icm2re logo. icm2:re (I Changed My Mind Reviewing Everything) is an 

ongoing web column  by Brunella Longo

This column deals with some aspects of change management processes experienced almost in any industry impacted by the digital revolution: how to select, create, gather, manage, interpret, share data and information either because of internal and usually incremental scope - such learning, educational and re-engineering processes - or because of external forces, like mergers and acquisitions, restructuring goals, new regulations or disruptive technologies.

The title - I Changed My Mind Reviewing Everything - is a tribute to authors and scientists from different disciplinary fields that have illuminated my understanding of intentional change and decision making processes during the last thirty years, explaining how we think - or how we think about the way we think. The logo is a bit of a divertissement, from the latin divertere that means turn in separate ways.

Chronological Index | Subject Index

Special Election Day 2014: So do you want to bully me?

About atheism and multiculturalism

How to cite this article?
Longo, Brunella (2014). Special Election Day 2014: So do you want to bully me? About atheism and multiculturalism. icm2re [I Changed my Mind Reviewing Everything ISSN 2059-688X (Print)], 3.5 (May).

How to cite this article?
Longo, Brunella (2014). Special Election Day 2014: So do you want to bully me? About atheism and multiculturalism. icm2re [I Changed my Mind Reviewing Everything ISSN 2059-688X (Online)], 3.5 (May).

London, 21 May 2014 - The terrorist Mr Hook has been finally convicted in the USA. Now the Secretary of State Theresa May can hopefully reconsider her position about human rights and keep the two concepts - terrorism and human rights - very well apart from each other. Also the judiciary system in England could learn a lesson and make more distance between human rights and the invisible, unduly influence of multiculturalism arguments (or excuses?) within legal proceedings.

Multiculturalism, and the British way to handle the notion, seemed a greatest social invention just ten years ago, when I was still living in Italy. But once you get acquainted with local customs you understand that multiculturalism in England is just the mid-XX Century version of a fundamentally classist and outdated view about social life, a sort of post colonial invention to accommodate liberal values together with conservative ideas of ghettos as the only solution to ensure peaceful co-exhistence and public order.

The world moved on. We've got the Olympics, in which indeed we successfully celebrated such glossed and very fictitious idea of multiculturalism.

As an atheist who has been unconscious atheist in my childhood, reflective atheist in my youth, doubtful atheist nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita and conscious atheist once I passed the rubicon of the middle age, I learned to be comfortable with humanist values and the idea of a post-christian western culture. I see multiculturalism now as an interesting and sensitive but historically situated and outdated - at times even counter productive - response to the social needs of different ethnic groups, the various cultural and religious communities that make English society.

We need to concentrate on the sockets, nor on the burka or the crucifix that hide the sockets: the metaphor origins from the behaviour of a lady that repeatedly unplugged my laptop from a socket in a library, apparently by accident. Actually, I think she could not really see what she was doing with the power cable of her computer because of the limited visibility her burka allowed her. But if I had tried to use the garments’ argument - for instance replying to the quite irritating way in which she even avoided to apologise for disconnecting my laptop - I would have risked to be accused of islamo-phobia, she could have complained with the librarian about my offensive language, the librarian would say to me that racist language is not tolerated and I could be expelled and so on and so forth. This is the reality of life in multicultural Britain: bearing at individual level the responsibility of tolerance and respect beyond common sense and even beyond the common interest.

Multiculturalism, with its superficial, televised recognition of diversities, may be the cage that prevents growth and flourishing of local communities in a global world. People need free circulation within and among spaces protected from all sorts of intentional and unintentional harassment, assaults and inequalities that parasite religious customs like dust bacteria - and not ghettos.

Communities flourish if they have common rights and equal possibilities to express personal identities and live private lives without constant interferences of others’ totems and taboos or their spectres.

Freedom of religion does not mean freedom of ostentation of symbols, fetishes and immutable customs for the sake of the public representations and media outlets of this or that religious community or ethnic group. It means you can live the spiritual life you feel more comfortable with in peace and respect and above all with the obvious dynamism and change that characterises the history and the evolution of societies on earth. You can change your religion or have no religion at all and that is all your private business as you remain in full enjoyment of your human and citizen rights with no concerns by others.

Humanism and data management

I have recently put forward my atheist opinions as a way to fix some horrendous bias in databases and repositories. Example of multicultural nonsense in data management are so innumerable that people tend to accept them as inevitable pitfalls embedded in the system. For instance, take these three almost ridiculous examples from the world of libraries and academic repositories. They are all pretending to have in place the highest standards of multiculturalist fairness:

- the catalogue of the Vatican Library is still considered the authoritative source in respect of identities of living authors in the global web semantic space: if you want to have a laugh, try to search for names of arab or hindu writers;

- if you want to cry in despair try instead to check neuroscientists papers: some still accept biased data that confirm muslim prejudices that devalue women work, such as data that pretend to show the existence of differences in abstract reasoning between men and women;

- and for an example of the essence of London multiculturalism try to search for the atheism subject within the public library catalogue of the London Borough of Westminster: you are likely to spot that a recent book about atheism is listed without any title at all but as Foreign Language Title! That is a surely amazing record (they might have accepted to amend it by the time to read this article because the book is indeed English and its title is of course in plain English as well and not using any foreign language).

Atheists or humanists do not practice mind-reading, do not see religious metaphorical messages in any object or speech around them, they do not see Gods’ opportunities to point a finger or hidden truths behind human events, fortunes, misfortunes or daily facts of life. Humanists do not have the need to spread any belief about God presence in our collective lives. Instead, humanists believe in natural ethical principles such reciprocity, responsibility, accountability and in the universality of human rights, compassion and kindness.

That is why you do not easily find atheists or humanists that practice violence or terrorism: terrorists cannot live with the disillusions of absents Gods and Goddesses. Atheists care about peace and wellbeing of people independently from whatever idea of God or superior ideology.

Local Elections without Gods

So I wonder what percentage of atheism spirit exists within the local political parties. In fact, tomorrow, 22 May 2014, is Local and European election day in London. As an Italian citizen resident in the UK since 2008 I have chosen to vote for the local candidates for the first time.

Local candidates should represent me in the European Parliament and defend my rights, including basic rights like to live fearless and independently from any patriarchate, God or abusive clan or tribe, the right to work and have a private life, to buy or rent a home, to run a business and so on.

I must say I do not see publicised such basic human rights very often but for the right to have a family life, that means that if I am over 50, single and living with a small dog I am out of range.

Deciding who to vote for among my local candidates is a bit embarrassing. I do not know who should I choose as my English European Member of Parliament. I have tasted the generous inabilities, forgive the sarcasm, of both the major parties (Libdems included) in endorsing european citizens rights.

I will try to understand where they are positioned on an ideal scale in which I put consideration for human rights as assurance requirements: I lived three years in a London Borough governed by Conservatives and two years in a Borough governed by Labour. Both caused me enormous hardship for housing problems in which they failed in matters such building controls and planning permissions. In both Boroughs the local parties, councillors and MPs have impressed me with their ability to engage on multiculturalism debates but for actually missing any practical understanding and responsibility for the quality of the ordinary lives of people. They do not seem to have any interest for an atheist idea of a modern State able to guarantee a peaceful and healthy common social life to all, behind the belief in the easy, superseded myth of multiculturalism.

Diversity does not grow on a tree.

I wonder if it is not the case to promote more nationalism voting for Nigel Farage - he has a french surname and a german wife after all. Chances are that he may be able to understand European citizens, in spite of being EU-adverse, better than the EU-friends parties? No, I am not voting for Nigel Farage honestly, but I would not be surprised if many will do, including many foreigners naturalised British, because of a fundamental distrust in other politicians and their ability to represent English humanist values.