Thursday, November 28, 2013

Throughout history, people have moved from their home countries to other places to derive various benefits. These kinds of people have transformed many nations into multiracial and multicultural societies. Nowadays, the rate of this change has increased significantly thanks to globalization. Due to this mass movement of people across the globe, many countries now include many other cultures, traditions and languages in addition to their own because minority groups have certain characteristics that set them apart from the nationals of the host country.
The characteristics that distinguish minority groups can be categorized into four groups which are religion, ethnic background, culture and traditions and language. These features can be considered the identification card of races. Therefore, people usually try and preserve them when they move to another country. This resistance to assimilation forms minority groups which can be regarded as the cultural richness of a country. On the other hand, although minorities consolidate the cultural diversity of the host country, certain issues may be observed due to the differences between the nationals of the host country and the minorities. To overcome these issues and preserve the peace, both the local population and the minorities should be respectful to each other. Unless this is done, cultural and ethnic conflict becomes inevitable. There are some countries which haven’t given adequate rights to minorities to speak their language and practice their culture and faced many problems due to that approach and one example is Turkey which includes many ethnic groups. Past governments didn’t used to give minorities the permission to use their mother tongue freely and that caused a lot of civil unrest. Furthermore, there were some attacks on minorities which ended in mass migrations of these people out of the country. There are many countries in the world which have been very intolerant towards minority groups in history and suffered the consequences. Countries should respect minorities’ beliefs but the minorities, in turn, should respect the beliefs of the host population. The latter should learn the language of the host country to be able to better communicate; this is the most important step of adaptation. For instance, in Germany, many Turks have not learnt German despite being there many years; therefore, the barrier between The Turks and The Germans still stands causing some cultural and social conflicts in Germany. Conversely, there are some countries, such as Switzerland, which show that minorities and locals can live in peace. Such countries benefit from the resulting harmony.
In conclusion, minorities are good for a country as they provide cultural diversity. A suitable environment for cultural interaction should be provided to increase harmony everywhere in the world as minorities are now a fact of life more so than ever. Unless this is done, the resulting social and cultural problems will be insurmountable.
                                                                                 BAYRAM AKDENİZ / INT; the end of November

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