Friday, April 20, 2007

There are times when national or cultural fault lines suddenly seem to open up

The current issue April 2007 Editorial:
Auroville is sometimes described as a multicultural society. If ‘multicultural' refers merely to a diversity of nationalities this is true, if not necessarily notable: almost any inner city school in London or New York contains more nationalities than Auroville. But if ‘multicultural' implies not simply the coexistence of different cultures, but a society which celebrates and is enriched by the diversity of its cultures, we move on to more problematic terrain. Because while Auroville is generally a success story in terms of the ability of its various cultures to live and work together, there are times when national or cultural fault lines suddenly seem to open up.
Why is this? The truth seems to be that many if not most Aurovilians continue to be influenced, to some extent at least, by the attitudes and perspectives of the culture in which they grew up. This is hard for us to accept – particularly as many of the people who are drawn to Auroville are attempting to reach beyond the limitations of nationality or caste – but unless we acknowledge this and start working creatively with it, both personally and as a community, it is likely that further difficulties will lie ahead and we will fail to utilise the true richness of our cultural diversity.
In the April issue of Auroville Today we try to throw some light on this sensitive issue. Doudou Diène speaks about his experience, as UN Special Rapporteur, of racism and discrimination in different countries of the world; two South Africans – one black, one white – who recently ran cultural sensitization programmes in Auroville talk about how they managed to transcend profound personal differences, and Aurovilians explore different cultural perspectives on issues which are central to the development of Auroville as a true community.
Other topics highlighted in this issue of Auroville Today are how the community is providing for the basic needs of the residents; a report on an exhibition on Mother's Balcony and Terrace Darshans; how to ensure the water supply of the bioregion;a memory of Erica, an elderly Aurovilian who returned to Germany; encountering Michael Murphy, the recently appointed member of the International Advisory Council; and we portray snapshots of photographer Sebastian Cortès. The issue ends with a report on Adventura: Auroville's adventurers.
By following the links you are welcome to read a few of the articles. We wish you happy reading. Please subscribe if you want to read more, or ask for a free copy. Details are elsewhere on this web page.

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