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In future, civilization identity will be increasingly important because the world will be largely shaped by interactions between the eight or seven major civilizations which include Confucian, Japanese, Slavic orthodox, Latin America and African civilization. The conflicts are most likely going to occur along cultural fault lines that separate these civilizations from each other.
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The differences that exist between civilizations are basic and not real. History, language, culture, religion and tradition are what differentiate civilizations from each other. The people who belong to different civilizations have varied views on their relations with man and god, the group and the individual, the state and the citizen, as well as varying views of the responsibilities and rights, liberty and authority, hierarchy and equality. These are a result of very many centuries and are not going to disappear any time soon. They are fundamentally far than variances among political regimes and ideologies. Therefore, in order to avoid this clash of civilization which will be prominent in future, people will have to be more understanding and respectful of each others’ culture.
Nevertheless, since the world is becoming a smaller place, interactions between people s of varying civilizations are on the rise. These rising interactions increase civilization awareness and consciousness of the differences between commonalities and civilizations within civilizations. The immigration of North Africa to France generates hostility among the Frenchmen while at the same time increasing receptivity to immigration by European catholic poles that are good. Likewise, America reacts more negatively to investments from Japan than investments from European countries and Canada. Therefore, people have to respect and understand each other’s culture so that they can enhance interactions among peoples that come from different civilizations in order to enhance civilization consciousness of the people and in turn, try to seal the differences and animosities stretching back into deep history.
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The interaction of people and understanding of their cultures is fostered by the process of social change and economic modernization which serves to make people bond from long standing local identities. They strengthen the nation state as a source of identity. In most parts of the world today, religion has moved in to replace this mostly in movements that are termed as fundamentalist. Such movements are found in Hinduism and Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity and in Islam. In majority of the countries where there are active fundamentalists, most of them are young college- educated and technicians of middle class business persons and professionals. The unsecularization of the world is among the most important social factors of this century. Religion revival provides the best basis for commitment and identity that goes down national boundaries and hence unites civilizations. By this, people will be learning the religion of others and becoming respectful of them.
One way of understanding and respecting the culture of others is enhanced by the growth of civilization consciousness that the west spreads. The west is at the peak of its authority. It is a common phenomenon to hear a return of the root phenomenon in the non-western civilizations. It is common to come by such terms as Asianozation in Japan or Hinduization of India, the Middle East re-islamization and Russianization versus westernization. So in order for people to have respect for the cultures of others, the west which is at its peak of power should not confront the non-west that have burning desire , the resources and the will to converts the world in non-western ways.
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Another way of making people to appreciate and respect the culture of others is to spread awareness that cultural differences and characteristics are less mutable and therefore can be less compromised or resolved than economic and political disputes. In the former Soviet Union, democrats can become communists, the rich become poor and the poor become rich, but the fact that Estonians cannot become Russians or Armenians remains. It is a fact that cannot be changed and it is obvious that from Sudan to Bosnia, a wrong answer to whom one is can mean death. Religion discriminates exclusively and sharply among the people more than ethnicity. For instance, a person can be half Arab and half French but he cannot be half Christina and half Muslim. Therefore irrespective of the religion, culture or nationality there should be respect for the culture of others to avoid future clashes of civilization. (Amite 1999) This can be achieved by increasing economic regionalism. The importance of regional economic blocs are most likely going to increase in future and this will also most likely improve civilization consciousness. This is going to succeed when it is rooted in a common civilization. The European community lies on the shared foundation of western Christianity and European culture. In order for the North American free trade to succeed, it will depend on the convergence of American, Canadian and Mexican cultures. Likewise, Japan finds it hard to create an economic trading bloc like the American because it is a civilization and society that is unique to itself. This can be improved by removing or trying to understand the cultural differences that other East Asian countries have so that they may develop strong trade investments links. The understanding of the culture of other people may facilitate, for instance, the rapid expansion of the people’s republic of china and honking, Singapore and Taiwan.
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The clash of civilization can be avoided through economic integration when people realize that commonality is a prerequisite for economic integration. Increasing numbers of Muslims are today recognizing their difficult situation of the Muslim world and hence engages themselves in self-criticism. The publication of Arab development reports that was commissioned by the Arab league and the United Nations has made everyone believe that the Arab world is heading to a political, social and economic crisis. However, the west has responsibility for this situation. It must reflect on itself rather than pointing an accusing finger at Islamism. (Attilla 2007)When people understand the cultures of others, there will be observed relaxed tensions of causes that are deep-seated. In some instances, however, some Muslim fundamentalists have been used to stir anger. The anger could have been diluted if the west had not created stringent conditions that only sparked fury and frustration and made it to explode. Every day Muslims from Indonesia to morocco hear and see cruel military actions in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. Understanding the culture of others involves press freedom. Without media that is free, democracy will not exist and hence, press freedom, as far as it serves to unite people and makes people aware of the cultures’ of others, should be upheld at all costs.
The non-westerners see the world from a different perspective, which has some element of truth in it. Struggle for military, power differences, institutional and economic power differences are some sources of conflicts between other civilizations and the west. Culture differences i.e. basic beliefs and values make the west to be perceived negatively by the non-westerners. Some westerners argue that western civilization is the universal civilization fitting all men. Most of the western culture has penetrated into the rest of the world. The west should therefore try to understand the cultures of different civilizations so that they are not considered as undemocratic. In summary, respect for and understanding the culture of other people will act as the best way of eradicating clash of civilization. For peaceful co-existence of countries in the world, understanding their cultures and beliefs will form the basis for avoiding clash of civilization. The notion that the world can have a universal civilization is a western idea which is not accepted by all because they should understand that in order to avoid clash of civilization, there has to be understanding and respect for the culture of others.
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