Whatever ... 2011 ... this must be # ten


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Coastweek -- Attending to the repair of an absolutely essential 'accoutrement' of life on the Mtwapa Creek ? No, it is not the beds !   Ľ Answer in photograph at foot of this Blog.


The Big Debate About
Ethnic Integration

Kenya has such large distinct populations, and
is in such an interesting political moment, it
makes me wonder what itís like for you guys ?


Coastweek -- U.K. Prime Minister, David Cameron, made a speech the other day about multiculturalism which has kicked off a big debate about ethnic integration in the U.K. and about what it means to be British.

As the U.K.ís ethnic populations get larger, and bring with them a strong sense of their own values and customs, this issue is not going away any time soon.

All this debate has made me wonder how it works in Kenya.

There are huge populations of tribal groups, quite a few Asians and a tiny minority of Whites, do they mix much?

And how does Kenya see itself as a country?

For my UK Politics blog, I recently interviewed a Turkish Cypriot guy, Cosh Omar, who had joined the radical Islam group, Hizb ut Tahrir, in his twenties.

Cosh was very interesting on the problem of British identity.

He said that the reason he had been drawn to radical Islam was that British culture was too exclusive: it was all the Queen and Brideshead Revisited.

Cosh knew he would never be 'posh' enough or 'white' enough to fit in.

He says that in the twelve years since he left Hizb ut Tahrir, he feels that very little has changed; heís now an actor and when he goes for parts he says there are always two lines Ė one for the white actors and another for the terrorist/ hospital orderlies.

Cosh made an interesting comparison with America which, in his view, does it better.

He says that America manages to incorporate different ethnic experiences to build up one idea of America Ė the Jewish-Americans and the Italo-Americans being prime movers.

After all, he says, can you imagine the States without Woody Allen or the Godfather?

In London you do get mixing, but still too common to find yourself at a party where thereíll be only white people, to go to a club in Peckham in which there will only be black people, or go for lunch in Southall and the only faces around will be Asian.

Do ethnically mixed countries need a common idea of what the country is about that everyone can rally behind?

Britain often likes to fancy that its values are fair play and tolerance, but there are many examples of bad sportsmanship and of hideous intolerance.

Outsiders would probably point to our love of queuing and tea as more representative than tolerance or fair play.

Kenya has such large distinct populations, and is in such an interesting political moment, it makes me wonder what itís like for you guys.

How much do you mix?

And how do you define yourself as a nation?


Coastweek -- One of our 'keep fit' neighbours gets some air into her Swiss Exercise ball ... Girls: a regular workout is 'guaranteed' to get those excess kilos off your midriff.


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