The prohibition of the islamic burqa in European countries can be seen as a symptom of a return to nationalism, in itself a reaction to the growing fear of a possible Muslim increase exacerbated after 9/11 in America, the Fortuyn and Van Gogh murders in Netherlands and the terrorist attacks in Spain and England.
Thus, despite the undeniable progress that multiculturalists have made in both Europe and America in our days events like 9/11 –or at least the manipulation of them by conservative politics– undermine multicultural efforts for coexistence and foster instead assimilation and monoculturalism.
Interestingly enough, Kroes reveals the manipulation of this memory enacted by a selective release of photographs, pointing to a constructed image of disaster, to a constructed public memory.
Although his focus is on how such photos helped viewers come to terms with the trauma of 9/11 and the role of ethnicity in this, yet I find very interesting his implication of a “hidden history” (70) of the disaster from which we were excluded.
The first section, titled starts with Paul Lauter who explains how 9/11 brought into sharp focus issues of immigration, assimilation and separation which are of an international scope given globalization.
As a result, the need to be aware of the economic and political contexts that produce and influence culture is now more necessary than ever.Interestingly enough, this critique is enabled through multicultural contact which would seem to side with critics of multiculturalism that underline its anti-western nature.Finally, Rachel Hutchins-Viroux in her examination of public school history books adopted by the State of Texas traces the development of an unmistaken conservative trend in the representation of American history which was aggravated by the events of 9/11 and the ensuing nationalism.However, the fact that multiculturalism, to use the editors’ words, “became enlisted in the political and academic discourses about the presence of Muslims within western societies” (“Introduction” 8) explains why the events of 9/11 are directly related to the changing nature of multiculturalist debates in these societies.As the editors also admit, multiculturalism has always been a contested term but became even more contested after 9/11 especially in Europe where its effectiveness was compromised by the rising of nationalism as a reaction to the prospect of “Eurabia.” The volume is divided into three sections moving from a discussion of theoretical aspects of transatlantic multiculturalism in the first section to an examination of the impact of 9/11 on American multiculturalism in the second and on both American and European multiculturalism in the third section.It is these instances, Wagner maintains, that signal the crucial moment of realization and the transformation of civilians into would be heroes and combatants in the new war on terror.as an example of how the inherent whiteness of the American heroic discourse essentially justifies American violence since any violence by whites is implicitly heroic.What the essays in this section reveal as a whole is how multiculturalism has been discredited to a lesser or greater extend after the events of 9/11, or rather after these events were usurped by right-wing ploys in an attempt to unite the nation against a so-called common enemy.The four articles in the last section of the book open up, as its title very successfully suggests, transatlantic dialogues as they discuss the fate of multiculturalism on both sides of the Atlantic after 9/11.Connor becomes more caustic in his exposure of right-wing policies that tried to cover up Pat Tillman’s death in Iraq in order to present it as a heroic sacrifice that would legitimate the war on terror.The exclusion from the sacrifice discourse of people of color and of poor people at home that suffer due to the money allocated to the war is for Connor problematic.