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Eastern Eye shines a light at Diwali

This is a cross post by Ashley of Mixtogether

The Asian newspaper Eastern Eye has today published an unprecedented front-page splash and editorial, calling on Asian parents to be more realistic about their children’s romantic relationships.

Echoing concerns that MixTogether & Friends has expressed throughout 2010, the Eastern Eye Comment column states:

To live as though the world around you had not changed generally leads to tension, unhappiness and fear…

… young people have to live in the world of today, not the one of their grandparents or even their parents – and there are myriad pressures that need to be managed and controlled.

Young people must be left to make their own decisions and in some cases, their own mistakes. That is life. We may not always agree or like it but in the end, in western society, for the most part, individuals have to make choices and decisions.

The call is backed by the biggest honour crime campaigners, and comes after three young Asian girls were murdered by violent ex-boyfriends they were too scared to tell their parents about. Prior to their deaths Maleha Masud (15), Aliza Mirza (18) and Asha Muneer (18) were all tormented by their killers with threats to disclose details of the relationships to their families.

Although these three tragic murders involve Muslims, the problems for young Asian people in relationships are not confined to the Muslim community. They stem from a general incompatibility between traditional South Asian views on romantic relationships and those of the British mainstream.

It is therefore refreshing to hear a sensible and moderate Asian voice speaking up for the values of Western society- values that we all benefit from as British citizens. Jon Cruddas has spoken convincingly in recent months of the need for a shared British culture, in order to foster a sense of community between all of us, and in turn to reduce extremism of all kinds. Those who can see sense in his proposals should be cheered to read the words of Eastern Eye.

Eastern Eye is an authentic and relevant voice from the heart of the British Asian community. The paper is speaking out on behalf of modern, moderate and adjusted young British Asians like Asha Muneer, a constituency who are virtually ignored both by politicians and by most of the other Asian media.

Politicians seem to believe that ‘Asian’ refers exclusively to the traditionalist older generation, while stations like Asian Network and the Sunrise Radio group are still flogging a notion of ‘Desi’ culture that has evaporated in the real world along with most of their listenership.

There is not a single show on any Asian radio station in the UK that speaks out on behalf of young people who want to make their own decisions and choose their own marriage partner. Even Nihal’s award-winning talk show cannot bring itself to get off the fence on this topic, trying instead to achieve ‘balance’ by giving airtime to views that no young Asian person- including Nihal himself- could or should possibly agree with.

Eastern Eye has just raised the bar very high, and its peers in the world of Asian media need to pay attention. If the paper is sensible, it will sustain this kind of messaging and become the number 1 voice for modern British Asians who are happy to live a British lifestyle.

At MixTogether we have been advocating this kind of common-sense approach for a long time, so today’s editorial and the massive front-page splash are a much needed morale boost. They have certainly guaranteed for our members- as indeed we wish everyone else- a Happy Diwali.