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f_0022432_18486 - THEWORLDTODAY.ORG JUNE 2011 PAGE 14...

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PAGE 14 Europe Martyn Bond Muliculturalism has failed. So said Chancellor Angela Merkel in a speech in Potsdam last October. David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy both echoed her opinion early this year. But it is not easy to know just what they meant. The term is open to so many interpretations and used in so many different ways. Is it an ideology, a set of policies, or a social reality? | INDEPENDENT THINKING ON INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS THEWORLDTODAY.ORG JUNE 2011 i N SOME WAYS THE TERM CONFUSES MORE THAN IT clarifies. If political declarations could do the trick, those speeches might have buried the debate, but the obstinate facts behind the term cannot be brushed aside with political declarations. A recent report - Living Together: Combining Diversity and Freedom in 21st Century Europe , written by a group including Joschka Fischer, Emma Bonino, Timothy Garton Ash, and Martin Hirsch and commissioned by the Council of Europe – avoids using the term but deals with the substance. Diversity, it declares, is Europe’s destiny. The continent is a patchwork quilt of languages and tribes, the residue of migrations over several thousand years. Today’s migratory flux is little different from the past, except that migrants arrive in larger numbers and, in some cases, come from further afield. It is a fact of globalisation. As in the past, however, many immigrants into Europe remain attached to their heritage, recreating for themselves and with their neighbours the familiar culture of their previous home. Culture determines identity, and maintaining traditional religious faith can help bond communities – a little Anatolia in Berlin, an echo of Algeria in the Parisian suburbs, a miniature Pakistan in the English Midlands. But, the Report asks, what is wrong with multiple identities? If Multicultural Commuters crowd the entrance to London's Oxford Circus underground station.
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the United States (US) can live with African- or Italian- Americans, why can Europe not accept ‘hyphenated Europeans’ – Turkish-Germans, North African-Frenchmen or Asian-Brits? Cultural diversity has been a constant feature of European history. It has been the source of many of our continent’s greatest achievements – but, when mishandled, has also played a part in some of its greatest tragedies. It represents a challenge which will continue, for at least two reasons. Firstly, most of those who have come to Europe in recent decades expect to stay. Many immigrant families have now been in Europe for two or even three generations. Secondly, Europe is aging, which means that the economy needs more immigrants.
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