The end of Multiculturalism?

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After the recent attacks in Europe, the Western countries’ immigration policy has been strongly challenged, as well as the acceptance of the refugees. And it does nothing but growing. The cultural diversity which on other moments was so praised, is called into question, as it is bringing out its failures and challenges. If, as Samuel Huntington exposes in his “Clash of Civilizations”, these cultural differences are a fact and might become outright hostility, what is then the sense of the multiculturalism?

“Multiculturalism” is the coexistence’ phenomenon of heterogeneous cultural groups within a territory that previously housed a culturally homogeneous population. It is also referred to the process of claiming rights by diverse cultural communities in the international context. Some politicians argue that the multiculturalism is undermining from within the national identity of the traditional states. Its very existence seems to be questioning the ethnic, linguistic and historical cohesiveness, which has characterized some particular nations. The development of the multiculturalism is closely linked to the global migrations’ process, and by its extreme versions, the multiculturalism might adopt fundamentalism’ ways, by trying to impose a totalitarian logic for the rest of the population.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said during her speech at the German CDU’ Youth Day that the multiculturalism is a failed fiction: “The attempt to integrate immigrants into the German society has been an absolute failure,” the Chancellor said, “the immigrants must accept the German rules of the peaceful coexistence. In order to have chances for finding a good job, the foreigners should learn to speak German properly. Traditions such as the forced child marriage cannot be afforded in the rule of law, nor keeping the girls from going to school. The police must act effectively and righteousness to prevent that whole neighborhoods become places without law“, were some of the Merkel’s speech statements.

In this context of social conflicts in Europe, the Netherlands, which had always been a multicultural model’ paradigm, has decided to give it up. The government of the Netherlands stated that the existing multicultural model has not done more than encouraging the Muslim immigrants into a parallel society, which is harmful for the country. The Internal Affairs Ministry presented a project in June 2015 in which it was expressed the intention to orient the immigration towards the values of the Dutch people, absolutely necessary because Dutch society is about to disintegrate in terms of identity. The new integration policy would be much more demanding with immigrants, who must learn the Dutch language compulsorily, among others. Likewise, the government will impose coercive measures on immigrants who ignore the values of the country and its laws. In addition, the government will no longer provide specific subsidies to the Muslim community to promote their integration, “since in any case, they don’t.”

Further proof of the failed attempt at multiculturalism can be found in the rise of Donald Trump in the USA. Trump proudly touts xenophobic rhetoric, and his speeches have brought him closer to the White House than anyone thought was possible a year ago. The fact is that Trump went from a candidate which no political analyst took seriously, to the Republican presidential nominee.

The anti-foreign sentiments aren’t unique to the United States. Countries throughout the European Union are seeing far-right parties rise in popularity and increase in xenophobic rhetoric. In fact, approximately 95% of polled Brits think multiculturalism is a failure. This issues become even more complex with the recent attacks which have taken place in France, and the last weekend in Bavaria, Germany and are coincidental with the very last flow of Syrian refugees.

For too long the successive governments refused to accept that immigrants had not only come to work and leave after, but to stay. For a diverse society to thrive, there needs to be a concerted effort on the native population to accept and adapt to an influx of new ideas and customs, but their also needs to be a substantial effort for immigrants or refugees to learn and assimilate the ideals of the host country. Failure to assimilate is feeding insecurities and mistrust throughout the western world. When large a number of people from a single culture move into a particular area and fail to assimilate, it understandably feels like an invasion to the native populace. If furthermore, the immigrants are attacking to the native population, the situation deteriorates on an unlimited basis, which is already happening. Any failure to assimilate on the part of the foreign party will always lead to the failure of multiculturalism.


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