LIVING TOGETHER OR CONFRONTATION

   We are living in a world characterized by an intense interrelation –globalised, as it is said- shared by people from heterogeneous origin, different languages, diverse religions, and also with political projects quite opposite, with a belief system in every group concerning with a particular worldview.

   East and West; North and South. Geography, race, skin colour, language in a multilingual country, are linked to what generically we call culture. So, when we speak about cultures living together and their possible conflicts, we are expected to think unconsciously of other countries, other continents; but globalization may lead us to forget that this phenomenon take place too in our country, among our compatriots. Two lines of thought are living together within ourselves: on the one hand, a religious Christian Catholic substratum as the root of our culture: that of Europe; and on the other hand a laicism transformed in ideology, with a militant anti-Catholic track, willing to impose itself as a civil religion; and all of that is transferred to political life. Adding to this panorama there is the insatiable desire of separatisms.

   So, the existence of different cultures is not shown only by the origin of people having other roots, diverse traditions, distinct ways of viewing life, even dressing occasionally in a different way; and perhaps they want to keep it that way without making any effort to assimilate or integrate in their new society. Immigration can provoke coexistence tensions between cultures, but if those tensions come from and be performed by own nationals the issue become most serious.

   Intolerance, usually exercised by few people catalyzing the masses, transformed in fundamentalism denying living together spaces, may lead to confrontational situations. We are seeing it nowadays, both in public debate and in the imposition of ideologies performing artificial lures of confrontation, trying to get society back on track.

   Before the prevailing dichotomy, whose protagonists are our politicians: red-blue, right-left, good-bad, new-old,… it seems that we are not able to work and live together, nor lead the nation in the same sense. Probable conflicts are not questioning initially as an exercise of intolerance, but as an exercise of a right to a determined identity, whether political, cultural or social. Hypothetical rights superimpose on reality. Ideologies transform sometimes into cultural identities being inclined to close and confront each other.

   The opposite signs of the same intolerant attitude are to bully or confine in a ghetto a culture, one sector, a nation or a political party. The appropriate solution should be a coexistence in diversity and the protection of common values. The cultural identity of everyone must be respected, whether belonging to a majority or whatever minority; and so every people must respect the cultural environment they are living in, and make an effort to do it. Friendship builds the consent of wills, as the bases of social peace.

   Agustín PEREZ

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