” I do not want to lock the four corners of my house – not either wall in my windows . I want the spirit of all cultures breathing freely inside my home . But, I refuse to let anybody blow my pawns . I would like those youngsters of us – who are fond of literature – learning English or any other foreign language- But I don´t want one single Indian forgetting or neglecting their Mother Tongue – Nor that they consider it inferior or inappropriate to express their beliefs and their deepest thoughts”. ( Mahatma Gandhi )
It is with this brief quotation of Gandhi´s humanistic thought that I am introducing my post today. Nowadays , more than ever before , we are being bombarded from every corner , by continuous complaints and accusations regarding Racial discrimination , and other ” discrimination issues ” , as though this topic was still something of a novelty .
Let´s pay a look at it, then. Xenophobia – from the Greek – xeno ( foreign ) and phobia ( extreme fear) . Now , let´s compare it with xeno-philia , meaning exactly the opposite – a liking for foreigners and their culture. After all , aren´t all of us – due to our nature or idiosyncracy- a bit or quite xenophobic , xenophilic or homophobic ?? Consequently , I totally agree with Gandhi .
I would like foreigners to keep and care for their own cultures – either fascinating or aberrant – I would like to learn from the good things they have to offer : habits , customs , traditions . Anything that could enrich ours. But , I do not want ,and I would never wish -any foreigner- no matter his /her origin – religion or political ideology , to seize our system of education or life style , nor that they attempted to change our cultural roots , as a means to influence our way of thinking for bad.
I would like to hear , in our Uruguayan schools , less “Reguetón” , “Cumbia” and the like . Instead , I would like our students to be exposed to our traditional folklore , so that they can learn where they come from . Also typical and traditional music from other countries – enabling them to find out about many interesting facts , both Social and Geographical .
I want the educational system to improve the quality of teaching in all aspects, but particularly in the Spanish Language , improving reading skills and vocabulary adquisition to help our young ones become more skillful in the art of communication . Words were .are and always will be a beacon in the darkness of ignorance. ” the more ignorant a nation is – the easier to be manipulated or controlled by others.
Let´s think it over : If it is said that it is during the tender years of infancy that children adquire knowledge faster and better , is it sensible ,I wonder, to instill ” junk lexis” in their young brains, instead of improving the quality of what is taught ?
And , please! Do not let yourselves get confused about this. I am not talking about a retrograde state of controlling people´s freedom of speech. I am just saying we should give our students the chance to know good contents. Later on , when they are mature enough to form an opinion ,they can do as they like.
It is true that the world is changing vertiginously. Unfortunately, not always for good. More often than not ,when tuning a radio station or T.V channel ,or sometimes reading the newspaper, I feel really shocked because of the notorious changes we Uruguayans have suffered in our identity as a country- WE used to be known by an excellent level of education. Our national hero J.G. Artigas wanted us ” to be As Illustrious as Brave “. Unluckily, these days this premiss has been turned into ” let´s be more Globalized than Illustrious”
Probably, the deplorable state of public security- the bad politicians in control and the rest of our maladies are a direct consequence of all the things stated above.