Some of my favorite quotes

“If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in character. If there be beauty in character, there will be harmony in the home. If there be harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there be order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.” - Confucius

“Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight.” - Helen Keller (1880-1968) American Writer

“Democracy, like liberty, justice and other social and political rights are not given. They are earned through courage, resolution and sacrifice.” - Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'” – Anonymous



Thursday, May 10, 2007

Clash of Civilizations? Maybe not.

With my sweetheart in business school, I got to take part in a number of discourses about organizational behaviour, business relations, financial accounting, in addition to the various parties and get-togethers with the interesting group that makes up his class.

Also, I had the opportunitiy to sit in on a class discussion with one of his professors, talking about Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clash_of_civilizations). There were different nationalities at that table: Spanish (from Spain), Spanish (from Columbia), Indian, Chinese, American (as in United States), and Nigerian (of course). Each one of us shared our unique experiences and backgrounds, and it was very interesting to hear their different perspectives on the topic. The summary was that the so-called clash of civilizations is not a real global phenomenon, but a perceived one by those who don't understand the underlying dynamics of societies other than their own.

At the end of this discussion, my fiance and I were encouraged to make a contribution to the class discussion forum of our perspective as Nigerians (Africans). I have included our piece below. As usual, any comments / questions are welcome.

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A civilization, as defined by Huntington, is the highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity people have. However, as homogenous as Africa appears to people to the world, it is not quite that.

The African continent consists of 54 different countries, dozens of religions, and at least 500 fundamentally different languages and cultures. Nigeria, our home country, is made up of about 250 different languages and cultures (ethnic groups), and about a dozen different religions (Islam and Christianity are the dominant religions making up about 92% of the population. The northern region of the country is predominantly Muslim, the south-eastern region is predominantly Christian, while the south-western region is a mix of Islam and Christianity). These cultures and languages are so fundamentally different that if someone from an ethnic group different from ours speaks their language, he/she could be speaking Greek for all we know. Different ideologies, different reference points, and so many other fundamental differences characterize the diversity of the Nigerian people. This type of true diversity is prevalent across the continent. Hence, to speak of an African civilization based on culture is to speak of the Tower of Babel. An African civilization based on common goals, common enemies or economic gains is more probable.

Why civilizations are not likely to clash
Civilizations seem to be a result of a people/nation becoming comfortable with who they are (not feeling oppressed) and then moving on to form relationships with other nations with similar "orientations" to evolve into a civilization. I believe that as people continue to identify with who they are, there will be cultural/ideological/religious clashes between groups; eventually animosity would probably cease to exist when there is some sort of mutual respect - economic or political "equality" - between groups. --- hopefully :)

1 comment:

Temi said...

hey,
seeing as this is my 1st comment like EVER on ur blogspace - then it's only proper i say hey properly now......so HEY!

How u dey now - thnx 4 the b.day greetings.

I'm proud of ya - more power to ur elbows(u and the family)....

My regards to ur fiancee 2(name witheld on intent....lol)

T(germany)