Recently I got a comment from a friend about how amazing it is to come from a country with such a diverse culture. I was so confused by that because I never considered my country diverse. When I asked him, what he meant by it, apparently, he thought our culture is very mixed, thus very diverse. Indeed, Cyprus’ culture is diverse. As an island in between three continents, we were influenced by different nations. So, our dialect consists of words from different languages, our food is a fusion of Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Also, even physically our appearances are very diverse.
However, diverse culture, it does not mean diverse country. In fact, Cyprus is a very homogenous country. And even though our looks, culture, and language, are very mixed, the process of diversity came after thousands of years of colonisation, wars, and suffering. Every good thing has a price after all. I admit I do love our culture and history but I can’t deny that because of colonisation and oppression by the bigger powers until today many Cypriots are xenophobic.
Diversity does not mean erasure of cultures with the hope of creating one culture. Diversity by definition means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognising our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.
Nowadays, there are many programs and educational projects to bring awareness of the importance of diversity and cultural exchange and achieve mutual understanding and acceptance of others.
Thanks for reading and have a good day!