Culture and Imperialism

Cultural politics have changed the way of life of many countries across the globe. The quote by Said highlights some of the basic concepts of culture and imperialism on different dimensions. Political experiences dictate how communities have been affected based on their beliefs of how politics influence their lives. Norris and Inglehart (2009) highlights that the processes in international communication have been interpreted to constitute globalization process by the global media and the local audiences based on cultural imperialism and formulation of active audiences. Hybridity has been noted to be pervasive rather than evasive in relation to cultural conditions. In other words, global media enforces dominant-hegemony in influencing cultural-hybridity. Boyd-Barrett (2015) demonstrates that hybridity is not an evasion from identity but it is instead an ordinary and inevitable condition. He profoundly focuses on transformative practices which define the relationship between locality and globalization in relation to the inevitable identity challenge. The locality is evaluated as an independent cultural complexity which creates a hybrid-space.

Native Ethnography provides a clear comprehension in the undertaking of local practices in conjunction with global discourses. For instance, Lebanon faces identity crisis based on the predominance between Christianity and Islam religions being in an Arab environment. The identity crisis is as a result of the intersection between the East and the West cultures (Benjamin, 2003). The Maronites are Christians residing in the Middle East. Lebanon being one of the smallest nations in the world, experiences cultural hybridity due to possession of multiple mass media with diverging ideologies from Arabic to French to Armenian and English programs (Afzal-Khan, 2007). During the year 1995, Lebanon had over 50 television-stations with over 150 radio-stations catering to 3 million Lebanon’s inhabitants. Some of the programs include MTV videos, 90210, British comedies, German documentaries, American pop songs, Arabic songs, British rock, and Lebanese folk-songs. All contemporary cultures are relatively hybrid due to the interaction of the local and global media (Fanon, 2009). The global media (production and dissemination) influences the local’s reception resulting in a mass-mediated culture.

A more vivid example of imperialism is the relationship between the United States and Syria. The United States sees Syria as a country that is geographically situated in a way that it can influence Mild East (Rabil, 2006). Syria is the only friend to Iran has made it hard for the United States to get fully into the Middle East. It, therefore, means that weakening the political stand of Syria will give the United States a leeway to getting into the Middle East since this will destroy the stubborn government of Syria.

On the other hand, Russia has had a lot of influence in the Middle East, especially Syria since independence. There is bilateral trade between the two countries and Russia has its major companies in the country. Russia has major contracts in Syria with over eighty thousand Russians working in the country. The strong relationship has been due to a good relationship between the Russian government and Assad family (Moubayed, 2013). Weakening Syria government will weaken this relationship, and that works against the Russian’s influence in the Middle East.

The other historical factor influencing stands taken by the two countries on Syria civil war is the cold war. It ended in a way that the United States of America and Russia remained on the opposite sides of power. Since then, both countries have always seen themselves as some of the worlds’ super power especially when it comes to military prowess (Strang, 2005).  The opposite stands taken by the two countries in the civil war Syria could be due to this fact. Both countries want to prove themselves as powerful, and nobody is afraid to back off. There is military support from both countries in different directions.

Historical movement of the Arab Springs seem to be a huge influence on stands taken by the US and Russia on Syria War. The relationship between Syria and Russia had been stronger since Syria’s independence and until the arrival of Arab Springs.  The arrival of the Arab Springs has given leeway for the weakening of the Syria government by the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Anything that weakens the current Syria government, and thus the Assad family defiantly weakens Russia’s involvement in the country (Rabil, 2006). Therefore, Russia takes the position of supporting the government to ensure that it maintains its roots in the country. It also ensures that it maintains its influence in the Middle East.

Colonialism equally has its contributions in the stands taken by the two countries. Syria was colonized by France, and later became unstable for a long time after the independence (Alloula, Godzich & Godzich, 1986). Russia came to the rescue of the country and since then has enjoyed a good relationship with the country. The tie explains Russia’s support for the Syria government to ensure that the friendship continuous. The United States of America has been good allies of France since the colonial error and has been seen to fight a common enemy in the Middle East, which is Iran (Strang, 2005). The fact that Syria government is close allies of Iran makes the United States of American support the rebels. It is assumed that when the United States of America wins the war then they will have influence in the Middle East.

The Arab nationalism was a movement that its main aim was to counteract the penetration of Western into the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. There was a belief by the Arabs that the Ottoman Empire lost the Islamic roots and begun implementing the ideologies of the Westerns into Turkish. The civil war in Syria gives the United States another chance to influence the Middle East. The Western will be seen to have succeeded when the Assad family and the current Syria government is defeated. On the other hand, Russia will fail when the Syria government is defeated and thus lose its roots in the Middle East. A move will see the good long relationship in the Middle East end and give way to the Westerns.

The civil war in Syria is an international concern that has divided the world in different directions. The United States even though purports to support the rebels by working for humanitarians; it is another chance for the Western to have its influence in the Middle East (Strang, 2005). The Russia, on the other hand, needs to support the Assad to maintain its good relationship and influence in the Middle East.  There are many historical factors that play role in the stands taken by the two major countries including nationalism and the colonialism (Fanon, 2009). The different stands taken by the two countries may end up splitting Syria in to two countries as it did in the Korean War.

Conclusion

Cultural politics have played a key role in shaping the culture of the society. Although there are several countries that have tried to retain their culture, the issue of globalization has been shaping their cultures gradually. Strategic positions of some countries attract attention of powerful countries to use their culture in manipulation neighboring countries. Individual character is based on the influence of the environs and keeps changing from time to time. The culture of a society then is shaped by these individual character changes.

 

References:

Boyd-Barrett, O. (2015). Media Imperialism. London: SAGE Publications

Norris, P., & Inglehart, R. (2009). Cosmopolitan communications: Cultural diversity in a globalized world. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Afzal-Khan, F. (2007). Cultural imperialism and the Indo-English novel: Genre and ideology in R.K. Narayan, Anita Desai, Kamala Markandaya, and Salman Rushdie. University Park,          Pa: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press.

Strang, M. (2005). Cultural Imperialism. Munich: GRIN Verlag GmbH.

Rabil, R. G. (2006). Syria, the United States, and the war on terror in the Middle East. Westport,             Conn: Praeger Security International.

Moubayed, S. (2013). Syria and the USA: Washington's relations with Damascus from Wilson to             Eisenhower. London: I.B. Tauris

Alloula, M., Godzich, M., & Godzich, W. (1986). The colonial harem. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Benjamin, R. (2003). Orientalist aesthetics: Art, colonialism, and French North Africa, 1880-      1930. Berkeley: University of California Press.

MacKenzie, J. M. (1997). The empire of nature: Hunting, conservation, and British imperialism.             Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press.

Fanon, F. (2009). Black skin, white masks. Brantford, Ont: W. Ross MacDonald School Resource             Services Library.

 

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