Thought Archive

Sunday, February 17, 2008

As I return from English shores...

I have just returned from UK and have become once again more attuned to the political discussions,. which are so evidently absent from our horizon here. I have been quite baffled by media outburst reacting to the remarks from Archbishop of Canterbury; the story we are quite familiar by now. There is indeed a real witch-hunt going on with Anglican Church having a potential to be split down the middle because of one short word. This word is of course a bombshell – "Sharia law".

In truth I see that hopes are now pinned for the end of the era of multiculturalism (another risquee word), and for a new spirit of cohesion and unity, that will soon arrive. This vision will be just as incoherent and fumbling as the one it has just preceded; establishing crude "patriotism" will be a difficult task in a country that has so long prided itself on the absence of the strong nationalist identity or in emanation of this identity in ideas rather than deeds. However ideas are much harder expression of identity to subscribe to than race, nationality or culture.

One of the features of Britain that makes it more tolerable and accepting to outsiders (unlike in more loyalty-demanding France) is general indifference of British to the way incomers lead their lives. This is becoming more difficult to preserve as the state - as a result of its struggles with home-grown jihadis- will inevitable become entangled in people’s fears about Islam. Of course the primary target of fears is and always will be Muslims and their attitudes to the state and terrorism, but the change in attitudes has wider implications for the society. The attitude does not stop with mere change of the concepts, for these concepts (i.e multiculturalism) are rather like avatars defining the current trends.

British people will soon start to appreciate in their spiritual and cultural heritage and return to their respective creeds – mostly Christianity. This will not be a result of a particular religiosity (has it ever?) as much as this will be a desire to attach oneself more firmly to a local culture. Thus, despite current trends in church attendance and among white Anglo-Saxon majority, I believe that it has now reached the lowest point and can start to recover under perceived threat to Britain’s values. Thus, in a very indirect way Islam may be responsible for future erosion of secularism in Britain.

However this is for tomorrow. As for now, I do not believe that anyone, except perhaps BNP or some transmogrified Tory can produce a fiercely nationalistic vision of Britannia which is ready to defend her well defined and eternal values. For these values exist in hazy form (what is Britishness, and how to define it are sticky subjects) and are in urgent need of crystallyzing into a more acceptable form.

If I were one of those defenders I’d embark on the program of complete redefinition of British society and my measures would include:

1. Rule of man-made Law over any other laws and customs
2. Instill love for the flag (requirement to put up flags in people’s homes)
3. Instill love for the Queen and the Country (exams to test people's knowledge of history)
4. Christian faith and culture (encourage Church attendance)
5. End to illegal and unskilled immigration

I am sure, however that this vision might pull the country apart. As always in Britain – all depends on the English.


Riri said...

Welcome back! I passionately agree with number 2, I think Britain will look so pretty when covered in Union Jacks, will look fab in contrast to the green parks and endless countryside.

NoolaBeulah said...

Nazim, your understanding of this country is very impressive. It's amazing the way your own vision can include a foreign land in such a comprehensive way.

You're right about many things. One that I'd put even more strongly than you have is this: the awareness of militant Islam will have a very direct influence of the erosion of the secular. (Erosion only, not destruction.) I don't think this will benefit the Anglican Church much; it'll be the Catholic and Evangelical groups that will grow. I believe as well that, if Europe is to recover some of its confidence, it will be through a resurgence of the Catholic Church.

And I don't think it will be the Union Jack that will fly, but the Cross of St George. It is English identity that will grow, not British.

I must admit, however, that I feel uncomfortable with a lot of this, if only because it is coming from government. For so long, the British didn't need to wave the flag; they knew they were superior, so why shout about it. Government measures to instill patriotism are a sign of weakness.

I regret also the loss of that indifference to the way other people lived. I hate measures that come from the centre seeking to impose some type of vision. That didn't use to be necessary. Another sign of weakness. I want multiculturalism to die a painful death, but not pluralism, which is a great benefit. We didn't use to need to tell people what to think; it was implicit. It is not the job of government to do that (or at least, it wasn't) These things should come from below, and government should follow, not lead.

Excellent post.

[PS Riri, you are truly perverse. "Endless countryside"! Endless?! What a city girl you are. There is not endless countryside; there is the beautifully tended remains of a moderately large countryside, NONE OF WHICH NEEDS FLAGS DRAPED OVER IT. Sometimes you're worse than Muslim; you're just plain BAD. I'm almost tempted to call you American.]

Riri said...

Oh I! Our Nazim is truly impressive, one of a kind he is that lad. Heart of gold and all as well. In a word: PERFECT.

Am bad but am funny! Am perverse but am happy! Babyyyyyyy!

"I want multiculturalism to die a painful death" hahahah!!!!! Go for it Noolabeulah! Let it all out mate! Fecking political correctness, what a bollocks idea it was!

Hazar Nesimi said...

I guess there was a touch of irony in my post. I meant not what i would do myself (i'd rather not do it), but what I think would likely take place in Britain, whether by people's volition or imposition from above.

Interesting though - where will today's or former anglicans will turn for their local "brand" religion? Catholicism? Can't believe that sectarian memories die that hard. Most likely more people may be drawn to american style evangelism - although this is a type of piety that is so not British. I think that the anglican mores will eventually grow stricter. But of course, amongst educated classes there will be a more vocal group of adhereres to secular values, who will stay firm in their unbeliefs.

I thank you, thank you not so-perverse-as-you-think Riri Shukra habibi!

NoolaBeulah said...

I really think that, unless the Anglican church can get a hold of itself, then it will drip down a drain somewhere. It is just so wet!

But, as with Catholicism, its growth is coming in the Third World, and it may be that they will revitalise it.

What does "Shukra habibi" mean? And where is the girl? She hasn't posted for a few days - I miss her.

Riri said...

It means thanks darling.
Am here mate! Just fed up with blogging these days, much better to comment and try and annoy bloggers as much as possible.