Nov 28,2022 – JORDAN TIMES / Adel Tweissi
Will and Ariel Durant gave the shortest definition of the term “culture” in their eleven-volume encyclopedic book “The Story of Civilisation”, which is that “culture is the ways of living and thinking of a people”. This definition thus brought together the material (tangible) and non-material aspects of the elements of culture.
The world’s people of all cultures share many elements of culture, both material and immaterial, that are universal to human culture in general. However, each of the peoples of the world has cultural peculiarities that it adheres to and does not give up, unless they do not have a significant impact on the course of thinking and living of that people. This is why cultural globalisation has succeeded in popularising some ways of living for most peoples of the world, such as the popularisation of fast food (such as McDonald’s) as well as the spread of dress and Western fashion.
There are two trends in the world in cultural globalisation: One that calls for the fusion of the cultures of all nations in one crucible: the culture of nations with military and economic power. This trend also eliminates the specificities of other nations’ cultures that are militarily or economically weak. The second trend is adopted by UNESCO, which issued the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in 2001, which emphasised respect for the specificities of the culture of each people and not to attempt to abolish those particularities.
Nations defend the specificities of their cultures, and consider some of their elements to be taboo that are indisputable in any way, especially those related to religion and language.
Thus, the first version of attempts at cultural globalisation (adopted by many countries with military or economic power) can be considered the poor version of cultural globalisation, as it does not respect the specificities of other peoples’ cultures, and even tries to melt them into the crucible of their own cultures.
In this year’s World Cup (2022), the host country “Qatar” is facing the poor version of cultural globalisation by refusing to abolish the specificities of its culture (stemming from Arab nationalism and the Islamic religion), and announcing its refusal to raise the slogan of homosexuality in World Cup, and to ban alcohol consumption in stadiums. It is wrong to think that these two cultural aspects belong to the Qatari people, or even to the Islamic nation alone. Most of the world’s Christian religion followers (approximately 34 per cent of the world’s population) also reject homosexuality.
The State of Qatar has exercised its cultural rights, implemented the UNESCO World Declaration on Cultural Diversity of 2001, which calls for respect for the specificities of the culture of each of the peoples of the world, and rejected the poor version of cultural globalisation, which calls for the fusion of the cultures of all nations in one pot, which is the culture of the strongest militarily and economically.
Adel Tweissi is the minister of higher education and former minister of culture