The French problem is a complex problem. In these times of public unrest, immigrants must adapt to new cultural settings. This is true, also for minorities and is also a traditional part of human behaviour; it’s the way we expect guests to behave. When in Rome, you do as the Romans.

I can understand the conflict; the French cultural pride and all their efforts to preserve their language and their way of live versus strong minority groups trying to make their mark as an ethnic identity to be reckon with.

The burning cars became a symbol for all these people living in systematic exclusion, an exclusion which is built-into the French system. If these frustrated groups of people are to be considered as guests, they should also be treated like guests. I wouldn’t invite anyone into my home and then ignore their needs! That would be both rude and uncivilised.

In a mono-cultural societal system you have to treat guests with respect and support, thus creating a will and an opportunity for them to assimilate into the system over time. The French state doesn’t seem to realise this.

The other approach is to change the system and taking steps towards a multi-cultural society, thus excluding the need for assimilation. But this is difficult for a country like France to do, this due to their historical heritage and national pride. (And a multi-cultural society also creates exclusion in the lack of an overall cultural identity.)

Culture is an abstract phenomenon. If you try to preserve it by pushing outsiders away, it will die. If you disregard it completely, it will die. A nation should encourage the preservation of its cultural heritage, but not by exclusion. The key is to allow people in, to embrace.

In the future we might find our self in a global setting without borders or even nations. All cultural expressions will not survive this transition, only those who by nature are embracing and loving will prevail. That’s the middle-way between monocultural and multicultural solutions. Cultural preservation is important, but it shouldn’t be confined to ethnicity or religion.

The division between the French state and all of these self-governed cells tells us another important aspect, or at least something to ponder on: These young protesters may be involved in terrorist acts, but are we willing to call them terrorists? If yes, what would be consequences of such an analysis?

Terror, it seems to me, is nothing but a humans expression for despair. Terror is a terrifying solution to a very real problem. I’m not saying we should celebrate such acts, but we should try to fix the problems causing it, the roots of it. Still, democracies of today confronts terror by arresting and punishing these terrorists. Instead of dealing with the bottom line they just label their motives as pure evil, and that’s that.

What if the democracies of the world started to fight terror by saying, “Hey and welcome, this is our culture, our way of life! Why don’t you join us and try it for a while, see if you like it?” No hand-outs, just a standing invitation to be a part of the societal fellowship.

As I see it, practically all world religions teach the message of love, but automatically excludeds you if you don’t share a certain religious frame of reference – which in extension equals intolerance. (On account of being an atheist not seeking salvation, I risk eternal torture in a burning hell, reincarnation as a rat, damnation, and missing out on Nirvana and Paradise.)

In my view, a society may be conservative and inward, but secularism is not to blame for this. And if two religious groups can’t get along, the cause is intolerance, not some people having the wrong beliefs.

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