What is identity, that ephemeral and quixotic thing? Draw it
too tightly and it is a noose: a boundary marker that defines
the separation between individuals or between one group and
another; a blunt weapon of differentiation that fuels rippling
scales of dispute from neighbourhood argument through to
xenophobia and war. And yet draw identity too loosely and
we no longer feel the connection between people and place.
We become alienated and disassociated from our surroundings
and from one another, as an endless Babel of sounds and signs
washes around us and some parts of our souls are washed away
with it too. Ironically, that which sustains us might also destroy
us. But there is no doubt that a sense of identity is essential to
survival – of individual, family, group and neighbourhood."