The atrocities which took place in Paris on Friday night have shocked communities across the world. The destruction evident in the ripple effect of violence perpetrated upon vulnerable communities is witnessed across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The victims of these horrific acts of violence are Global citizens. People from all walks of life, religions, nations and communities.
At this juncture we must respond with humanity in our local communities. Scotland is a diverse nation. The diverse people of Scotland represent the cultural diversity of our planet. In the immediate aftermath of Friday’s events it is absolutely crucial that we pull together as a community of people, enhanced by our diversity and combined by our humanity. The attack on Mohammed Khalid (53) and his wife during the early hours of Sunday morning in Fife, allegedly in response to the Paris attacks is simply unacceptable and an insult to the people of Scotland. People who react in this fashion, by scapegoating their own neighbours and fellow citizens play directly into the hands of people who wish to divide us.
Scotland’s diversity is increasing, it is absolutely imperative that we enhance, promote and celebrate our ‘Inclusive National Identity’. That is to say that Scotland has a proud heritage spanning centuries of cultural engagement and development. Scotland’s heritage is found in all of its people. From the Gaelic speaking communities of the West Highlands and Hebrides to lowland Scots and everything in between. A country shaped by generations of emigration and immigration, of industrialisation and de-industrialisation, of socio and economic challenge and strength in times of adversity. As Scotland develops so does our heritage, our diverse citizens become part of our story and shared narrative moving forward. In the days, weeks, months and years ahead we must embrace this diversity.
Over the coming 12 weeks, as part of the Year of Food and Drink 2015 and Scotland’s Winter Festival period communities across Scotland will celebrate Scotland using their unique cultural characteristics and fusion of global/Scottish identities (http://bemis.org.uk/yofad-events/), to foster a nation which acknowledges our history and moves into the future as a confident and dynamic community of people.
Our diversity should not be feared but seen as an opportunity to broaden our horizons and set a global example of diverse, active citizenship. We owe it to generations past and future to stand together in difficult times and in solidarity with our fellow citizens of all cultural identities, religious faiths and none.