What two cities, 7000km apart, have in common…
If you’ve been following the news recently, you’ll have noted the far-right protests against migrants and refugees in the former East German towns and cities. In one case in Chemnitz, two immigrants were arrested over a murder of a German man, and 8,000 people descended on the city in protest. Far-right protests were then seen in other cities. But here’s the thing: the same thing has been happening in India, almost eerily similar.
Many people would read the following piece and be bemused about why protesting against violent crime is such a bad thing, but consider this:
If, to borrow a motif of the far-right, “one of our own” commits rape or murder, you probably won’t ever even know about it. If you do, you might be annoyed, but you wouldn’t take to the streets. However, as soon as it is “one of them”, a foreigner, a “savage and uncivilised person” of one religion or another, that is apparently reason enough for protest.
There may now be some who think it’s part of a trend, not one particular incident.
True enough, when there are high levels of immigration, it does tend to drive up crime rates in the short-term. But this doesn’t mean that protesting against a particular religion or nationality is helpful in the slightest, because a particular religion or ethnicity is not the issue.
The issue is that cultures, from time to time, will clash. Religion, culture, and nationality create tribalism. And what is the key goal of tribalism? To maintain traditions and culture at all costs. Therefore, people from both sides will not integrate and mix easily, because acts of violence, stemming from this tribalistic attitude, will force a wedge between the two.
This is to blame for Chemnitz, for Munich, for Berlin, for London, for Bradford, for Rotherham, for Paris, for Nice, for Madrid, for Barcelona, for Manchester, for Rome.
It is also to blame for Kerala.
An Indian bishop of a Christian minority has been accused of having raped a nun thirteen times, sparking massive protests and attracting attention from all over the country. People there have witnessed what is happening in Europe, and, while many are concerned, many are already engaged in the fighting.
Already, people there have branded Christianity with labels, calling it barbaric and vile at several points in the past due to different incidents. Sound familiar?
So when you hear again of an atrocity committed by a refugee, or a Muslim person living in Europe, don’t engage in a tribalist war for the sake of it, when you know that there are far more constructive solutions to these problems.
Culture clashes happen everywhere, no less so than in the strip of land contested by Israel and Palestine. They’re the veterans of this sort of combat, and if you ask Jews and Muslims in the region why they’re fighting, they don’t have a clue.
Let’s not allow Europe, India, Asia, Africa, North America, or South America to suffer the same fate. Dialogue, as ever, holds the key to a better future, and, until we recognise this, we will be locked in a futile, time-consuming battle for an end goal that we don’t even understand.