13 April 2006

Culture of Death in Immigrant Communities

These two news items are grabbing my attention right now:

Turkish honor killing in Germany
Korean murder-suicide in Los Angeles

Though the settings, and the cultures involved, are vastly different, I see a common theme. It is the Third World communities' inability to deal with individual rights and freedoms, and the traditional cultures of those communities revolting in return.

In the case of the Turkish man who killed his sister in Germany, the sixth such case in six months, he could not stand the fact that his older sister had left a forced marriage to raise a child on her own.

In the case of the Korean family in Los Angeles, the third such case in a week, the father decreed that because he could not bear living, his family members had to die too.

The immigration debate continues, both in the US and in European countries. I strongly ask that if immigration is to continue, the host society must understand, and be ready, for these tragedies, that would be very odd in the mainstream culture, but commonplace in the immigrants'. Burying these problems, as well as others (such as rampant sexism and homophobia) that pervade the immigrant communities, under a rug of political correctness will get nothing done, and more lives will be destroyed.

It is also noteworthy that the religious institutions in both communities are NOT doing their job to save the troubled souls in their community. In fact, their religious orthodoxy are only causing more grief and pressure. And at least in the Korean churches of Los Angeles, the blatant show of wealth, and the worship of hypercapitalist ideals, by some members, is causing additional financial strain, leading to one of the reasons for the murder-suicides. (You need to show up in a Lexus LS or Mercedes S-class to be taken seriously, for starters.)

I've just been told that here in Los Angeles, a County Supervisor and the mayor of Los Angeles have jumped in to address the forces that are driving the Korean murder-suicides. I hope the Korean community realizes that the Republican idols they worship on the political altar are NOT the ones speaking up for their well-being at this time (or ever).

Lastly, both Turkey and South Korea want to join the industrialized world. Turkey is itching to become part of the European Union, and South Korea is busy showing off its latest electronic and automotive technologies. But until the fundamental culture of death in the society can be resolved, their aspirations will not get anywhere. It takes more than a strong economy and great technologies to make a developed nation; what truly matters is the people's mindset.