Post-rally reflection on culture clash needed

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-1-13 0:33:01

Despite its impressive scale, the vast solidarity march in Paris on Sunday looked like feeding a seriously ailing person with painkillers.

Voices say that what Western developed societies have gone through is payback as it is their historical acts of slavery and colonialism which led to their current demographic structures. It is hard for the high percentage of Muslims in France to mingle with mainstream society, which converts the external clash of civilizations somewhat into an internal one. The immigrant issue has bred ultra-extremist right-wingers in Europe, making conflicts largely insolvable.

Many who offered sympathy after the Charlie Hebdo attack may change their opinion after the magazine vowed to publish 1 million copies of the next edition, a huge rise from its usual print run of 60,000.

The slogan "Je Suis Charlie" shows more the contempt of people against terrorism than taking the magazine as a model of press freedom given the controversial cartoons it published. When calm is restored, if the magazine holds on to its stance on Islam, it will put the French government in a difficult position and it will become a symbol of a clash of civilizations in Europe.

The world has highly divided value systems. Such differences have triggered unprecedentedly complicated conflicts and are damaging many existing structures.

The West is predominant in pushing its ideology, but it is concerned about the reverse penetration of Islam and the expansion of minority groups, with no effective solutions available.

The West advocates diversified cultures, but it meanwhile emphasizes the dominance of Christianity and attempts to use it to affect the direction of modernization. This shapes a profound contradiction within the West and between it and the rest of the world.

Today it is tolerance and compromise that should gain most support, which is however, ignored by Western countries. It seems that only China is calling for no conflicts and no confrontation, but this hasn't produced a vigorous response from the West.

The rallies in Paris deserve support, but can hardly produce significant results. The separation between civilizations is increasingly evident and sensitive due to terrorism, but the march did not address the underlying problem.

The US is slammed for not having sent senior officials to join the rallies. The West now appears to have no time or at least is refusing to undertake any reflection. This is understandable, but what should it do in the future?

Posted in: Editorial

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