celebrate the very same antipathies toward others that their forbears did historically.
Among Canadian Muslims there exists a troubling degree of affinity with the aspirations of groups like Hamas
and Hezbollah. These are issues and complex matters of history and geography that should have little resonance within the Canadian context. Even if we can assume, as we should, that the great majority of Canadian Muslims have no interest in fanatical Islamism
, those that do invite guest speakers from abroad to speak favourably of violent jihad to Muslims born and educated in Canada.
Because their purpose is also to recruit to their cause, and because there is a groundswell of rejection of that cause lacking from within the Canadian Muslim population, young Canadian Muslims are attracted to the messages they can readily access through Internet sites, through local madrassas
, and mosques and community centers.
Just a snapshot of the manner in which Western society has benefited from the generous invitation to 'come and abide with us' proffered toward the migrants of the world heavy on dissatisfaction with their native countries, with the misery of living under the heavy heel of totalitarian governments, anxious to escape the clutch of religious extremists.
And their whole-hearted appreciation of the wonderful privileges of living in a free society. Where they are free to speak their minds openly, free to live as they wish to, free to demand that the welcoming society prepare to make special, obligatory concessions to allow the introduction of a way of life unreflective of Canadian values.
Labels: Canada, Conflict, Crisis Politics, Culture, Traditions