Intercomprehension more than combat

At a time of migrations from countries on the fringes of European cultural origin, the situation of French, in the identity debate which is shaking the certainties of the West, is singular. Observing it for more than 30 years, the psychologist Rachida Azdouz understood that this situation, minority in America but majority in Quebec, produces with the multiculturalism of Ottawa a certain “frontal shock”.

Born in Morocco, specialist in intercultural relations at the University of Montreal, the essayist, in her book Heal the past, think about the future, reflects on the immigrant’s hope of relieving the suffering of being uprooted from his country of origin by the desire to take part in the development of his host country. But she notes that, based, she judges, on “peaceful coexistence”, the federal approach to the question contradicts the Quebec approach, based, according to her, on “social cohesion”.

To express the unease of so many Quebecers in front of the multiculturalism of the former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, then of her son and spiritual heir Justin, she puts herself in the shoes of the discontented of a political doctrine which, recalls- it “protects and encourages the maintenance of original traditions” among immigrants. Rachida Azdouz makes these malcontents say: “For many of us, Christmas no longer has any religious significance, but we hold on to it. “

Although coming from a Muslim society, the empathetic psychologist continues by interpreting the Quebecers observed: Christmas is “part of our socialization… Why should all groups be proud of their origins except the majority group? This extreme intercultural sensitivity is a credit to Rachida Azdouz. Instead of insisting on the claims of ethnic minorities, even when they are very legitimate, the essayist emphasizes the mutual understanding of all.

To express the discreet nature of a fruitful dialogue between cultures, she quotes the testimony of Kim Thúy. According to the Quebecois novelist of Vietnamese origin, “Eastern culture is very different from Western culture. Here, the strength of a person is illustrated by the power of his voice ”. Kim Thúy continues: “Whereas in the East, the more invisible and eras you are, the more power you have. For example, in martial arts, the first movement that we will learn is to disappear. “

By this passage, Rachida Azdouz, by deploring that “Anglo-Saxon multiculturalism” has “nothing other than the courts as a landing strip for disputes which sometimes oppose two legitimate conceptions”, invites us, to aim social harmony, conciliation, nuance, subtlety, in short, the silence of wisdom. His concise suggestion grips us: no need to ask him more.

Extract from Dressing the past, thinking about the future

Healing the past, thinking about the future Racism and anti-racism

★★★ 1/2

Rachida Azdouz, Editorial, Montreal, 2021, 248 pages

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