Keeping one’s people separate

“Keeping people separate is a demonstration of religious power. However, one would not expect the government of an immigrant-collecting nation such as Australia to tolerate its ethno-cultural communities emphasising their tribal or religious differences from one another. Yet, although there was already a policy-induced ethno-cultural diversity in immigrant entry, and which has occurred at a rapid rate since the mid-1970s, for more than a decade the government gave tribal ambitions a platform through its multicultural policy.

Multicultural policy was introduced with a fanfare. The immigrants and their descendants were encouraged to retain those parts of their traditional cultures which were not inconsistent with the institutions and social mores of the host people, the Anglo-Australians. What was the rationale behind this decision? Was it to encourage each tribal or ethnic immigrant community to keep separate from one another and the host nation, by being proud of their origins and differences? Was there also a political motivation? Was it intended to identify those who wanted to enter state or federal politics by their ethnicity? To what end?

Soon, this policy and the super-structures built on it became confused by many (perhaps intentionally) with the reality of ethnic diversity on the ground. Thus, anyone who opposed the policy, either because it was unnecessary, or costly, or likely to be ineffective, or that it set up duplicate policy, advisory or administrative structures, or led to unreal expectations, is conveniently accused of rejecting ethnic diversity – which was already an undeniable and irreversible fact.”

(The above extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ refer to those in power who control their followers, or others under their influence, seeking to maintain or enhance their relationships. Indeed, there are personalities who just have to exercise control – at work, in their relationships, or in organisations or institutions.

A neighbour of mine was thrown out from a small religious group because he questioned some practice or other. It is also quite normal for a leader of a religious community to keep his members closely bonded. Larger religious institutions may develop theology to demark further the boundaries between their church and other churches.

Why would governments play a similar game? Would there be any electoral advantage in encouraging tribo-religious communities to be identifiably unique, generation by generation? Would there be any benefit to the leaders of these communities?)