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Second Opinion / COMMENTARY FROM OTHER MEDIA : PANORAMA : Ethnic Separations Threaten American Identity

August 30, 1993| From a commentary by Si Frumkin in Panorama, a Russian-language weekly published Thursdays in Los Angeles. Translated by Ludmila Genn.

The brightest example of unity created from multitudes is the United States. The country managed to absorb and assimilate hundreds of nationalities and ethnic groups, giving each individual a possibility of identifying himself as an American. This way, they brought to life a new idea of recognizing and respecting a human being as a personality, rather than a part of a certain group. This is a unique American experiment.

Now, growing ethnocentrism can turn our country into the Balkans, inhabited by mutually hostile ethnic and racial groups. I hope that the destructive madness that took over Yugoslavia, Sudan, the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, Angola and others is not a common future for all mankind. I know for sure that the only hope that mankind will survive is the survival of the United States--a society based on respect and recognition of the human rights of every individual. Strong forces that would destroy the idea of Americans are trying to make us consider ourselves as members of specific racial and ethnic groups. If they succeed, we will break down into a hostile mosaic. I hope that wonderful American experiment will survive. I hope, but I am not sure.

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