Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Trusting your Neighbor

Last week, when I woke to the news of the bombs in London, my first thought was to a taxi driver in Toronto. Strange association, you might think, but there was logic at work in my groggy synapses. A few years ago, I was visiting Toronto for a film festival with a friend. On the way home, we took a taxi to the airport. I was in a good mood, and started talking with our taxi driver. He was a friendly Pakistani man, who related to me a story which has haunted me since. Not long after the 9/11 attack on NYC, he had been accosted while stopping to get a snack from a convenience store. On the way out, a group of men surrounded him and beat the poor man to a pulp. He spent months in the hospital, recovering.

I really worry that similar incidents will occur in Britain, especially given the recent announcement that they believe the attackers were Pakistani. The extremist actions of a very small few, is set to cause a serious problem for many of their kinsmen. That truly saddens me, which isn’t to say that the attacks on London did not sadden me also. In both cases, innocent people are hurt. We live in a multi-cultural society, and I personally revel in it! I love that I work with such a diverse group of people, and have so many opportunities to learn from other cultures. I fear my society turning inward, fearful of the unknown. I worry that men such as Bin Laden are pushing our culture back to a more medieval mindset. I do not welcome walled communities, and isolationism. I desperately want to be able to trust my neighbor.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are misassuming that the people of London would react the way many in America did. (I don’t know how the New Yorkers specifically reacted.) London is culturally heavily mixed, but yet it doesn’t have ghettos. And do not forget that these are the people who lived with the lingering threat of IRA terror for decades.

See We’re not afraid for an example of how they’re taking it.

It actually restored my faith in humanity a little to see their confident, unphased “up yours, mate” attitude.

No, there’s no reason at all to worry that Londoners or even their close-by countrymen will blindly stereotype. Britain is simply a different culture, one without cowboys.

3:54 PM  

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