sábado, enero 10, 2009

Aprender a convivir

Ahora que por fin la globalización parece haber alcanzado nuestras orillas y la presencia de inmigrantes africanos o asiáticos salpica los barrios de Buenos Aires (todavía en poquísimas cantidades pero marcando claramente una tendencia), vale la pena leer el artículo When town halls turn to Mecca, publicado en diciembre en The Economist. La buena noticia es que el sistema democrático puede ser la respuesta a los problemas inherentes al cruce de culturas e identidades, por supuesto, atravesando enormes tensiones y decisiones complejas:

In places like Molenbeek, a few miles away from the European Union’s main institutions, talk of the continent’s transformation into Eurabia doesn’t sound absurd. Although Muslims make up less than 4% of the EU’s total population, their concentration in urban areas is altering the scene in some European cities.

In some of these places bad relations between Muslims, non-Muslims and the authorities are creating political opportunities for the far right.


Yet talk of civilisational war in Europe’s cobblestoned streets is out of line in one respect: it understates the ability of democratic politics, especially local politics, to adapt to new social phenomena. For cities to work, compromises have to be struck and coalitions assembled. In city affairs, more than in national politics, politicians borrow each other’s slogans and policies.


Neither in Italy nor elsewhere is there any ground for complacency about social peace in Europe’s cities. The absorptive power of local democracy is great, but it is not infinite. From Amsterdam to Leicester, conurbations that now thrive on diversity could face problems if economic pressures put an end to the municipal largesse that keeps all groups happy. But at least this much can be said: there are enough examples of Muslims and non-Muslims learning to rub along, through the trade-offs of local politics, to disprove the fatalists. In urban Europe, there is nothing predestined about the clash of civilisations.

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