May 2009
Multiculturalism - Is it working?


It was all about equality and respect - values few would have a problem with. So just when did multiculturalism become a dirty word? Was it about the same time as the ideas of respecting difference and embracing diversity began to be overtaken in the public mind by shrill religious fundamentalism and hectoring traditionalists?

Today, despite many of the world's cities being populated by a varied mix of people from all kinds of backgrounds, intolerance seems to be developing strong new roots. Can we get past the shouting and learn to live with each other, enriching each other's lives? Or is such thinking as old hat as, some would argue, the official policies put forward in the name of multiculturalism? And if we are in danger of losing our way in the cultural labyrinth, how can we find it?

This month's NI sees a vibrant selection of contributors tackling these questions: British and Canadian cultural commentators Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Haroon Siddiqui; Indian journalist Shoma Chaudhury who has met the country's leading hate-mongers; and the Mauritian novelist Lindsey Collen, who looks behind her island nation's image as a multicultural haven.








2 Letters

4 Into the vortex of identity
With Dinyar Godrej, whose personal journey as an immigrant reveals some of the faultlines of multiculturalism, making the case for looking beneath the smokescreen of 'culture clash'.

8 To craft a new society
A divided society needs new answers and new identities, argues Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

10 No room for bigots
Canadian multiculturalism is in rude health and has licked the kinds of problems that crop up in other countries. Haroon Siddiqui explains how.

13 'What's my identity?'
Are faith schools divisive? Not according to a former student.

14 Ripping up the rainbow
Shoma Chaudhury on the hate mongers intent on tearing up the very idea of India.

18 Another side of paradise
Class or culture - which has caused Mauritius the most upset? Lindsey Collen looks back.

20 Hanging together
Strategies for social cohesion.


21 Peace offerings
Members of citizens' groups for peace that attempt to bridge the Israeli-Palestinian divide talk with Hadani Ditmars about why working together brings its own rewards.


25 Currents
A wave of strikes hits the French Caribbean; heavy-handed policing in Canada; and why the Islamic Republic of Iran's 30th anniversary is a sombre milestone for gays.

27 Only Planet
Gort and Klaatu are visited by a ratty delegation.

28 Big Bad World
A corporate pinata, by Polyp.
PLUS: NI Prize Crossword.

29 Making Waves
Bolivian feminist Saturnina Quispe Choque talks to Nadia Hausfather.

30 Mixed Media
The first Iraqi film about the US-led invasion; Marianne Faithfull is still going strong; and a miraculous book of Zimbabwean short stories.

32 Southern Exposure
A Bangladeshi boy is inspired by a French footballer in Shahadat Parvez's photograph.

33 Worldbeaters
NATO is shrouded in military secrecy, but what we do know is bad enough.

34 Essay - Timor-Leste; don't forget
Catherine Scott and Jo Barrett call on the international community to honour its obligations.

36 Country Profile: South Korea





NI Japan




From this month's theme

- Into the vortex of identity (NI p4-7)

- Hanging together (NI p20)

- To craft a new society (NI p8-9)
- Ripping up the rainbow (NI p14-17)
- Another side of paradise (NI p18-19)

From Special Features and other articles
- Peace offerings (NI p21-24)
- Upping the ante (NI p25)
- 'Green' government shuts down leading environmental group (NI p26)

- Running scared(NI p27)

Japanese organizations at a glance reported for NI Japan
- Japan Philippines Volunteer Association
- Center for Multicultural Information & Assistance Tokyo


Back Number List