Thursday, March 15, 2007

Telegraph Trifecta

The following three articles all appeared on a single day in the Telegraph. The first predicts that at least 2.2 million migrants will arrive in the rich world every year from now until 2050, resulting in the growth of the British population from 60 to 69 million, an increase of 15%. Virtually all of that increase will result from immigration.

The article states that, "between 1970 and 1980, the rich world took about one million migrants a year from poor countries. During the next 43 years, immigration will run at more than twice that level and approach 2.3 million every year from now until 2050."

The demographic future of Europe is decidedly mixed. According to UN projections, populations in the UK, France, and Spain will increase over the next half century while - despite widespread immigration from Asia and Africa - populations throughout much of Western Europe will fall, for example, by over 10% in Germany and 7% in Italy. The situation in Eastern Europe is even bleaker, with Poland losing 20%, Russia 24%, and Bulgaria (the champ) a whopping 35% of their populations.

The article concludes with the following statistics and observations:

"By 2050, India will have the highest population in the world, totalling almost 1.7 billion people. There will be 292 million Pakistanis, giving their country the fifth biggest population. Nigeria will have 289 million people - making it the world's sixth most populous country - and Uganda's population will rise to 93 million, comfortably exceeding the totals in both its larger neighbours, Kenya and Tanzania.

The UN's population predictions have proved largely accurate in the past. While the margin of error for these figures runs into the millions, the broad trends they disclose are undisputed."

The second article in the Telegraph concerns the cancellation of a speech at the University of Leeds by Matthias Küntzel, a German author and political scientist. The title of Dr. Kunzel's talk (with workshop scheduled to follow): Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Anti-semitism in the Middle East.

According to the article:

In a statement yesterday, two academics in the Leeds German department, which had organised the event, claimed the university had bowed "to Muslim protests". Dr Küntzel said he had given similar addresses around the world and there had been no problems.

Dr Küntzel said the contents of emails described to him did not overtly threaten violence but "they were very, very strongly worded''.

One of the protest emails, from a student who describes himself as ''of both Middle Eastern and Islamic background", complained that the title of the event was "profoundly offensive''. It added: ''To insinuate that there is a direct link between Islam and anti-semitism is not only a sweeping generalisation but also an erroneous statement that holds no essence of truth."

According to a statement by the university:

"The decision to cancel the meeting has nothing to do with academic freedom, freedom of speech, anti-semitism or Islamophobia and those claiming that is the case are making mischief.

Nor are we bowing to threats or protests from interest groups. The meeting has been cancelled on safety grounds alone and because - contrary to our rules - no assessment of risk to people or property has been carried out, no stewarding arrangements are in place and we were not given sufficient notice to ensure safety and public order."

Mightn't this also qualify as "an erroneous statement that holds no essence of truth"? I suppose that, to answer this question - or even to ask it, could be construed as "making mischief," which is of course just one small step away from "Islamophobia." Best to move on.

And the last of our three articles concerns a report published by something called "Demos," allegedly a "think tank" on the cutting edge of British culture. The report emphasizes the need to instruct new arrivals to the United Kingdom in such idioms as "Hinglish, Spanglish, and Chinglish."

According to the article:

The Demos report says the language is no longer the preserve of the English, who are "just one of many shareholders' in a global asset".

The report maintains that the British attitude to English ''is better suited to the days of the British Empire than the modern world.

"Far from being corruptions of English, new forms of the language such as 'Chinglish' have values that we must learn to accommodate and relate to," it adds. It proposes that immigrants, who are required to learn English if they want to be citizens, should be able to do so "in ways which best allow them to contribute to British culture on their own terms".

You may connect the dots as you see fit and draw whatever conclusions you deem appropriate. Personally, I'd advise anyone contemplating a trip to Europe to . . . uh, see it while you can.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

De nooz abaht da langwidge - bummer innit?