Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Peace requires a rather more complicated orchestra

A problem unto himself, the Indian abroad is an immodest ambassador of goodwill.

Without question, western democracies still remain liberal at the core. However, the abject failure of multiculturalism is today most noticeable in societies once perceived as liberal and pluralistic. Denmark, the UK, the US, France and Germany were in the 1980s not merely 'tolerant' of their immigrant populations, but encouraged the differences that made society more varied. On paper at least multiculturalism was a thoughtfully wonderful idea. English chicken tikka masala, the German currywurst, the Harekrishna street chanters of San Francisco, are all the sillier manifestations of the larger failed idea. But the turban, the burqa and the minaret are now the xenophobic blinkers around European governments ^ symbols of the rising mistrust of brown immigrants. It is hard not to notice the discomfort of the western politician when confronted with issues of race.

There are obviously some serious ethnic issues in a society that till 34 years ago promoted itself as a Whites Only country. Like
South Africa, Australia's legacy of the official policy will probably be felt for many generations. And yet for Indians in the West, tolerance now is not just an expectation, but a birthright. As children of an economic boom, and naturally chauvinistic by culture and religion, the Indian abroad is an immodest ambassador of goodwill. In a place still nursing its wounds from the time of a perfect white society, alien Indian ways do not just make for some unreal cultural contrasts but will doubtless continue to unearth some dormant Australian fears and prejudices. The writer is an architect.

Edited by Roger Eatwell, Matthew J. Goodwin

Since the 1990s, there has been a growing concern about the resurgence of extremist and radical movements in the Western world. Although a variety of challenges to the liberal democratic order have emerged, the main focus of concern among academics, policy-makers and practitioners within Europe and beyond has been on the growth and activities of Islamists and to a lesser extent the extreme right… Published February 22 2010 by Routledge.

STOI, 21 February 2010

War is always much easier to start than peace. You need only a trumpet to launch hostilities. Peace requires a rather more complicated orchestra; there will be discordant notes from some insistent trombone; the bass could be playing a military march; all musicians might  not read from the same sheet; and there is always the likelihood of liberal violins airing  strains more relevant to heaven than to realists who live on earth. If the maestro-conductor tears his hair occasionally, you can understand why.

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