Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We Just Got Pulled Over

An incident last night spurred some serious thought on my part surrounding the international facade, partaken by nations worldwide, that is multiculturalism.

It constantly saddens me to think what kind of world the children of my generation will live in. 

I am a dual citizen of two of the most diverse countries worldwide. Australia's 22 million plus population boasts a richness in culture unlike any I have ever witnessed. The Australian Bureau of Statistics notes that every one minute and 46 seconds, the continent gains an international migrant. In 2006, over 24% of the entire residential Australian population was recorded as  having been born outside the country. This number consisted of a combination of over 23 different backgrounds, with heavy influence from the United Kingdom, SouthEast Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, respectively.

This is the reality but where is the acceptance?

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, my second home, is also widely regarded as a multicultural landscape. In 2008, the CIA World Factbook noted that over 31.5% of the entire 6 million strong Jordanian population were actually of Palestinian descent. Superficially, our once neighbours live peacefully alongside smaller communities of Circassians, Chechens, Armenians and Kurds, that have also made a home for themselves in the Kingdom. 

Mount Nebo, Bethany on the Jordan, Palestinian Territory - a symbol of religious peace amidst a world of turmoil

Yet this is exactly where my qualms lie. It is unknown for a nation to be undisrupted politically or economically  for a prolonged period of time, I do appreciate this fact. However, I do not appreciate the prejudices that some nations embed in their people in due effect. Wether this is purposeful or not, the effect is detrimental to an entire nation, and like a relentless high tide, will eat away at the foundation slowly but surely, until it all crumbles. When it does, it will do so on the common people's heads, and not those in power. I do not understand how this goes on everyday, with the full recognition and awareness of likeminded people as myself, to no avail or material/significant changes by those with the authority to do so.

Shots from December 5th and the riots following the original assaults on the 4th

In 2005, a group of Australian lifeguards were assaulted on a beach in Cronulla on the New South Wales coast by a single individual of 'Middle Eastern' appearance. The next day thousands flocked to Cronulla protesting violence against 'locals'. Like attacks occurred during the weeks to come, with namely gangs of young men with Middle Eastern backgrounds and 'white' Australians coming to clashes over the events of the 4th of December.

In all honesty, I dont know who's holding the rifle and who's running from it - puts things into perspective

September 1970, or Black September as it is more commonly referred to, motioned for the urgent call to arms of the Jordanian military in quashing Palestinian movements within the country to gain political power. The conflict lasted almost 11 months, resulting in the deaths of thousands, the expulsion of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation from Jordan, and the immigration of thousands of refugees into Lebanese land.

I am a 23 year old woman, with dark hair and white skin. I've been told I have a Greek nose and people have guessed my nationality as a random mix of Spanish, Italian, Canadian, Lebanese and others I don't even remember. I am Australian. I am also Jordanian. I am by law, loyalty and gratitude entitled to the life and rights of any Australian and Jordanian. I have lived in neither for longer than a spell of six years at a time, however, the minute I step foot in either, I feel at home. It is a crime to rob anyone of this feeling of belonging due to race, religious affiliation or stereotypes. 

A must read for any Australian, regardless of background

Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands. They are distinguished as either Aboriginal people or Torres Strait Islanders, who currently together make up about 2.7% of the population. Less than 3%. They are the real 'locals'. 

I find a t-shirt for everything

Jordan was the first country to grant Palestinians citizenship post the Palestine War in 1948. Refugees were granted full use of public services and health care, creating a life for them outside allocated United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) camps and creating leeway for integration into the Jordanian community. Her Majesty, Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the current spouse of the King of Jordan and one of the most powerful women on the planet, was born in Kuwait to refugee Palestinian parents.

One of my favourite images, ever

Makes you think, doesn't it?   


  1. we live in a sad sad world... where our differences are bigger than what we have in common, where life is all about having more than somebody else, and where happiness is all about lack of sadness, rather than the opposite...

    in other news, i don't like to think... it makes my head hurt :P

  2. I think people overthink a lot of the time. Theres not much to it. Tolerance is key. Values like respect for others need to be embedded into children at a young age. Its not the sole responsibility of the parent but also of the state/country as that is where they got their values, and where their parents before them did too, etc. It is a vicious cycle when people are closed off into a likeminded community that is stuck in the one mindset introduced by some dumbass decades ago. People need to embrace change.

  3. I don't have much to say as I'm Irish through-and-through. I've a bit of German in my blood if you go back a little bit and that's about it. I'm as caucasian as they come without being ginger. Being in Ireland, of late we've seen a huge increase in our population, fueled not by childbirth per se, but by immigrants coming to experience our (admittedly, now flailing) economy.

    Ideally this is great. Irish people are more educated then most Europeans even, so we're snobby towards "lower" jobs, and a lot of immigrants filled that gap. Especially in the building trade. Polish dudes are incredibly well trained construction workers for the most part, so they built modern Ireland like Irish people built America.

    But lately you can see racism creeping in. People skipping the taxi driver because she/he's black, or going to the other counter in a store because the girl/guy is Polish. This is bred from a particularly inward-looking, close-minded Irish person. Mostly older people do this. People who should know better, but they're teaching their kids these values.

    We haven't had protests or serious crimes spurred because of race. At least none that hit the news - but I can see it coming. It's awful to think. Some of my friends are "non national". Hell, we need them, their genes are Irelands only hope of having attractive children!

    One thing that helps us is being European, which has taught us to embrace different cultures and beliefs. Except in the case of Muslims... Europe still doesn't like that (ref: Turkey). Oh, and the French. Because the French cheat in football :)

  4. Thanks for that Kev, sorry it took me a while to publish the comment. I know exactly what you're on about. I think what upsets me the most is how u said, 'people who should know better but teach their kids these values'. These are the people standing in the way of a bigger, better, more understanding and potentially stronger community, be it Jordan, Australia or Ireland. The issue is universal, and sadly, I really dont think there is an answer. Its more how we choose to live our lives as individuals who are aware and disgusted by the situation.