Sociological (and sometimes mischievous) terminology like identity gap and cultural appropriation, accommodation and even assertions like Euro-centrism and Orientalism and political programs based on multiculturalism and interculturalism are very simply losing their edge. They have been overused, misused and abused. On the one hand and on the ground, in Canada today, people, colours, music and cultures are blending and interacting and founding new realities. Thirty five years ago, in Montreal city, there was no semblance of communities living together, sharing neighbourhoods and creating new generations out of distinct ethnicities. Today, that picture has changed radically. But, as far as definitions and analyses goes, there is a serious lag in understanding this ground reality. The dominating ethos, despite all the declarations of progress, remains…..”not like us, more like them.” Where is it coming from?
Definitions are falling apart and yet there is a constant need to understand and explain the phenomena without relying on a comfort zone that is steeped in personal affiliations and minor and concealed major doses of fear of the other.
In this issue of Montreal Serai, Patrick Barnard presents an extraordinarily passionate teacher’s perspective on teaching the other. Students today are in a better position to understand and not get easily “affiliated.” Mirella Bontempo covers the entire spectrum of migration, political culture, European adversity to the other in her essay on Multicultural Panic. Mathew Soule questions the evolving soul of Canada. Prasun Lala and Rola Harmouche do a dynamic exchange covering Algonquin rapper Samian and Basra born Montreal rapper Narcycist and British born Palestinian rapper Shadia Mansour.
We have an extensive interview of Guy Rodgers, Montreal activist for English cultural rights, by playwright and performer Anna Fuerstenberg. And there are essays, short stories, poetry and some live poetry by new suspects and as well by some of the usuals.