October 19, 2006

We aren’t so different

Posted in Malaysia, Reflections at 2:24 am by egalitaria

In another interesting conversation tonight, we talked about barriers and their effects upon society. Do they make or break the fabric of society?

The creation of identification labels allows members of a similar group to feel a sense of solidarity through a set of common beliefs, ,values and experiences. For example, people depend upon the shared experience (good or bad) to garner support and comfort. This rule is applied in Alcoholics Anonymous groups, and stretches to religion. We can easily imagine how Christian cell groups, Muslim prayer groups and so on, create an environment of sisterhood and brotherhood – a strong ground for fellowship and community. This, I believe, is important. Not only is it essential in the development of an individual within communities, but it is only natural for birds of a feather to flock together.

However, the flipside is that with such labels (placed artificially or un-) comes the unavoidable barrier. By creating an identity of race, religion, gender, anything at all, a boundary is formed between “me” and “you”. This, as argued during the conversation, was the root cause of division within societies. The very need for people to draw attention to these differences perpetuates animosity. It may not necessarily lead to war and fighting, but it creates a very fertile environment for it to take place.

By building up the unity of one group, you concurrently create room for disunity. So it is up to the leaders of a country to decide, really, what is the most important at stake. Should a leader give up unity within a particular race, in order for the greater good of the country – national unity? Or would a leader be willing to play that card and offer national interests up as a sacrificial lamb instead?

Of course, an alternative solution is to ensure no such barriers are raised, and if those natural ones do take place, it is up to the leadership/government to ensure the barriers are lowered as far as possible. Why make such a big deal out of it?

We aren’t so different after all.



  1. Observer said,

    Hi Egalitaria,
    Do you agree or disagree with Blair ?


    Blair Criticizes Full Islamic Veils as ‘Mark of Separation’

    On Tuesday Prime Minister Tony Blair called the full-face veils worn by some British Muslim women a “mark of separation,” echoing some of the sentiments of Jack Straw, the leader of the House of Commons, who said this month that he did not believe that women should wear the veil.

    The discussion mirrors earlier public disputes in France, Turkey and elsewhere about head scarves.

    Should Muslim women in Western countries continue to wear the niqab, a headdress with only a narrow slit for the eyes, or should they dress in a manner more in keeping with the customs of the non-Muslim majority among whom they live?

    full article:

  2. Observer said,

    Wonder if you agree with Blair then ?

    Blair Criticizes Full Islamic Veils as ‘Mark of Separation’

  3. teste said,

    say what

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