Intolerance and Cross Cultural Communication Problem, Essay Example
Intolerance depicts conflict. It can be defined as the unwillingness to respect or endure beliefs and opinions of different backgrounds and communities. Intolerance has taken different forms in the world. This includes mainly Ethnic intolerance and Religious intolerance. The society today is faced with conflict among different communities and also among different religious groups. Several groups have been at war with another and they include: Basque conflict where rebel groups calling themselves Liberty guerrilla group and Basque fatherland waged war against the Spanish Government. The Burma Civil War which is considered the earth’s complex and longest running war. Several ethnic groups have attempted to take over power but in vain since the World War two. The next is the Burundi Civil war in which the Hutu rebels fought against the Government led Tutsi.
Congo was used as a base of organizing attacks by the rebels. This led to conflict between Burundi and Congo. The Ivory Coast War where an attack was launched on forces supporting incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo by Rebel soldiers. This war took place between 2002-2007.The Syrian civil war is also another example of conflict which began peacefully with demonstrations against Assad dictatorship during the Arab uprising.This led to most Arab governments overthrown including: Egypt,Tunisia, Yemen and Libya. Brutality and killing of civilians by security forces and pro-Assad militia led to armed response by the anti-Assad forces leading to one of the bloodiest civil wars ever experienced .Another conflict that cannot go without being mentioned is the war on terror which involves the American army and the al-Qaida terror group. This began after the September 11 bombing in the United States in which the al-Qaida and the Taliban from Afghanistan claimed responsibility. U.S. Special Forces have also been deployed in the Philippines to fight the Abu Sayyaf soldiers and other para-military operations have also been carried out.
Conflict and intolerance is inevitable in any society .Governments are therefore investing heavily in armory and security to make them equipped in case of war .Conflict has however led to the many negative effects in the world. There has been massive loss of lives and displacement of the population, increased communicable diseases, poor relationships and poverty.
Different articles have been written about the ever increasing conflicts among groups in the world. Muslims and Christians have been in conflict in different years.This has mainly been brought by the different beliefs and cultural backgrounds. In a country like Kenya, scenes have been witnessed where Muslims have torched Christian churches and attacked them. Christians have also openly accused Muslims for planning terror activities and selling drugs.This conflict is examined further in the case study below.
A case study of interfaith conflict in Kenya
In Kenya, neither Christians nor Muslims have come up with anarticulate and logical argument as to why the Kadhis court should be disbanded or retained under the new constitution.Kadhis court have the jurisdiction to determine cases relating to Muslim personal status, divorce, marriage or inheritance where both parties profess the Islamic religion. This is pointed out in the draft constitution and the current constitution. The current constitution gives parliament the authority to enact laws with respect to marriage, adoption, devolution of property on death, burial divorce and matters relating to personal law. In this sense, the current constitution gives the opportunity of giving choice in matters relating to personal law in the administration of justice (Oded, 2000). The only difference is that the draft constitution makes provision for establishment of Muslim courts to handle matters pertaining to personal law between parties who are Muslims. Christians have never complained of the Kadhis courts since the constitution was made in 1963. The privilege that every Kenyan is entitled to be governed by personal law that he/she chooses has never been challenged in Kenya. Therefore, the sudden rejection of the Kadhis court is a matter of great depth which should be carefully looked in to.
The Kadhis court is being opposed due to fears that their introduction will form a base for introduction of other Islamic law aspects .If the introduction of sharia laws is to be successful, as in Sudan and Nigeria then Kenyans have a right to be scared of this prospect. It is a misconception for Muslims to claim that they have constitutional rights to have Kadhis courts integrated in the constitution. This is because the Kadhis courts were part of a political agreement between the British,the Sultan of Zanzibar, and the first African Kenyan Governments. Muslims and Christians should therefore understand that the integration of the Kadhis courts in the constitution does not give special rights to Muslims (Oded, 2000).
The draft constitution establishes District Kadhis Courts, Provisional Kadhis courts which is headed by a senior Kadhi. Appeals from the Kadhis court are only to be heard the Supreme Court only if they are matters pertaining to the constitution. This would mean that Muslims would be governed by Islamic law except in criminal matters. However, this is found to be difficulty as one can only be appointed a Kadhi if he holds a degree in Islamic law which is not offered in any Kenyan University. Bringing about different laws may compromise national unity of the country and detrimental effects between Christians and Muslims. The propose removal of the Kadhis court from the supervision of the high court would cause a parallel legal system. The Kadhis court should therefore remain under the supervision of the high court to ensure fairness and national jurisprudence in the administration of justice <Africa.peacelink.org>
South Africa was subjected to the apartheid regime when the colonialists took over the National party in 1948 won the election that was based on segregation and racism. After the election, the liberation movement intensified their activities which were curbed by the government. The government introduced the suppression of the communism act which was spelled out. The defiance campaign broughtIndians, Africansand Colouredstogether against the whites. This was a reaction to the unfair laws the government implemented. The campaign included some whites who fought along the Indians and the Africans. Apartheid made segregation law. Apartheid led to people being separated using force and punished those who fought against it (Allen, 2005). This rule was introduced by the whites due to fear and racial superiority. The whites were also in minority and therefore people feared losing their culture, language and jobs.Apartheid was vested on the following pillars:
Population registration act-This rule required that people register according to their races. Records were kept on whether the people where: white, Indian or Asian.
Bantu education-This introduced an education system that would provide manual labors and obedient workers. The system was inferior and the Indians and the coloreds were also subjected towards this education system.
Self-Government by the Bantu- This forced people from different races to live in different locations. The majority of the population who were the black people were only given a small portion of the country (Allen, 2005).
Group areas act- This advocated for people separation of people of different races especially in urban areas.
Suppression of communism act- This was introduced to fight those groups and the CPSA who tried to act contrary to the government. They banned and punished any group trying to act against the apartheid policy.
Other important laws include: Separate representation of voters act, immorality amendment act and the reservation act.These laws were met with active boycott, civil disobedience, strike and non-co-operation. The Defiance campaign led to volunteers being jailed for defying the unfair laws.
Stiff penalties such as imprisonment and heavy fines were imposed by the government to for any person protesting against the unjust laws. Volunteers were imprisoned for violating curfew, entering white locations and not carrying passes.<www.fsmitha.com/h2/ch34-sa.htm>
Articles Summary-Article 1
The first article talks about intolerance between Christians and Muslims in Kenya. Kenya has drafted a constitution which it plans to promulgate to replace the current one which was conscripted by the British in the colonial days. The current constitution is considered oppressive as it does not fully protect the right of the citizens. In the current constitution, the Kadhis courts have the jurisdiction to determine civil cases in matters of marriage, inheritance, divorce, adoption and burial in which all parties involved are Muslims. In the draft constitution, this is challenged in a court of law when the bill is brought to the public for review. Christians fear that the inclusion of the Kadhis court in the constitution will lead to the introduction of some aspects of Islamic law. These aspects have been unfavorable in countries like Nigeria and Sudan. Separation of personal law is discouraged because it compromises national unity in Kenya. It is also not favorable as Kenyan Universities do not offer degrees in Islamic laws, a requirement for one to be a chief Kadhi.
The majority group in this article are the Christians. They are opposing the Kadhis court inclusion in the constitution for fear of being ruled one day by Islamic law.
The customary law that governs Christians in civil cases involving marriage, inheritance and burial in which both parties are governed by the law is not challenged. This is because the majority of the population in Kenya are Christians. Opposing customary law would lead to wide spread criticism and strong debates among Christians.
Article summary-article 2
The second article is about intolerance in South Africa during the apartheid rule. South Africans were against the oppressive apartheid regime that saw the Africans, Indians and the coloreds discriminated. They were not allowed to enter designated places that were meant for whites only. The apartheid regime led to introduction of some oppressive and unjust laws. The laws included providing Africans, Indians and coloreds with inferior education that would produce manual laborers and obedient workmen. There was also no marriage between people of different races. There was also physical separation of people according to their races in urban areas. Mixed marriages were made illegal and those who tried to protest against the government were heavily fined or imprisoned. The Defiance campaign was established in 1952 to try and mobilize people from different races to fight the apartheid government. Volunteers defied orders, violated curfew and entered places designated for whites only. This led to their arrest and imprisonment.
The majority of the population were Africans, Indians and the coloreds. They were subjected to oppressive rules and discriminated against.
The minority of the population were whites who dominated the Government. They looked down upon the Africans and subjected them to harsh punishment. They were the wealthy group as they owned large tracts of land where they employed Africans at very low wage rates.
When the two articles are compared, there are certain aspects in which they are similar. They however have very few differences. They are compared as below
The first article which mainly talks about the intolerance between Christians and Muslims. Christians are against the move by the drafted constitution to entrench the Kadhiscourts.This is enough evidence to show that Christians in Kenya cannot tolerate their Muslim brothers and sisters.The drafted constitution has given the Christians customary law that rules them but they do not want the Muslims to be ruled by their Islamic laws.The minority, the Muslims, can also not tolerate their Christian counterparts. Muslims have torched churches and attacked Christians in the past. This has led to feelings of hatred between these religious groups and conflict among them.The apartheid rule also led to feelings of mistrust and hatred between the majority and the minority. Theminority, whites, subjected the Africans, Indians and the coloreds to unjust laws and unfair treatment. They were not supposed to marry the whites nor live in the same areas with them. This how the whites were intolerant with the majority of the population .The majority were also subjected to inferior education to serve the whites and could not share houses or even buses with the whites .In both these cases, one party is discriminated against. In the first article, the Muslims are discriminated while in the second article the blacks, Indians and the coloreds are discriminated. The book “Us and Them” illuminates the dark past of the United States of America. It shows the religious, social, ethnic and racial intolerance that occurred in the nineteenth and twentieth century.Thebook also reveals the trials of different groups, which include the Catholics, Chinese, Jewish immigrants, Japanese citizens, Mormons and Mexican Americans. Drawings and paintings have revealed what hatred and inequality has done to the United States(Carnes& Tauss, 1996).An example is the “Rose for Charlie” which showcases the pictures of a community that has been disrupted by hate and how the community responded to hate. Photographs of a victim of hate just show how serious it was.This books just like the other articles, discloses the oppressive rules and law that governed the inferior people. Suffering was the order of the day for most people. The rulers were dictators who were harsh.
Comparing the first article and the second article, a significant difference can be seen.in the first article, the minority group is discriminated against. However, in the second article, the majority group is discriminated against.
My perception of culture and discrimination has drastically changed.I have managed to embrace different cultures in within the university and this has helped me a lot. My perception of culture was changed in the following manner:
First, I sensitized and educated myself on cultural diversity by defining myself and expressing how I felt about the diversity in my class. I tried to be aware of my motivations and behavior as my first step in managing cultural diversity. The next step was celebrating cultural differences in my class. Different students shared out their culture and I shared mine. This was encouraged especially if the culture adds to the curriculum. This was encouraged especially if the culture adds to the curriculum. Learning of different culture made the differences our strengths and that made us to interact freely and peacefully. The next stage was to learn about the cultural differences in my classroom. I learnt that in some cultures, shaking of hands was a taboo and that meant disrespect to the elders. In other cultures, eye contact was not allowed with a married person or a person in the opposite sex was considered a taboo. Different behaviors which could be considered bad by other communities were considered to be helpful in other communities(Tierney, 2007). The next stage was to consider the cultural need of other student’s .I treated my fellow students with dignity and respect .I evaluated their expectation and practices and modified my behavior accordingly. The final stage was learning to communicate with my fellow students from different cultural backgrounds .I learnt different languages from different communities in order to easily communicate with other students from different backgrounds. Knowing about other cultures has been interesting and has made me have different experiences. There are some that I have enjoyed while others have not really gone down well with me. I have managed to exchange different and beneficial ideas with people from other cultural backgrounds. This is because people varied perspectives and unique experience come up with unique ideas and solutions to the many problems faced. Such a situation is never present amongst people with the same cultural background. Cultural diversity can also help create a pool of talent for the students to explore. Students are able to learn from one another and this leads to a win-win situation (Tierney, 2007). Cultural diversity has also helped me in having a sense of belonging. I feel my school values me and that I am a worthy contributor to the achievement of its objectives. Cultural diversity has helped me academically and psychologically. My academics have improved due to interaction with other students. They have been able to teach me the units I did not understand in class. They have also helped me psychologically as I have been more social than before. I have been capable of making new friends and getting involved in beneficial school projects. Cultural awareness has also greatly helped me in functioning in a multi ethnic and cultural environment.
Intolerance of individuals and groups are activities which did began as far as the 17th century. Races, religion, communities faced oppressive treatment from the superiors. In Kenya, this is also seen as the Christians are against the integration of the Kadhis court. The apartheid regime in South Africa subjected Africans and Indians to unjust rules .Those who were against the regime were punished and jailed. Many groups were formed to fight the Government which was finally defeated in 1994.
Allen, J. (2005). Apartheid South Africa: An insider’s view of the origin and effects of separate development. New York, NY: iUniverse, Inc.
Carnes, J., Blackmun, H. A., & Tauss, H. (1996). Us and them: A history of intolerance in America. New York: Oxford University Press.
Oded, A. (2000). Islam and politics in Kenya. Boulder, Colo. [u.a.: Rienner.
Tierney, S. (2007). Accommodating cultural diversity. Aldershot: Ashgate.
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