الخميس، فبراير 22، 2007

If not civilisations then what?!

I read recently "The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order" book by Samuel Phillips Huntington I made a book review for it because of two reasons: First, its importance, while the second is related to its interesting content which i want to share with you.

"The clash of civilisations and the remaking of world order is one of the most important books to have emerged since the end of the cold war," said Henry Kissinger who is one of the most prominent political figures not only in the United States, but also in the whole world.
The book, which was firstly published in 1996 by Harvard professor Samuel Phillips Huntington, articulated his views that the world order is now based on cultural and civilisation lines rather than the ideological ones that shaped politics till the end of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
His thesis generated more discussions and debate especially after the September 11 bombings and its consequences, passing by Pope Benedict's speech, and the Danish cartoons that offended Islamic beliefs.
Civilisations conduct
In the first part of the book Huntington tried to emphasise his thesis that the world order is now conducted through civilisations and cultures as happened in the Bosnian war, conflict between India & Pakistan, Russian invasion to Afghanistan in the 70s, the voting along civilisation lines that gave the 2000 Olympics to Sydney rather than Beijing, and many other issues.
He said that the post cold war world has derived from what is often called the realist theory of international relations or the statist paradigm, in which states are the only important actors in world affairs.
Huntington then focused in the second part of the book on the shifting balance of civilisations. "Western power is declining, while non-Western cultures are marked by their resurgence," he affirmed. "Re-Islamisation as an example, is the central theme in Muslim societies, also in India, the prevailing trend is the rejection of Western values and the Hinduisation of politics and society".
The political theorist then tackled in the third part of the book the core states and its effect on the civilisation order.
Huntington asserted that the Islamic consciousness lack cohesion, as there is no core state(s) that can promote Islamic unity under its leadership. "Consciousness without cohesion is a source of weakness to Islam, and a source of threat to other civilisations," he argued.
Six possible leaders of Islamic nation
Nevertheless, Huntington named six states that are from time to time mentioned as possible leaders of Islam, but at present no one of them, according to him, have all the requisites to be an effective core state.
Indonesia is one of the possible leaders to Islamic countries, but it is located faraway from its Arab/ Islamic centre.
Egypt is a poor country; economically dependent on the west and oil-rich Arab countries.
Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia have all explicitly defined themselves as Muslim states, and have actively attempted to exercise influence in and provide leadership to the Ummah.
However, considering the Shiite Iran, 90% of Muslims in the world are Sunnis, also relations between Persians and Arabs have historically been antagonistic. Pakistan is also not qualified as it is relatively poor, suffers serious internal ethnic and regional divisions, and a fixation on the problem of its security vis-à-vis India. Regarding Saudi Arabia, it has relatively small population, and geographical vulnerability, which makes it dependent on the west for its security.
Finally, Turkey has the history, population, middle level of economic development, national coherence, military tradition, and competence to be the core state of Islam, but so long as it continues to define it self as a secular country, leadership of Islam is denied it.
Reasons of division between Islam and West
Moving to the fourth part of the book, the main title is "clashes of civilisations".
The Harvard professor attributed the division between Islam and the West to comparable mixes of factors, which have increased the conflict between the two sides in the late 20th century.
The first reason is the Muslim population growth that generated large numbers of unemployed young people who become recruits to Islamic causes, and migrate to the West.
Secondly, the resurgence of Islam, which has given Muslims renewed confidence in the superiority of their civilisation to that of the West.
In addition, the West’s simultaneous efforts to: universalise its values and institutions, and to intervene in conflicts in the Muslim world, generated intense resentment among Muslims.
Finally, the collapse of communism removed a common enemy of the West and Islam, thus it left each the perceived major threat to the other.
At last, Huntington started the final part saying, “Imperialism is the necessary logical consequence of Universalism”.
He stated that Western Universalism is dangerous to the world because it could lead to major intercivilizational war between core states, and it is dangerous to the west because it could lead to defeat of the west.
Imaginary scenario of intercivilisational warActually, Huntington made very interesting imaginary scenario of intercivilisational war that starts between China and the US because of the Chinese announcement of controlling the entire South China Sea which is full of oil resources and invading Vietnam that calls for the American assistance.
Then the war involves Taiwan backing Its Kin China, and Japan which is neutral in the beginning of the war, but after the Chinese military successes it bandwagons with it.
India on the other hand, seizes the opportunity offered by China’s being tied down in East Asia to launch a devastating attack on Pakistan, thus the military alliance between Pakistan, Iran, and China is activated and Iran comes to Pakistan’s assistance.
The initial successes of China against the US have stimulated major anti-western movements in the Muslim societies. One by one the few remaining pro-western governments in the Arab world and in Turkey are brought down by Islamist movements which leads to a massive Arab attack on Israel.
At the start of the war, China proposed a mutual security pact with Russia, however, the Chinese successes have just the opposite effect on Russia than they had on Japan; the prospect of total Chinese dominance in East Asia terrifies Moscow.
Consequently, it moves to an anti-Chinese direction and begins to reinforce its troops in Siberia, the numerous Chinese settlers interfere with these movements and China intervenes military to protect its countrymen.
Then, the scenario continues with Serbia and Croatia invading Bosnia and continuing the ethnic cleansing they had been forced to stop in the 1990’s. Hence, Albania and Turkey attempt to help Bosnians, while Bulgaria and Greece attack Turkey.
Avoiding war
Such scenario, even if seems to be Fanciful, can be avoided according to the author by following three rules: First, preventing core states from intervening in conflicts in other civilisations. “This is a truth which some states -especially the US- will undoubtedly find difficult to accept,” affirmed Huntington.
Second, the joint mediation rule that core states negotiate with each other to contain or halt fault line wars between states or groups from their civilisations.
While the third is the commonalities rule in which people in all civilisations should search for and attempt to expand the values, institutions, and practices they have in common with people of other civilisations.
Accordingly, peace can prevail in a multicivilizational, multipolar world.
Huntington ended his book saying, “In the emerging era, clashes of civilisations are the greatest threat to world peace, and an international order based on civilisations is the surest safeguard against world war”. In wars between cultures, he added, culture loses.

السبت، فبراير 10، 2007

Fake E-mails!

I want to write about something so important, which is forwarding e-mails without checking their credibility. It happened to me many times that I received e-mails with false information, and the dangerous thing is that the content of these e-mails can have disastrous effects! One of them which I have got recently is talking about a game made by the well known Lego company that is said to be insulting Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him). I was shocked when I saw the picture attached to the e-mail showing that game, which I am not going to post in my blog. It was disgusting, and because of the importance of that e-mail, I searched Lego's web-site, and only found this press release:

Image of false LEGO box circulated via e mail

An image of a false LEGO box is currently being circulated across the world via e mail. The picture of the box is computer manipulated and in the picture LEGO elements are used to depict the Prophet Mohammed in a situation of a sexual nature – with a severely offensive text. The LEGO Group wants to stress that there is no such LEGO product, and that the company totally condemns the picture and the manner in which someone has made use of the LEGO products and brand. The LEGO Group does not know the original source of the image which back in spring appeared on some European websites. Possibilities of stopping this use of LEGO products and brands are being investigated, and the LEGO Group is collaborating with the Danish police in the matter. The LEGO Group has released a statement which can be downloaded from this site.
For further information, please contact:Charlotte Simonsen, Head of Corporate CommunicationsLEGO Group.Phone: +45 79 50 65 79c.simonsen@europe.lego.com

So please everyone, don't forward an e-mail without checking its credibility.

الاثنين، فبراير 05، 2007

Blood Diamond

An inspiring movie that added to me a lot, it opened my eyes to the world we are living in, to the inferiority of some so-called human beings, it emphasized the meaning of loyalty to homeland, the bless of living in peace with no blood and atrocities, the bless of being free, having home, family, dignity, and even food and water. I believe all of us should watch this fabulous movie to know the blesses we have and our role in trying to change the misery some people live in. This film is full of emotions, thrill, and drama. I recommend it to all of you.