As usual I get inspired on my blog posts by something that happened or something I read. In this case it was a blog post of John Appleby on SCN in which was referring to cultural sensitivity. It was quite interesting for me to read this again since I would tend to say that we are overdoing things. Culture has many definitions but one of the important facets for me is that it changes over the time since the values which are held by a culture will also inevitably adapt. There is still a strong wave of being Politically Correct and for example in these days not say “Merry Christmas” since it could be offending to non-christians. I think this is completely wrong in all senses. In the christian culture Christmas is a very important event which is being celebrated all over the christian world and wishing a Merry Christmas should not be regarded by anybody as an offence.
I have had the privilege to travel a bit in the last couple of years and probably had also some very important eye opening moments. I owe a very large chunk of this to my friend Ofer Wiesel in Israel. He showed me very different way of thinking and respect but without imposing anything at anytime on me. I have had very mixed feelings the first time I flew to Israel. Being German this might be understood, but just in case and in order to avoid any misinterpretation here is why: I was brought up in Germany with the “we are guilty” mentality. For that I was expecting strong opposition, which I never ever got. There was not a single time in which somebody said a single word to me about the german past. Curious to see how things can be very different than one might have thought before. I was able to participate in great events like a Bar Mitzvah by an orthodox part of the family. I would consider myself simply non-religous but in any case this was to me an honour to be able to assist to such ceremony. Being able to see and live different cultures should be always considered as enriching.
I love to wish my friends the best for Yom Kippur or Pesach. In turn they wish me a Merry Christmas or Happy Easter. I feel this is much nicer and honest for everybody. I know which days are important for my friends and they know which are for me. Tolerance and respect cannot be built, in my humble opinion, on mutual respect. The best way of being mutually respectful is by accepting and trying to share the cultural differences and not by creating something new and artificial.
It takes some time and some more will to listen and to learn to & from others but it is what enriches us and one of the fantastic chances the 2.0 world is giving us. We can interact with people who do not share our believes, eat different food (or avoid certain foods!) and we have even the chance to pick the things we like best of each.
Another friend of mine with whom I commented on this post said “considering cultural sensitivity its important to understand that what ever is done here on earth are only done by humans – and all should be respected”. Thanks Kumar for sharing your thought on this with me.
It really depends only on us to share, understand & make understand as well as respect each other. Denying certain believes or making them not visible does not help!
I wish you all a happy, prosperous, peaceful and healthy 2014!