Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Cultural Dynamism


Cultural Dynamism

One of the topics that have attracted attention of thinkers, statesmen, theorists and etc is the cultural invasion. It brought about serious discussions in Islamic countries. Particularly, traditionalists and religious leaders have stood against the process strongly. After 2001, the topic has been widely discussed in Afghanistan. Several times, Media and press have been criticized by traditionalists as un-Islamic.

Frequently, I have noticed in my articles that if any one of you interested to understand what the true meaning of fundamentalism, extremism and conservatism is, just have a happy journey there since Afghanistan of Taliban does not exist any more.

But the city has a privilege which makes me optimistic that likely it restores its past relative open and moderate state and ends the current abysmal situation, unlike parts of Afghanistan, from the very regions Taliban militants built power and were sympathized, which were benefited lesser from modernization and open environment of cities like Kabul before start of civil war.

Anyhow, I used to live at the end rule of Taliban regime in Afghanistan till later years. When US attacked Afghanistan, there was angry voices calling for Jihad, the decree if issued by high influential scholars, all Muslims are obliged to wage war and fight.

However, I am sure, that religious scholars were hurt, except a very minor faction of modern clergies or who opposed the project of Talibanism, but none moved ahead, and all remained silent when Pakistan government sided with US as well as global attitude turned against militants throughout the world, particularly in Muslim countries.

Well, one of things frequently discussed was the concept of cultural invasion, when I heard the term it actually appeared completely vague for me. Once I was sitting with two of teachers in office of my school, a person who just returned from Afghanistan after the outstation of Taliban quoted that various English centers were opened across the country to respond to increasing demands of Afghan youngsters learning English as their second language.

One of my teachers frowned and said: "Then West has started enforcing their colonizing policies and will eliminate cultural values of the country". According to him language was inseparable and key part of culture.

Indeed, the cultural invasion is not a new term. From years, it has been the center of hot-bed discussion in third world countries. These countries have been practicing different types of traditions and rituals and have had different life styles. Thus, almost anything went against the old normal process of the society has been deemed as ill-export of West, the term applied to European and North American countries.

When cable TV networks become prevalent and demand was increasing for it, many were going mad against programs which, of course, were against their tradition and, moreover, prevalent interpretation of Islam. Religious scholars were alarming people, "Please, be afraid of God and his judgment in the day of resurrection (Qiyamat) and do not learn from TV cables and dish, learn holy Quran and pray to Allah to protect you against evils of today's world".

Such sounds are heard here in the country since the very outstation of Taliban regime. Several times, TV channels have been criticized by traditionalists about their programs on the basis of their perceived contrast with Islamic teachings.

For this layer of society, indiscriminate of their country, any change in the course of society is deemed evil, and every rituals practiced are deemed good.
It has been decades that many viewed with suspicion every thing which had some kind of links with the West.

Concepts like modernization, globalization and etc have been viewed equal to Westernization and Americanization. Indubitably, after the Second World War and subsequent Cold War, European countries and United States dealt huge affect on the global order.

Even it can be claimed that, after the collapse of Soviet Union, which engraved the bi-polar global order, the US emerged as the hyper power in the world. Such position for the US that has been the supporters of democracy in the sphere of politics, free-market capitalism in sphere of economy, and liberal individualism in social and cultural setup definitely has been effective to promote such values.
Most of such values are globalized and deemed as value even by the poverty-stricken and backward countries like Afghanistan.

It does not seem that anybody can ever stop the technological explosion and its rapid spread through the entire world. Large portion of people will definitely use TV channels, and desire variety of programs any where in the world. Censuring them can only be as brake, but soon after communication technology like satellites, which even now a poor family of Afghan can provide for, can respond to demands of people and circulate the censorship plan.

Accepting or not, remaining silent or resisting, modern world and its values will never leave any thing untouched. Now youngsters whether African, Asian, American or European will put on the same brand of jeans. So, if the process can be not controlled, then why who stick to tradition and values should not do something else rather than struggling uselessly.

The term "cultural invasion" should not be used again, and replaced by term "cultural dynamism". Major modern values are not all against the traditional values and they should be accepted. Something which deemed as taboo according to religious teachings can be reformed according to modern demand of cities and countries.

Practices which are against such global values should be left away at any cost. The thing which is the most complicated as well as difficult part of phenomenon is about morality. One of the unacceptable evils of, perhaps, modernization is sexual freedom and immodesty which can cause many social and psychological problems and disorders. Therefore, struggles of both religious scholars and government should be concentrated on issues and alarm youngsters about such pitfalls.

Jawad Rahmani is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at jawad_rahmani2001@yahoo.com

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