It is quite significant when EU heavyweights such as France and Germany take a stand on an important issue like immigration and diversity. Recent statements by German Chancellor Angela Merkel are a good example of the disturbing trend, when she stated that multiculturalism had “utterly failed” in Germany.
The statement by Merkel, which does nothing to promote greater integration between different groups in Germany, does not bring anything constructive to the table. At the best, it ends up polarizing Germans of different ethnic and religious origin even more.
A critical journalist would ask why Merkel is making such affirmations at this particular moment. The answer is simple: Germany will hold elections in a number of states in 2011.
Merkel’s statement even caused a reaction from UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon, who warned against a “dangerous trend” of intolerance emerging in Europe especially against Muslim immigrants.
“A dangerous trend is emerging, a new politics of polarization. Some play on people’s fears,” he said. “They accuse immigrants of violating European values. Yet too often it is the accusers who subvert these values and thus the very idea of what it means to be a citizen of the European Union.”
What is the danger of ever-greater intolerance and polarization in Europe? For one it paves the way for other minority groups to become targets and victims of intolerance. It would be naive to think that the only “enemy” are Muslims.
The greatest threat to Europe is not any particular ethnic or religious group but those who want to draw us apart from our diversity.
If the worrying trend continues in a global climate of economic uncertainty, it has the ability of impoverishing us in many ways. Instead of reaping benefits from our diversity we will be spending too much time hating each other.