Mulitucltural Ireland’s vision should be ours as well

by , under Enrique

Why is it that we don’t hear Finnish politicians speaking in the same manner as Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins, who said that a major task of the country’s EU presidency should be to remove ignorance and misunderstanding, which lead to “incipient forms of racism,” writes the

Speaking at the launch of the Neighborhood Week, an annual event at the Islamic Cultural Center in Clonskeagh, Higgins said that “the Europe we aspire to does not recoil from fears based on ignorance.”

He admitted that there were dangers to society when there is segregated space allocated to individual cultures. “Ghettoizing of [all] ethnic groups and the erection of cultural barriers, built on fear, prejudice or ignorance,” he said, “[should] be avoided at all costs.”

Higgins said that the country’s new citizens, which included Muslims, play an important role in “shaping and crafting our shared future.”

In order to practice equality, the head of state said it was important to understand that “belonging is not based on imitation or the subservience of one culture to another.”

Diverse cultures should instead bring about a new sense of human solidarity and an understanding that integration is a two-way process.

Why haven’t we heard any Finnish politicians speak in the same inclusive fashion about immigrants and visible minorities as Higgins? Is it because Ireland has no anti-immigration parties like Finland? Is it because the Perussuomalaiset are the third-largest political force in Finland?

The silence and even cowardice that seeps through our inaction helps, as Higgins warned, promote “incipient forms of racism” in this country.