If you already read my “about me” and my previous posts, you saw that one of my passions is to learn and experience different cultures. I love trying to understand how people think and act differently depending on their cultures and their life experience. Parents, school, college, friends, religion, television, politics, and social structures… everything plays a role.
During these months that I didn’t post anything I traveled throughout Italy and Germany. I actually started to write posts about my trips, but I thought I wasn’t adding anything new to the “thought pool” that the blogosphere is. So then I waited and I finally started writing this post.
The recent Norwegian disaster that led to 93 (?) deaths showed the world one more (sad) example of how ignorance is dangerous. Ignorance leads people to believe that others are the fault to their problems because they are ‘different’ and do not have the same ideas, traditions, and religions.
In my opinion, the first, although not easy, step for the crescent problem with immigration and racism is to educate their citizens as much as possible about other countries, cultures, and worldviews. In college I took an Islam class with one of the best professors I ever had. He also believed the main problem of the world is ignorance. Once we understand each other, there will be no more fear of the unknown and no one will be able to manipulate us into blaming others for our problems.
Everyday I hear and read something untrue about Islam or Muslims. Especially now that I’m living in Europe, where there is a growing number of Muslim immigration and cultural problems. I’m not saying they are the only ones being attacked by this “revival” of racism. In Russia, the attacks on South Asian and African immigrants grow in numbers every day (if you would like to watch a short video on his, please watch this Vanguard episode). Another day I came across this Peace Corps group’s Facebook page in Ukraine that is helping the marginalized Roma (“gypses”) group. There they develop programs to integrate them into society without negating their cultures. As it seems, a big part of the process is also to educate the Ukrainian and local Hungarian population about the Romas to abandon the ultra negative view they carry of this group and help them integrate better into society.
With this in mind, I feel terrible for those affected by the Norwegian attacks. I really appreciate the Norwegian response (different from the recurring response from the Netherlands) of not abandoning their beliefs on multiculturalism and an opened society.