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Season’s Greetings

I wrote this back in early November but thought I’d blog it now as a response to Cameron’s comments on multiculturalism.

On writing my happy Diwali wishes this morning I was struck by the nagging thought that I shouldn’t really be doing it, after all, I’m neither Sikh or Hindu. Then I thought, hang on a minute, neither are you Christian but you blithely wish all and sundry a merry Christmas and Easter, and also a Happy New Year to anyone who celebrates that (and just what is there to celebrate about another stinking year in the fetid cesspit of life? Well, plenty actually but, y’know, I’m a morose motherfucker, so…).

Anyway, I got to thinking about the various festivals an’ that and how quite apart from being divisive they tend to pull people together. I have some Greek friends/colleagues who celebrate ‘our’ Easter and ‘their’ Easter, which occasionally fall on the same date but usually don’t – they wish ‘us’ a happy Easter, and we wish ‘them’ a happy Easter, and there’s usually cake involved. For Eid, my Muslim friends/colleagues will bring in tasty comestibles – for Diwali, my manager and friend will usually bring in some sweets and if we’ve bullied her enough her hubbie’s lovely potato curry and other bits (although I just don’t get the Indian sweets, too sickly, like Mars bars are – I used to dream of multiple Mars bars when I was a nipper, now I can barely manage one of those tiny ones. Celebrations? Diabetes bombs, more like).

Then, of course, we have the big daddy of them all, Christmas. Despite what certain elements of the fourth estate would have us believe, *everyone* wishes each other a merry Xmas, even in the allegedly left wing, progressive (HAH!) local authority I work for. Decorations all over the bloody shop, parties and meals arranged, people bringing heaps of food into the office (it’s how I first sampled such delights as proper oxtail, curry goat, jollof rice and the like – and a special mention goes to my friend Eve’s Tiramisu which is wonderful, the secret ingredient being Dream Topping), and genuine smiley faces as people shake hands, kiss cheeks and wish each other jolly festivities, regardless of whatever creed they follow or not.

Each of the above mentioned festivals occasions a bringing together of people with different beliefs and cultural backgrounds – they are the proof that, despite what we are told, inclusiveness and multiculturalism can and do work – this isn’t because people are being ‘forced’ (Daily Mail) into anything, but because this is how it works when people are left to get on with things. There is no agenda being pushed, no grand scheme being worked, just folk getting along and respecting one another – it’s not even multiculturalism, really, it’s just humanity. And I love humanity. I get angry with humanity at times because we try our best to fuck things up when we are our own best hope, but as I sit at my desk, see people talking and laughing as we eat our festive goodies from whatever celebration, I know it can work, and it does work. We just need to work on our efficiency levels a tad more.

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  1. February 4, 2011 at 11:58 pm

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