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[高三]What’s in a nation?
作者:21ST    来源:21世纪学生英文报·高三版第415期    日期: 2011-03-04

IF you were asked to give an example of the British national identity, what would come to mind? Big Ben, perhaps, or London Bridge, or 10 Downing Street.

No, these are famous images of Britain. National identity means a set of values that people in a nation can identify with.

So, is there one? Apparently, British Prime Minister David Cameron has some doubts.

Earlier this month Cameron told a conference in Germany that multiculturalism (多元文化) in his country has failed by encouraging different cultures to live separate lives from mainstream communities. He said that state multiculturalism ended up promoting separation (分离) and led to a loss of national identity.

Multiculturalism means that different cultures could live and grow in one nation. This cultural diversity enriches the mother country, and people from different backgrounds and religions would be free to follow their own traditions within their host nation.

A growing number of world leaders claim to be worried about a loss of national identity. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said something similar last October. She said that immigrants needed to integrate (融入) into German society, for example, by learning German.

A few days ago Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, echoed the idea. He said: “The truth is that we’ve been too concerned about the identity of the new arrivals and not enough about the identity of the country receiving them.”

France has taken a tougher approach – the French government banned the wearing of Muslim (穆斯林的) veils (面纱) in public and also banned schoolgirls from wearing headscarves.

Cameron was also criticized by some Muslim groups in the UK, for saying that some young Muslims turn to extremist ideas.

“Democracy (民主) and human rights are core teachings of Islam (伊斯兰教) which Muslims are proud of,” Shahid Mursaleen, spokesman of Minhaj-ul-Quran UK, a Muslim organization, told The Guardian. “…a multicultural society should be established through integration, not through assimilation (同化).”

Coming together is a two-way process, through which both the majority and the minorities influence and change one another. The differences can be peacefully met.

Assimilation, by contrast, means absorbing minorities into the ways of the majority - making them adopt the majority’s language, customs and “values”.

Cameron also says he hopes that people can say, “I’m a Muslim, I’m a Hindu, I’m a Christian, but I’m a Londoner too.” According to him, building a stronger sense of national identity is “the key of achieving true cohesion (凝聚力)”. 

关键词:高三 What’s in a nation?



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