The word “assimilation” is to many a negative concept and has been misused by players immersed in the game of misinformation. The word “integration” on the other hand has an opposite effect and is far more attractive to new migrants and to those seeking to become Australian citizens. Why is this so one may ask? The answer is a simple one if we as citizens truly put aside our differences of opinion and look at the view it from an objective point of view. A copy of the article may be downloaded by clicking on: DO NATIONAL VALUES AND INSTITUTIONS MEAN FORCED ASSIMILATION
Assimilation on the one hand appears to a migrant contemplating becoming an Australian citizen that they would have to give up all of their traditional values, ethics, faith way of life and most of all lose their identity of who they are and where they come from. While integration on the other hand, to a migrant considering becoming an Australian citizen means to embrace to the nation’s laws, institutions and values without losing one’s traditional cultural values, faith or where they came from.
Many would agree with me that the word multicultural has been hijacked and misused by those seeking to benefit from a benevolent and tolerant society. This negative use of multiculturalism has created a schism within Australian society, causing normally tolerant citizens to choose sides in a “battle of the minds”. The more the media “beat-up” and or misleading statements by the players involved goes further to crate undue anxiety that will sooner or later erupt in a violence that can have irreversible consequences.
I wonder whether the players involved are aware of their insidious involvement and what their actions may spawn. I say this because, I for one consider myself one of those “normally tolerant citizens” willing to embrace new cultures that contribute to the “security, economic stability, interests and longevity” of this nation we call home – Australia. However having said that, does not mean that I am a saint, have infinite patience, over tolerant or better still believe that I am immune from being influenced one way or another.
An apology to the readers for speaking in the first person but this is the only way that I can express myself and to be understood by all players involved. I must admit that I as young teen growing up in Prahran St Kilda region that life was not easy but we made the best of it by integrating with our neighbours and at the same time retaining or Hellenic identity at home.
I guess on reflection I am blessed to have as my very best friends’ individuals ranging from one end of the world to another irrespective of their cultural and religious beliefs. Such has been my life experiences, a life full of challenges that brought me face to face with differences that I could never imagine and thus enriched my understanding of others living amongst us.
This brings me to the point of whether we as “citizens” have a duty first to this nation of ours, to humanity outside our borders, to a higher authority such as the United Nations, or to a higher order that has yet to appear or surface. I am of the belief that every citizen no matter what nation he or she has decided to call home has a responsibility to ensure that the nation’s “pillars” of “security, economic stability, interests and longevity” comes first and foremost above all other considerations. Family, faith, culture, traditions, are not outcasts but are firmly embedded within those nations “pillars”; surrounded by a world that is full uncertainty, diminishing resources and invasion of privacy as we who grew up as baby boomers once enjoyed.
Now after a period of some 70 years immigration, this nation is coming to grips with entirely new phenomena, one that did not have the means, resources and ability to raise its ugly head above the parapet. Today we are subjected via the media information relating to racist attacks on innocent people by individuals who would under normal circumstances not react. This is nothing new and it will continue to occur whenever newcomer whose culture is alien to our western way of life. Australia has not been immune from the ills of the world, but it does have a responsibility to its people first and then to wider global community.
It happened during Gold rush with the alleged yellow peril against the unfortunate Chinese, it occurred again prior to WW2 where a boatload of Jewish refugees were denied entrance to Australia, only to return back to Nazi Germany and to their ultimate destination, Auschwitz and/or Birkenau, again during the fifties and sixties against the Italians and Greeks and today it’s against those of the Islamic faith. Where and when will it end the average citizen asks themselves as they drink their coffees in the morning prior to going to work. Do they care? Of course Australians care, for as a nation we are a resilient and tolerant mob not likely to follow the ram like a mob of sheep
This brings me to the point where tolerance in some quarters has been thrown to the wolves, creating alleged havens for extremist groups to perpetuate their hate crimes against individuals that do not fit in with their view of the world. These extremist groups began their meteoric rise as a result of alleged aggressive Islamic cultural behaviours and building of mosques as an alleged attack on Australian values. The extremist groups actions whether they are right or wrong are based on the fear of the unknown, a fear that our Western values and traditions are being watered down and our institutions allegedly being forced to appease the Islamic values into Australian society.
Who is to blame is not what is at stake, but certainly technology has a stake in all of this and the media has a perpetual interest as it generates revenue. Whilst on the other hand one can assume judging by the funds being spent on mosques to cater for their faithful that mosques are “suddenly appearing and springing” out of nowhere all over the countryside and replacing the traditional Australian Christian/Judaic places of worship. I don’t know what the statics are but I can bet my bottom dollar that there far less mosques in this country than there are Christian/Judaic places of worship.
Mosques on one hand may appear to be full where Christian/Judaic places of worship may fail to attract a decent congregation is a matter of conjecture. I dont know the answer but interested players would have a field day with all of this rhetoric over mosques and Christian/Judaic places of worship. The interested players are those who believe that Islam is against Australian values and the other camp stating that Islam is a faith of peace. The former were concerned about Islamic encroachment on traditional Western Christian/Judaic values and seeing them eroded, while the latter are merely seeking the freedom of worship to the same creator as their Christian/Judaic brethren. That’s the irony of it all.
Christian, Judaic and Islamic doctrines all contradict each other as to what is the correct path to salvation but all agree on one matter, and that is that they all believe in the same God. Theologians from all three faiths agree on this matter but do not believe that it is in their best interests to advise their congregation, flock or worshippers of this one fact that runs deep in all three faiths. Unfortunately one party or another wishes to dominate the other through its doctrines, behaviour, actions, examples and in some cases forced indoctrination, assimilation and threats of violence.
Where does that leave us and at what point do we say enough is enough? My answer is now. Let us stop this alleged assimilation and ensure that every citizen and member seeking to become a citizen respects this nation’s laws, institutions, way of life, freedom to pray to their creator whoever that may be and the right to express themselves without the fear of being trounced or violently abused. What this translates into is that all individuals whether they are citizens or not must respect the symbols of this nation as it is also a representative of themselves. If any individual does not have the capacity to follow, embrace or integrate within the fabric of Australian society they should reconsider their status as being under the protection of this nation and its laws.
I honestly believe that all individuals can live harmoniously together in peace side by side without the need to resorting to violence or threats of assimilation, by integrating cultural and traditional values that are compatible with Australian values ethics and its laws and way of life. Faith is a personal experience and should not be part of the equation as integration means living within a society that has the freedom to worship ones creator whoever that may be and without losing one’s identity or where they originated from.
Again I find it ironic. At this point I am quite sure that I too will be attacked for my opinions by all sides who wish to point some error in my analysis. However whatever the case may be; my point of view does have its genesis based on a life time of extraordinary life’s challenges and I am quite sure that sanity will prevail in the end. Remember that “multiculturalism” as a word is merely a journey to becoming an Australian citizen, nothing more and nothing less.
If the Greeks, Italians, Asians, Indians like their brethren Anglos/Saxon and Gaelic cultures can do it, so can those who are of the Islamic faith. I have enormous faith in Australians of the Islamic faith and it is up to them to come to terms with the Australian way of life, not the other way round. This article is dedicated to all my friends that I have known throughout life, whether they are of the Islamic, Judaic, Christian and/or other forms of faith. Tolerance and commonsense are virtues that need to be cultivated at all times. That is the Australians way and that is the journey I have taken.
As always, please accept my apologies for the poor grammar and punctuation.