Some people think that globalization is a new phenomenon, others use the word globalization but actually reject the most important signs of it, which are migration and immigration, multiple ethnicity, multiculturalism, multilingualism, multiple religions, sects, castes, professions and lifestyle, just to name a few. Referring to globalization as "the growing awareness of the interrelations among people on the globe" (E. Osei Kwadwo Prempeh, Joseph Mensah, Senyo B-S.K. Adjibolosoo, 2004), the focus today is on the people, rather than economics as it is mostly interesting for business and governments, than the impact of globalization on human societies. Considering also, that because of globalization, there is a growing number of people with multiple citizenship and enterprises that are multinationals, doing cross-border business, trade, etc. Those people and entities contribute to further spread of globalized issues. We see it everywhere, changing the economic, political geography but also, changing the taste and appearance of the people. Is that the reason why we have seen so many blond Japanese in the last few years? Or afro descendants with blue eyes in Brazil or in Denmark? Well, these aren't the most relevant issues, however, these are the visible signs and although many people avoid talking about it, there is a need to confront ourselves with it. If one gets a bit more education on these issues, one will never ask a native Dutch person, speaking fluently Dutch if he or she is really Dutch, just because of the color of her eyes, hair or the fact that this person is bilingual. What politicians forget is that, multiculturalism and multiethnic societies do not need interference of authorities to happen. The same way you can find Turkish language speakers in China, you'll may also find Portuguese speakers since Ancient times in the same place, living in harmony with the rest of Chinese society. Some authors even frame human rights and multiculturalism as part of a national identity.(Bromlye, 2011).
This is something that Chancellor Angela Merkel forgot to acknowledge, when she gave her unfortunate speech to her political party in Germany (October 2010): " Germany's attempt to create a multicultural society has "utterly failed" (David Goldman, 2011).
As the World Cultural Diversity Day is approaching, actually, next week, 21 May, perhaps Germany institutions should follow the example of the British Council and join their recent and great campaign to promote better understanding of diversity: "Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusions", which has been promoted on facebook recently.
On the other hand, one has noticed that if one walks at the Postdammer Platz in Berlin, an ultimate symbol of the historic separatism and other horrifying conflicts in European history, one will experiment the greatest multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies in the world. One can even speak Turkish or Arabic in Berlin, without feeling embarrassed and switch to German, Chinese, Thai or English without any further problems. Multiculturalism is part of German life, whether politicians want to recognize it or not! It's clear that Angela Merkel is one of this people, that needs to see the world through a new lens of globalization and enjoy the wonders of this new world!
Accepting globalization as a daily subject in our lives, might help us to focus on more important aspects of our societies such as the fact that multiculturalism due to immigration is not a negative thing in Europe or elsewhere, it is actually a plus point that those refugees or expat workers coming from abroad, are exchanging their knowledge with us. We are much more aware of the world and for any local newspaper it is easy to find foreign correspondents that also speak fluently the same language of the Editor. At universities in Europe it is possible to find Western students speaking fluently Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Punjabi. The richest and the poorest nations in the world benefit of globalization which is not only the spread of Hollywood movies, fast-food and soft drinks, or the increasing popularity of Lady Gaga in all corners of the world, not because “we are all born this way” as the singer sings, but because we all listen to our old fashioned (but still useful and available in remote areas of the world) or modern Internet radio, TV, IPods, I Phones, Androids, Nokia, Sony, etc. It's true that globalization, is a very efficient vehicle for marketing, product exposition, distribution, and many other things. Above all, it brings people together, but also separates them; it creates possibility for the increasing diffusion of the English, Spanish or Chinese languages, but also, promoting the decline and disappearance of other languages, traditions, culture and even entire villages and world religions. Obviously, for globalization to happen, there is a need for regulations, international trade and agreements, etc. but all legal paraphernalia in the world is not enough to prevent that global trends take over our old habits, for instance, in Taiwan, the modern and trendy Starbucks is taking over the traditional tea houses and in China Korean food is the new trend. Therefore, the impact of globalization in our lives do not go unnoticed and the changes that it might bring along with it, also happen very fast, uncontrollable and independent of politics, faith, taste, or choice, it simply happens. An evidence of that is the issue of religious diversity, a phenomenon that spreads its wings all over the world, but it is not yet the focus of regular education in our modern society. Yet, exactly because our children aren't educated on the subject and more and more educational systems have banished religion as a subject, from their regular curriculum, we see a generation that is totally ignorant on these matters. It is a huge mistake to try to ignore the power of religion, when historically it has been the major reasons of wars, such as the Crusades and other things. We may have been to the moon and we have developed in many aspects but in matters of religion we are still ignorant. With all respect for religious or non-religious people, even those among us, that go to their churches or mosques everyday, still have a lot to learn about their own religion and moreover, there is a need to change the way we interpret these old texts. We need enlightenment! No wonder, we see so many conflicts involving Muslims living in the West not only among school children but also, among politicians that get lost in unfruitful and empty discourses, using the issue of religion as a subterfuge for their incompetence. On the other hand, we unfortunately see that many religious groups get more and more involved in political issues, forgetting that the basic and noble reason that people search for religion in their lives is not politics but compassion, food for the soul, spiritual enrichment in opposition to mundane issues. With the aim to share and deepen our understanding of the role of religion in world affairs, this article gives the reader a start point to understand these complex issues and how they interact, influencing the outcome of State affairs that by its turn, are affected by the "sometimes" invisible power of globalization. For that matter, one has to refer to history, and how history has been registered in the past, which is not different than our actual experience. For instance, if we read different newspapers, they will probably deal with the same issues in a different way. Some Journalists will have more freedom or invest more time to explore the issues, but the history we witness today is been told at the taste of the writer. In the future, our children will suffer the impact of the inaccuracies we publish today. Our distorted views of the world, just because we refuse to buy new glasses, and keep on seeing the reality (are we?) through our blurred lenses. Within my next article I would like to introduce the reader to the danger of radical ideas and behavior of certain citizens, religious people and even State representatives due to ignorance regarding multiculturalism, multiple ethnicity, language and religion ending up in the worse massacre of the 20th century, after the second world war: Srebrenica. Furthermore, I will analyze the relationship between the Islam and governance, the roots of religious violence and overall challenges related to ignorance on the effect of globalization in our modern world.
By E. Craats 16/05/2012/All rights reserved
This article was also published at theOsloTimes