Ok, now after that diversion, I come back to the question of ‘auto-genocide’ – the idea I was given by that immigrant taxi driver.  I was going from the airport to downtown Ottawa and as we set off on the journey, this driver asked me where I was from, how long I had lived in Canada and so on. I returned the questions, and as we were speaking about our respective lives here, suddenly, out of the blue, he said – you know immigration is  an auto-genocide. What? I said. Wow … what on earth did he mean? … How? …please explain. Think about it he said – genocide is more than killing people. It is eradicating culture, language and way of life. Yes of course. I got it in a flash. When individuals and groups emigrate, they break from their root culture and begin the process of assimilation into something new. Stronger groups hold onto their identities for longer – the French in Canada, the Chinese in Malaysia; some nations offers a slower dis-associative structure for assimilation like our own ‘mosaic’ approach. Others like our American neighbors, force a faster adjustment in  an insistent ‘melting pot’. In time, all immigrants – individuals and communities, assimilate to the codes and culture of the new place – we (or our descendants) rise up anew, but what we rise from are the ashes of an ‘auto-genocide’.

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