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- Artikel Pilihan: Cameron The white man's Multiculturalism Burden
When Prime Minister David Cameron condemned Britain's policy of maintaining a social environment that encourages multiculturalism, it was reminiscent of Rudyard Kipling's The Whiteman's Burden. Cameron continued to call Britain's attempt at promoting multiculturalism as a complete failure, mainly blaming what he calls home-grown Islamist extremism. He also believes the days for "hands-off tolerance" should end, and that Britain should develop a new vision and strategy to combat Islamic extremists.
Like Cameron, Rudyard Kipling was heavily influenced by European imperialism and Eurocentric beliefs. But unlike Cameron, Kipling was born in Bombay, India. At the age of six, he was placed in a foster home in England that led to a painful experience. Having been teased and bullied in college for his frail stature and shortsightedness, Kipling developed a love for literature. He also returned to India in 1882 and became a prominent journalist and prolific writer.
Kipling often explored the point of view of the English soldier, including the psychological and moral problems the white man suffered from colonizing foreign people. He believed that many westerners felt a genuine concern for their "little brothers" beyond the seas. He emphasized a duty to spread what he saw as the blessings of western civilizations, such as law, human rights, Christian religion, technology, and science. But behind this idea of a civilizing mission was a sense of national and racial superiority.
Many argued that European races, like the Anglo-Saxons, were superior to all others, and that imperial conquests and destruction of weaker races were nature's way of improving humankind. In actuality, though, this view of the "survival of the fittest" was used to rationalize and excuse the domination of one nation over another, including its political, economic, and cultural life. It enriched European nations, while robbing tens of millions of non-westerners of their cultural heritages and in some cases, even their own lives.
What some westerners have never understood is that closely linked to grandiose schemes of spreading their brand of democracy and civilization, was also militarism. Aggressive expansion and exploitation of resources and people, through powerful armies and navies and military bases around the world, was more important than human rights. When resistance and rebellion occurred against this kind of militant nationalism, Europeans were shocked and surprised, even mystified.
The real problem, then, was Eurocentric beliefs, or thinking that one's own nation, race, and culture are superior to others. When one sees other nations and cultures as backwards and primitive, including their religions, beliefs, values, and customs, it has a blinding affect. It actually is very anti-cultural and is motivated by anti-civil behavior. It can even cause political leaders to manipulate intelligence and deceive others, along with lying to the very people they are supposed to represent.
This is exactly what former Prime Minister Tony Blair did, when he backed the needless preemptive and expansionist wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the same time, there is a clear correlation between imperial ambitions and what empires label as acts of terrorism. In truth, wars of aggression are more ominous acts of terrorism than the actions of individuals or groups, since they are sponsored by a large armies and massive firepower.
In rejecting Britain's multiculturalism, Cameron is pursuing a dangerous policy, one that signals a marked change towards Britain's long-standing inclusiveness of ethnic and religious minorities. Allowing him to push for a "more active, muscular liberalism," where the "rule of law" is actively promoted to create a much stronger national identity, only strengthens Eurocentric beliefs and more expansionist wars. And sadly, there will be more 2005 attacks.
Cameron also believes multiculturalism encourages different people to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream which results in the lack of a cohesive and national identity. In believing that Britain needs less tolerance and more firmness with regards to the law, specifically towards Islamic religious and secular organizations, he is singling out Muslims. By claiming these groups should be banned from universities and mainstream society, he is really trying to impose his own undemocratic ideology.
Maybe history has been too harsh on Kipling, calling him the "prophet of imperialism." The White Man's Burden, written in 1899 (the same year of his daughter's death), addressed U.S. involvement in the Philippines. It should be read with his other works that are critical of western imperialism and sympathetic towards other cultures. Kipling, who had moved to America, became very dissatisfied with what he observed. In fact, after his daughter's death, he never returned to American and spoke of it with great bitterness.
If Cameron gets his way, perhaps it is he who will be Britannia's true "prophet of imperialism." He will be the one who sends forth the best ye breed, and binds your sons to exile. He will be the one who seeks another's profit and works another's gain, while watching sloth and heathen folly and bringing all your hopes to nought. Without multiculturalism, Cameron will mark your roads with the dead while the silent, sullen people weigh your gods and you.(1)
Better yet, take up the white man's anti-multicultural burden and reap his old rewards, the savage wars of peace, that is, and the judgment of your peers. And for Mr. Cameron, remember: "Oh, East is East, and West is West; and never the twain shall meet/Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat/But there is neither East nor West, border, nor Breed, nor Birth/When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the Earth!"(2)
What Kipling is saying in The Ballad of East and West, is that equality and treating others with respect and dignity is better than Mr. Cameron's and Mr. Blair's brand of white nationalistic civilization. (One must also include former President George W. Bush.) Only when color and religious diversity and universalism and multi is put back into culture, especially in Europe and the United States, only then will there be no more extremists or acts of terrorism, including their own.
Dallas Darling (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(1) Kipling, Rudyard. The White Man's Burden.
(2) Kipling, Rudyard. The Ballad of East and West.
Read more at article.wn.com
(Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John's Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for www.worldnews.com. You can read more of Dallas' writings at www.beverlydarling.com and wn.com//dallasdarling.)