Eastern Europe: at the heart of multiculturalism

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We had the opportunity to participate to a highly interesting conference with Raluca Ursachi, about Eastern Europe dilemmas. With a master degree in history, Mrs Ursachi brilliantly introduced us the stakes of Eastern’s Europe development. From ottoman Empire to nowadays fronteers, Mrs Ursachi highlighted the major changes that have made Eastern Europe the way it is today ; it has always been a land of multicultiralism. Almost all religions are practiced in Eastern Europe, since you can find ancient muslims communities in South Eastern Europe, as well as strong orthdox beliefs. In fact these East and South Eastern countries have gone through so many changes that they really don’t know who they are anymore.

A lack of unity, empowered by the partition of the old communist bloc has led to complicated events. As Samuel Hetington showed in « conflict of civilization », future wars will be appearing when civilizations meet. This only proves that multiculturalism can become an issue in nowadays society. Moreover, the presence of orthodox and muslim beliefs, for instance, can create a lot of conflicts. This is one of the reason why « Central Europe » (Germany, France…) won’t welcome Eastern European citizens as easily as they would regarding western countries. Nevertheless, in these times of great migration, this problem must be discussed (and hopefully solved). Eastern countries welcome more and more asylum seekers because of distant Western countries conflicts.

Ursachi told us about her homecoming in Romania, that she had left for quite some time to study in France. Re-discovering her old country and seeing what had changed since then made her want to come to us today and tell us more about Romania. The remains of the communist Securitate are still somehow visible and you can feel that this has affected the ways people behave in certain ways. Just like the stasi, this has instaured a fear of living freely for many years. People are freeer than ever right now, although, the new generations tend to have more respect for tradition than the previous ones used to. In Romania, more than 90% of the inhabitants go to church. These religions happen to have an influence on how people feel about the government. Indeed, they tend to trust it more. In Romania, for example, the orthodox religion induces poeple into thinking that their life is supposed to be a constant state of felicity. They don’t get involved a lot in the government business because only 20 years ago, the fall of the Eastern bloc had made possible the consultation of the Securitate’s reports, where were collected private datas to spy on the Bulgarian population.

Among other things, Mrs Ursachi has also depicted some of the usual pre-conceived ideas about Roma and other Eastern populations in Western Europe, and tried to explain these conflictual stereotypes.
Mrs Ursachi’s conference brought us an interesting overview of Eastern Europe dilemmas, through the study of multiculturalim and religion conflicts that occured in the country since the very beginning of the ottoman empire.

Colin Elizabeth Elodie Angiolini

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