The way the society works is very much the same as everywhere in the world; at least from the perspective I've learned during these weeks. I'm not saying this is really how it works (I don't think nobody knows that for real), but, because of the diversity of culture that Manchester is famous for, this fact is hard to ignore.
There are people here, literally, from all over the world: name a country, there is a "town" here for them. China, Pakistan, Oman, Mexico... but the incredible thing is that, even though it should be a disaster waiting to happen (so much culture clash), is not. People get along, people discuss about taboo subjects (religion and politics) and, for the most part, reach a very amigable conclusion. You see people from New York talking with muslims about 9/11 and how it affected both cultures. A lot of doubts are cleared about the stereotypes that have been stated about different societies and most of them come with a pleasant and enlightening surprise:
- India was made up by different tribes and "countries" before the British came and unified them in one. The languages of each of the old countries still remains though, and, even though English and Hindi are the country's main languages, about less than 30% of them actually speak or understand Hindi, making English probably the most spoken language in the country. That's why you see so many indians (a term that they are comfortable with) in U.S.A, U.K., Canada and Australia: they are english-speaking countries.
- The basic definition of the Islam is believing in God in a way that trascends man and his form. There are no forms or images given to God, even Muhammad (the religion's main, and probably only prophet) himself petitioned his followers not to remember his image but only the words that God spoke through him. It takes consideration of the Christian and Jewish religion and accepts them as part of the prophecies that God gave to mankind, and Islam being the last of them and, thus, the purest. From a logical point of view, that makes sense: have you ever heard a man tell an anecdote that happenned to him 50 years before? It sounds extraordinary, when it really probably isn't, but the time that's passed made it a little bit blurry so he has to make up for it by filling in the blanks of what he thought happenned. I'm not saying Christianity and Judaism are distorted or anything (who am I to say that?) but, from this take, Islam is a fresh look in things, and that gives it a very good standing point in my opinion.
- War and violence is frowned upon... to hurt another person is to hurt humanity itself. I love that, so many people saying that the war that's hapenning over there, and way over there is just, basically and utterly wrong. I'm not saying any names, not because I don't want any controversy, you know I like that, but because I'm really bad in geography and history.
- The openness of questions and the actual need to inform about one's culture is engraved into our brain. Maybe it's pride, maybe it's altruism, but the matter of the fact is I've learned a lot mainly by the motivation of the persons of the same cultures that I'm learning about. Not that I need more motivation to do that, but these people actually come up to me and ask "Do you have any questions?" without me saying a word, which not only makes the whole situation much more civil but also is very inspiring.
- There's always a lot of ways of seeing a situation... you don't have the answer, we all do.