Letter to America

Robert Gear (July 2017)



secular superstition, and with its nose well-adjusted to sniffing out what it understands to be the rotting carcass of Western decadence, has begun its reinvigorated push towards hoped-for world domination.


At first, few noticed. To the aforementioned provincial citythe one which boasted the brutalist confection of a public library which had replaced a magnificent late-Victorian Italianate structure enthusiastically demolished in the headlong rush to complete the unfinished task of Hermann Göring’s Luftwaffe, I had moved with my parents in 1964. Exploring the city back then, we were astonished to see inner-city neighborhoods almost entirely inhabited by Asian immigrants. Not that we or any of my parents’ middle-class friends were critical of this new multicultural world. Far from it. The vibrant colors and smells and signage in forbiddingly incomprehensible scripts added a new exoticism to the relative drabness of the metal-bashing industrial metropolis. We certainly were not prejudiced.


Of course, struggling British industries now being out-performed by continental rivals had pushed governments of both stripes to import cheap Asian labor. And the continental rivals were not to be outdone in their pursuit of lower overheads. The French, for example, settled les banlieues of their great cities with North Africans, and the Germans staffed the assembly lines of their burgeoning automobile factories with gastarbeiter from Turkey and Yugoslavia.


Looking back (now in anger), few could have imagined that a significant portion of those new immigrants would not integrate into their new lands. The Mother of Parliaments and the liberties struggled for during the last several centuries meant nothing to them. And to their children and grandchildren, perhaps surprisingly, these freedoms meant even less. Of course, many did integrate, and yes, yes, of course, many Muslims make excellent citizens of the West. But we see now that those who did embrace the customs of their adopted country were mostly Asians celebrating non-Muslim belief systems, primarily Hindus and Sikhs. A significant minority of Muslims, still clutching hard to their doctrinal beliefs, stubbornly resisted acculturation.


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Robert Gear is a temporary resident of Iowa, USA, born and brought up in the UK. He left England in 1975 to circumnavigate the globe, but after three years on the road his grandiose plan was stymied when in Mexico he met his future wife. He worked for much of the last thirty years as an English teacher in three different Gulf Arab countries, and has traveled extensively in the Muslim world from Egypt to Afghanistan and beyond. With his wife, he has coauthored several textbooks in the field of ESL.

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