Sunday, 5 February 2017

Of Multiculturalism and Colonialism

BK2, who will be nine in a couple of weeks, was asked to pick a country to research and present to her class. She chose Algeria.

She told her classmates how you could fit Switzerland 50 times in Algeria! (yes Switzerland is this small and Algeria is this big!)
She took with her Tamtunt, Baqlawa and olive oil from Kabylie to share with her classmates.
She wrote the names of a couple of her friends in Arabic.
She told her class how her great-greandmother was imprisoned and tortured during the Algerian War.
Her class re-enacted a battle during the War, where half her class was the Algerian Army and the second half was the French Army.

Her teacher gave her excellent feedback. She got top marks for her efforts.

At that moment, I felt we made the right decision to live 2 kms this side of the French-Swiss border.

Olive oil, Tamtunt and Baqlwa



I lived five years in France. I have close family and friends there. The south of France, where we started our multicultural and multilingual family, holds a special place in my heart.
But I doubt that BK2 would have felt so at ease to share this bit about her family history. I am not sure how well her choice of topic would have been received in a French school.

Her choice of topic and its reception show how she feels totally accepted for who she is. I think living in a country with four official languages, and where over a third of the population comes from an immigrant background, definitely help.