Monday, February 27, 2006

Francis Fukuyama on Europe's identity crisis

Francis Fukuyama has written this awesome article on Europe's problems with radical Islam. He squarely blames their immigration policies:

... the deeper source of Europe's failure to integrate Muslim immigrants ... is not trendy multiculturalist ideas embraced by the left, but ... a mind-set that until five years ago prevented a German-speaking third-generation Turk from acquiring citizenship because he didn't have a German mother. According to Bawer, "Europeans … will allow immigrants into their country; they'll pay high taxes so that their government can dole out (forever, if necessary) rent support, child benefits. … But they won't really think of them as being Norwegian or Dutch. And they'll rebel mightily against the idea of immigrants living among them as respected, fully equal professionals." American identity, by contrast, has from the beginning been more creedal and political than based on religion or ethnicity. Newly naturalized Guatemalans or Koreans in America can proudly say they are Americans. Pat Buchanan may not like it, but that is precisely what rescues us from the trap the Europeans are in.

He goes further and proposes what seems to me to be a really good remedy:

The problem that most Europeans face today is that they don't have a vision of the kinds of positive cultural values their societies stand for and should promote, other than endless tolerance and moral relativism. What each European society needs is to invent an open form of national identity similar to the American creed, an identity that is accessible to newcomers regardless of ethnicity or religion.

This has a lot of lessons for India too. As India opens out to the world and becomes attractive for immigrants from elsewhere, Indians will also have to craft a sense of identity that goes beyond color and language. Marrying an Indian, wearing a sari and speaking in Hindi was not sufficient for Sonia Gandhi; for other immigrants, it may be even harder to assimilate. What would an accessible Indian identity consist of? Here is my proposal:

India must have thought about such issues in the past. Every religion has either originated or found refuge in India. Even different peoples have moved to India from different parts of the world. This hasn't happened in last 100 years barring the bangladeshis who have found refuge in India in last few decades.

Parsis came from Iran when they were systematically cleansed by the new Islamic rulers there.
Respect for bollywood??
Noooooo. Helpppppp..
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