Dutch election reflects Europe’s anxiety

news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061125/ap_on_re_eu/europe_voter_anxiety_1

“… This confusion at the ballot box underscores the difficulties Europe faces in adapting to an ever more globalized world. Voters across Europe feel deep anxiety over how to preserve their cultures without closing their doors to immigrants, how to protect their cherished welfare states without becoming an economic dinosaur, and how to channel the energies of the free market without turning into a cold, uncaring continent.”

How it all began …

“My parents were missionaries in India. Once in a while the family would go to a nearby market town where people from different tribes would sell their stuff. When I was approximately 8 years old, I discovered the fascination of the divers cultures represented in the market. That was the moment when I started to be an anthropologist. And until today I am one with all my heart.” – When one of my professors told this story in class, my heart warmed and I could fully relate to it. I am always fascinated by other cultures. That’s why I am training to become an anthropologist, too.

So many people feel threatened by other cultures, especially when it hits close to home. In my home town, I live in the neighborhood with the highest percentage of foreigners. How often have I heard that people feel threatened by their presence or get annoyed because they do things differently. Or people complain when they find that too many people on the train speak another than the national language. How sad! People from other cultures could be an enrichment if we don’t see them as a danger.

The multitude of cultures is an expression of God’s creativity. When hearing others speak a foreign language, I try to guess which one it could be. When I see groups of foreigners, I love to watch what they are doing and try to discern patterns and make sense out of it. When I have the opportunity, I love to interview people to find out how they are thinking about different things.

No question – I am fascinated by cultures, and a researcher at heart.