The bombing in Oslo, Norway. September 11 suicide attacks. Train bombings in Madrid and London. Various attacks in India and Pakistan. Numerous bombings and suicide attacks in the Middle East. Terrorism is becoming a familiar threat to people all over the world. Is terrorism the biggest threat to safety around the world?
September 11, 2011 will mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in which planes flew into the twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC killing thousands of Americans. On that day, the terrorism alert will be raised to red and people around the world will stop and remember what happened and where they were when this tragedy struck.
Yet terrorism isn’t the biggest threat in our world today.
Immigration and multiculturalism problems around the world
As we move towards the anniversary of 9/11, it’s not terrorism that should worry people. Immigration and multiculturalism are the biggest threats to our world today – according to many leaders and headlines in the US, Europe, and around the world.
Norway’s killer in the Oslo tragedy, Anders Behring Breivik, detailed in his manifesto 2083: A European Declaration of Independence that multiculturalism will be the downfall of Europe and that Muslims need to be expelled. His manifesto is similar to that of Al Qaeda terrorist groups who want to rid all Westerners, the infidels, from holy lands.
In October 2010, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that multiculturalism in Germany doesn’t work and that immigrants need to do more to integrate into German society and culture. Meanwhile, the number of Neo-Nazis in Germany is on the rise – and so is the violence.
Then there is the tragedy in Norway. And they are not alone. France experienced the clash of cultures in 2005 as there were riots in the suburbs of Paris as a result of attacks on immigrant teenagers. While integrated more than most countries in Europe, England has experienced its share of cultural clashes while Spain has battled a war of cultures for years with those in Catalonia and Basque territories.
Mix in the conflicts between India and Pakistan, add the spice of strife in the Middle East, and a dash of cultural clashes with Muslims in Australia and Asia, and this cultural cuisine is hot and spicy – and at its boiling point.
In the United States, illegal immigration is a hot topic in California, Arizona, and states all over the country. New legislation is being passed and tensions that were once under the surface are now being brought to the boiling point as many Americans begin to voice their opinions on this issue. Regardless of what side of the fence you sit politically, there is no dismissing the illegal immigration debate in the United States.
Meanwhile, we watch, wait, and see if these dark lessons of history will be repeated.
Immigration and multiculturalism – warning signs of genocide and terrorism
While many look at terrorism as a threat, the truth is that terrorism is a symptom and not a cause. It’s a gaping wound, pouring with blood, that can no longer be contained by a band aid.
Many believed that the Holocaust and the evils of Nazi Germany could never be repeated. Yet we have seen genocides in Yugoslavia, the Sudan, and around the world. Terrorism, wars, and genocide don’t start with a gun or a death. They start with a conflict that builds day by day among people with a clash of cultures.
The solutions are simple yet complicated. These issues are a bigger threat than terrorism because they are something people deal with every day, day in and day out, all over the world. And while we can’t solve the problems in every country, here is how travel can heal and address the issues of multiculturalism and immigration to unite people around the world.
5 ways travel can help immigration and multiculturalism
1. Embrace other cultures – One of the greatest experiences in travel is the opportunity to experience a different way of life outside of your own. While it may be different, embrace those that are different than you, learn from them, and find common ground. Breaking down the barriers that divide us can only bring us closer.
2. Be kind to one another – Speak respectfully to each other and help others. Working alongside people brings us closer and more connected so be a part of the culture you are experiencing and treat people with kindness. A soft and gentle word can go a long way.
3. Respect cultural differences - Learn what is the the proper way to act in other cultures, respect your elders, and try to understand why people do what they do. Just because it is different than what you know doesn’t make them wrong. Understanding cultural differences doesn’t mean accepting a lifestyle but appreciating the people who choose to live that way.
4. Volunteer – Whether you choose to help out at home or give your time and energy to people on the other side of the world, helping others changes lives and brings people closer together. The languages of love and compassion are universally translated.
5. Share your travel experiences - While we can’t all be UN ambassadors or government leaders, our shared experiences have the opportunity to touch the lives of each person we tell. If our stories change one person whose life then changes another and so on, then one-by-one we can make a real difference in the lives of people as we bridge the culture gap around the world.
Travel can change the world
After the death of Osama bin Laden, many people reacted in a variety of ways. However, bin Laden’s death showed us how travel can change the world. And as the gaping wounds of multiculturalism conflicts and immigration lead to death and destruction through wars, genocide, and terrorism, it’s time to make a difference once again.
While we live in a world that is built on a global economy, the cultures and ethnic groups of the human race are dealing with multiple currencies with poor exchange rates.
The bombings in Norway and the terrorist attacks on 9/11 aren’t our biggest threats. While multiculturalism and immigration are good things, the time has come to raise the curtain and see what’s going on behind the scenes. Let’s lower the temperature on this cultural cuisine and let the taste of life explode in our mouths as we delight in its flavor.
What ideas do you have about travel, multiculturalism, immigration, and terrorism that can help bring us closer together?