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Friday, April 20, 2007

Genocide, Intolerance and a changing Western World

My response to an accusation levelled at me that I support the influx of Moslems into Europe to the detriment of Western culture:

I don't want to see European and Western culture destroyed. I love being a white, middle-class Westerner of Christian background. I love how my culture has developed. I get a real kick out of the diversity that has allowed my culture to grow and flourish.

A pertinent example of just why I love the influence of all the cultures that the West has absorbed, and been influenced by, is a typical Australian cuisine choice that now exists.

Speaking generally, in my youth (I'm 42 now) you basically had a choice of English style food, Chinese food and some badly done Italian food. With this you could drink Aussie beer or plonk out of a cask. Dessert was inevitably cake or ice cream served with tea or crappy instant coffee.

Nowadays if I go into a general cuisine Australian restaurant I have a choice of (well prepared) foods from all around the world. I can have: a good lump of steak with roast vegies and some steamed bok choy; a cheesburger with fries; some pork loin and mortadello tortellini; some stir-fried vegetables. I may have this after an entree of Moroccan meatballs or maybe some tasty scampi. I can choose beer from all over the world from Budweiser to Tsingtao or wines from Western Australia's Margaret River through Spain's Rueda to California's Napa Valley. I can then finish off with dessert of Tira Misu, Apple pie, ice-cream or maybe just a morsel of Baklava. I can then complete the meal with a long macchiato, cup of tea or maybe just a refreshing glass of San Pellegrino or Coca-Cola.

All this gastronomic joy is brought to me through the many cultures absorbed by the the West. This flexibility and desire to grow is one of the great strengths of my culture.

It's not just food. For me, food happens to be an exceptional example of the benefits of tolerance. Have a look at the inventions, customs and advances that have come to the west from the Muslim world, from Asia and from the Americas. How on earth do you think we've come as far as we have?

The intolerance that you propose is the marker of times throughout history when the West stagnated. The hate and violence that you preach is what holds back the progress of the West.

Look back in histoy and you'll find that there is always a "boogey man". In my time it has been Italians and Greeks, then it was the Vietnamese, then it was Indians and Pakistanis. Now it's the North Africans. Look again at the lessons from History and you will see that one day it will be the Americans that are the world's problem refugees.

The idea of growing and adopting new and unfamiliar cultures and beliefs can cause fear and concern. It doesn't mean loss of identity it simply means a new perspective on a changing world.

The world will always change and be full of challenges. When fear of the unknown is abused and exploited as a "solution" (final?) to this change then that is always the dark hour of humankind. The dark hour where hate oozes sickly from our pores in a rancid, unstoppable puss that pollutes all that is good and kills all that grows and changes to nourish us.

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