Feb 292008

Ganked by this Yank from fang_uk, in the interest of instigation and getting some discussion going.

“Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

Separately, [John] Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation’s mosques. Quote:
‘Immigrants – not Australians, must ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians’.

‘This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. We speak mainly English – not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language’.

‘Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture. We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us’.

‘This is OUR country, OUR land, and OUR lifestyle, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom – the right to leave’.

‘If you aren’t happy here then leave. We didn’t force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted'”.

I can’t say I was ever a fan of John Howard, but I was all “fuck yeah!” when I read that little speech. I think the whole “Christian nation” thing was way overdone because, if memory serves, Australia was already “founded” when the British got there, and not by Christians. But I’m a godless heathen, so what do I know? :oP

I understand fj‘s view on the threat of social stagnation (see responses to fang_uk‘s thread), but this is about one group of immigrants who want to live under a different set of laws than those of the country they’ve chosen to live in. No, sorry, it doesn’t work like that. If you choose to live in a country then you live by that country’s laws; you don’t demand special laws that only apply to you or your group. If you love those laws so much, why did you leave the place where they’re enforced to begin with? If you get your jollies from stoning women or executing gay teenagers, I hear Iran is lovely in the springtime. Please let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

I was recently ranting to myself about an unrelated, but similar, circumstance here in the US: everything now seems to be in Spanish as well as English. It started with voice menus, then it was ATMs. In the grand scheme of things it’s really not a big deal; I usually don’t even notice the Spanish portions anymore, but right before Christmas I went to Sears to buy a present, and all of the store signs had Spanish subtitles. I was surprised to find that I was actually a bit angry over this. I consider myself a very liberal person, but it seems I’d just run into one of my limits. I sat in Baja Fresh and pondered this over a chicken quesadilla.

I know someone’s going to accuse me of racism over this, but it’s not about racism, it’s about favoritism. When did the Hispanic population become America’s Québécois, that everything must now be in two languages? Take Minnesota for an example: you can’t throw a rock without hitting an Ericson or an Olsen (although if it’s an Olsen Twin, feel free to use a bigger rock), yet how many signs in Minnesota are subtitled in Swedish? Over 12 million immigrants entered this country through Ellis Island over the course of sixty years, from a multitude of countries; did they demand that all signs be changed to accommodate their native tongue?

No, they did not. They learned the language of the country they’d chosen to live in. When Aaron and I were toying with just the idea of moving to Germany, I took a German class at the local community college, to get a head start in case we got serious about it. I didn’t just sit back and expect everything to be printed in English when I got there, just for my convenience.

The Census Bureau projects that by 2050, about 25% of the U.S. population will be Hispanic, mostly due to immigration both legal and illegal. Fine, whatever, I honestly don’t care. Throughout history the percentages of various ethnic groups have risen and fallen within a population; this is no different. But for fuck’s sake, is it too much to ask to adapt to the country you’ve moved to, instead of expecting that country to adapt to you?

/soapbox off

Now, let the shitstorm begin…

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