I am an immigrant. I left the country of my birth about forty years ago. I have since settled in a "foreign" country and have (somewhat) assimilated. I act as I would probably act in my own country: I follow the rules and complain a lot.
I live a country in which integration of foreigners is, alternatively, a hot topic and a taboo subject. The key problem with foreigners/integration seems to rest in religion. Because of this, integration will be difficult to impossible. Recently, a politician was forced to resign for speaking the truth about this sensitive subject in a book. Like with any argument in Germany, the Holocaust was dragged out of the closet to play its usual role in discussions.
My wife owns a business in a neighborhood that has slowly been taken over by immigrant. There is a mosque around the corner. She lives with the issue of integration every day. It works, but there is always tension beneath the surface. Of course, most Muslim Turkish men have difficulty understanding/accepting a blond, pushy woman.
Because we are constantly confronted with this issue , I was surprised to read an email from a friend containing following news from Australia:
Prime Minister Julia Gillard - Australia
Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law, were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia , as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.
Separately, Gillard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying
she supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques. Quote:
"IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT.. Take It Or Leave It.
I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.
This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.
We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society. Learn the language!
Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.
We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.
This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.
If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here.
You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.
These are bold words for any politician. I cannot imagine anyone in Germany, much less any European country (or the United States outside Fox News), uttering similar words. She will surely win a lot of white votes.
Of course, wise people will notice the hypocrisy. This "brave" lady forgets to mention that white, Christian settlers from England expropriated the land from its native inhabitants and then proceeded to treat them miserably for centuries. At some point, I'm sure some arrogant Aussie jerk even complained about the inability of Aborigines to integrate.
Conclusion: there are no easy answers...if there are even any at all.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.