“Three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development.”— United Nations.
Trinidad and Tobago is more fortunate than most and we sometimes forget that our little islands have the potential to boast a successful model of co-existence worldwide. Unfortunately, there are a few who revel in a crass vilifying of anything outside ‘their’ group.
As Catholics, we are called not to participate in anything that foments hatred or division, but rather be unifiers in thought and action, respecting the inherent dignity of all.
Here are six reasons why we should appreciate our cultural diversity. Can you think of more?
- We wouldn’t speak the way we do. Our history of different groups and their varying lexicons have shaped our spoken Creole.
- We wouldn’t look the way we do. The variety of skin tones, hair textures, physical features makes us a people with diverse and interesting looks, sometimes in one family.
- We have different adapted dishes in addition to the authentic dishes from the groups.
- In one small area you can have churches, mosques and temples, and practitioners of different faiths co-existing peacefully. Think of the outright hostilities between different ethnic groups in parts of the world.
- We would have fewer public holidays. Small space + cultural diversity = most of the population participating in small ways. How many households cook or eat curry on Divali or Indian Arrival Day for example?
- David Rudder said it best: how we vote is not how we party. It’s a pity that we allow politicians to manipulate thinking. In the end, a united people with a shared vision is stronger.