Sultana's Dream

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Sultana's Dream
April 2012


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Nur Shkembi

In One Door - Out The Other

Young Muslim women living in Australia often face a situation where they are the first generation of their family to have been raised here as young adults. Their overseas born parents may have immigrated to Australia to escape conflict, seek a stable life for their children or improve the family’s economic future. Come what may, they envisage a better life for their children and willingly make sacrifices.

What many families don’t bank on, however, is the cultural gap that often arises between parents and their children – especially their daughters – as a result of moving to a Western country. Intergenerational conflict can be as painful for parents as it is for their children, and sometimes has damaging consequences. Both sides sometimes make compromises, but there are times when the rift and the personalities involved make this much harder and the pain remains for a long time – sometimes for ever.

Sad to say, our attempts to hear the other side of the story i.e. to listen to what parents might have to say about intergenerational conflicts were completely unsuccessful. That in itself is revealing.

Turning the clock back, I remember my own father grinding his teeth, raising his hands to the ceiling and complaining aloud, as most immigrant fathers are wont to do: ‘This is what happens when you bring them up in this country! And my dad was absolutely right!