Well this might come as an old topic but then i felt the need to state it yet another time, as a few incidents, in which i was involved, reminded me of it once again this evening in the Masters' students meet arranged by the international students office in my college. It was supposed to be an evening where people would get to know others cultures, traditions, their views and opinions in a way which would benefit us all, but then as with most cases involving two, or rather, three very explosive factors, namely young age, freedom and to a certain extent, fundamentalism, of a sort which is not really dangerous (certainly not as dangerous as explained by the media) but all while equally annoying and insulting to the person at the opposite end.
The event began as usual, with a very warm welcome by a very polished German lady wishing us all a good time. And then we were all asked to help ourselves to some cookies and some juice and sit down in a circle, chairs already arranged. We then had to introduce ourselves and tell our names, the country we're from, what we're here to study in and what we expect from these two years in general.
So, People were like, all enthusiastic, with replies ranging from learning languages, to learning cultures, meeting new people, seeing new places, drinking lots of beer and, like i said, just having a good time. But then, the thugs probably forgot, you don't get to learn new cultures or you don't get to meet new people, learn their language or have a good time if you laugh on their face for the way they speak their language, make laugh at their beliefs, mock their population or the demographic distribution of their population in other parts of the world, and not of all things, their religion or their religious beliefs, and neither if you start comparing with your own.
The main activity of the evening was for people to group around according to the continents (almost) and then come up with a proverb that everybody, in that group, knows, write it down in the language in which originated, and explain the literal meaning and then the actual/contextual meaning of the proverb. That was when, the very same people who came up with some really beautiful proverbs and read it out with all vigor and enthusiasm to the audience were acting like jokers, laughing at the meanings of the other proverbs and making fun of the way its spoken, thankfully it didn't really run anyone in the wrong way (i think and i dearly hope, cause i don't wanna be punished for something I'm not responsible for), but then it got me thinking, fundamentalism is in each and everyone of us, it is not our duty to question whether its wrong or right, it's our responsibility that it doesn't come in the way of others or that we don't step on anyone's toes because of it. Cause yes, i too sometimes am angered that, people here expect me to know German from the day i landed here, immediately, *poof* and I'm German!, like that! and the anger is not cause they're don't speak English, but because they're not giving me time to learn german, We're all humans oder? But, i don't go around accusing Germans in front of other Germans, or keep reminding them of things they're trying to forget and, mind you, especially, for those of the things they're trying to forget that the present generation was never ever even remotely responsible for.
Accept it! you prove nothing by arguing, they're like that cause they're like that, they wouldn't be Chinese or Russian or German or Indian or Spanish if they weren't like that. Had they been anything else, they would just be "people from" China or Russia or Germany or India or Spain.
Rule number one, don't question "why" in a culture; that is that way cause it was in any other way, it wouldn't be "that" culture, now would it? Now don't try to act smart, i know what's on your mind, yes you can question some things, but if you don't know what to question and what not to, then learning other cultures is not your cup of tea, try table-tennis.
I hope those of you reading this would try not to piss someone from another region off. Learning is fun, don't spoil it. Cheers.