25.10.07

A note to my readers

I have a severe pain in the right arm and the neck preventing me from spending enough time on my blog and in front of the computer in general. The situation is so critical that a simple click on the mouse is directly correlated to an immediate increase of the pain in my neck and my right arm.

I am going through agressive physical therapy right now and will do my best to keep this blog active. My next long posting and commentary will be on Quebec's immigration talk, from the commission on reasonable accommodations for immigrants , to the recent law drafted by the Parti Québécois restricting individual rights for some immigrants, to the province's talk on racism and how the Canadian charter of human rights is seen by many French speaking Quebecers as a threat to their Christian Catholic heritage in the context of a multicultural society. Clearly, Quebecers who agree with Hérouxville's city council are uncomfortable recognising the cultural diversity in their province and uncomfortabkle with the idea of giving cultural minorities some rights pertaining to their culture and beliefs.

This talk on racism and reasonable accomodations for cultural minorities, started with the Hérouxville story, a small municipality in rural Québec whose council drafted a code of life which was seen by many as racist and anti-Muslim. This small municipality which doesn't have one Muslim resident, opened a Pandora's box in the province. Many Quebecers started confessing their racism. Many other Quebecers were schocked by this racist talk.

Listening to the consultations of the Commission on reasonable accomodations was torture for me. My personal story comparing two immigrations persuaded me that total integration, the one I had to go through in France, is possible, but it has its downside, the estrangement of one's own culture. What I loved and still love in Quebec and Canada is the fact that, absent the pressure on complete integration, I was able to retrieve my native cultural roots, while assimilating slowly the local culture. Forced integration has something that one could relate to psychological violence, a violence consented by those who receive it and those who exert it. Living in Quebec and Canada made me reevaluate multiculturalism from my previous French experience of total integration. I thought that, although it had its flaws, Multiculturalism is the only way a globalised world and globalised society can achieve understanding and a good living together amidst diversity.

I am surprised to realise that, although the moment is dark now for multiculturalism, there are Quebecers who think like me. I am most comforted by the intervention of the young mayor of Huntingdon, Quebec, political commentator and radio host,Stéphane Gendron, at the commission for reasonable accommodations. He forcefully argued that multiculturalism is well and alive in Quebec. Drawing on Huntingdon's history, he loathed the province's government for launching a consultation on reasonable accommodations as a way to escape its responsibilities and assume the multiculturalism of the province. I asked him to forward me the text of his memo and he did so instantly and kindly.

I am going through the text now. I would like to expose and compare some interesting views on multiculturalism including Gendron's, Quebec human rights lawyer's, Julius Grey, and philosopher Charles Taylor's position on the subject as glanced at from his book on the self (The sources of the Self, the building of the modern identity). These different but mostly pro-multiculturalist views and positions can help us give a dimension to a phenomenon I hold dear in my heart, from my personal history and experience, and which is under attack from both the right and the liberal left in many parts of the world creating social tensions and feeding the whole flawed concept of the 'clash of civilisations' and 'the war on terror'.

10 comments:

M Bashir said...

salamtik ya sophia. give your neck and shoulders and yourself too some rest. you deserve it :-)

Sophia said...

Thanks Moussa.

Ted said...

Take a break and get back to good health and feeling better.
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Number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 4269

Sophia said...

Ted,

Thanks. Hope everything is going smooth for you.

Wassim said...

Hope you get better soon. Take it easy!

Sophia said...

Thanks Wassim.

Gert said...

Hi Sophia,

Having lost the URL, it took a little googling to find this blog back. Glad to see it's still there. New look as well, huh?

Anyway, take care. I'll b back later on.

Sophia said...

Gert,

This is a nice surprise for me. Thanks for visiting again. I'll have to check your blog. I am spending less time on the blogosphere now and struggling to maintain this blog.

Jeb Koogler said...

I couldn't have said it better than the first commentor: salmtik ya sophia!

Sophia said...

Thanks Jeb. That's very kind of you.

 
Since March 29th 2006