Transformation of symbols across cultural borders

NPR : Muslim Migrants, 'Embracing the Infidel'

Author Behzad Yaghmaian spent two years traveling with Muslim migrants and collected their stories on safe houses, bribes, police custody, and human trafficking. He talks about his book, Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West.

An interesting podcast about a book illustrating the transformation symbols take on across cultural borders. For instance, McDonalds has achieved a unique place but its symbolism is different. Originally, it was an example of cheap and fast, but in many countries going to McDo (as the French call it) is to make a statement. In Russia, at least for a while, it was treated more as a prestigious restaurant as the design of the first McDonald's in Moscow attests. The author talks about the use of McDonald's in some countries in the Middle East as a place to have a conversation safe of eavesdropping. That shows why it is shortsighted to attribute all the ills of cultural change to McDo. It is not destroying local cultures as much as they are integrating it into their lifestyles. (That's not to say that, as a vegeterian and occasional environmentalist,  I think McDo should not be held accountable for quite a bit of their actions.)