Academic journal article International Review of Mission

Identity and Plurality

Academic journal article International Review of Mission

Identity and Plurality

Article excerpt

In a sense, globalization can be understood as the process of making uniform or homogenizing many aspects of life for all peoples around the globe. Its power seems so strong that all efforts to criticize it seem to bear no result. It seems strong because it touches the domain of one of the basic needs of human beings, namely economic. It is no wonder that for those in favour of globalization the process looks so attractive and contains abundant promises for their wellbeing. The proponents of globalization have been trying very hard to make use of every way possible to gain what they want and make the promises come true. This process has escalated especially since the end of the cold war, and its proponents have regarded themselves as the sole players with no one to resist, let alone to stop it. The proponents of globalization have been running real outreach programmes to include as many governments around the globe as possible by, among other things, promising good things to them.

However, globalization that can also be understood as creating a global identity is not something that is easily acceptable to many, peoples. This is true especially to the countries and peoples which are willy-nilly becoming its targets. The recent rise of so many relatively small countries of the former Soviet Union and the cries of those living in the so-called third and fourth worlds are factual phenomena which cannot easily be understood without globalization. One of the reasons for people's reaction to globalization is their day-to-day economic needs and identity. How can so many millions -- farmers and simple peasants -- bear their daily life while watching the good harvests of shrimp-ponds, logging, jewels, natural resources and other luxury products being exported abroad while they are feeding their families with inadequate food without even a smell or taste of those luxuries? How can so many people bear their daily life as they watch the fruits of their labours go to other countries in the name of g lobalization while they earn very low wages by toiling in the so-called "dirty industries"? Worse still is to consider how these people can be entertained and satisfied by the clever and cunning discourses and speeches of their governments, the proponents of multinational and transnational corporations, economists and politicians, who more often than not claim to be speaking on behalf of national interests, but in most cases only consider their own personal interests. How can so many developing countries resist the temptation of consumptive international funding agencies while they desperately need to improve their domestic economy? It is no secret that more and more poor countries are increasingly loaded by unbearable foreign loans! These millions of people who have been part of and strongly rooted in their respective contexts, in the broadest sense of the word, now find themselves deprived of their basic economic needs. The countries involved also have their respective invaluable histories that not only hel p but also are very decisive in shaping their respective identities. Now, however, these nations have to undergo many radical changes, which is affecting their identity, without much time to prepare or consider whether they have the energy for doing so. They are shattered, confused and bewildered because their precious contextual holdings are shaken by globalization. Uncertainties are high, some even feel threatened, and it is only logical that they are nearly detached from their contextual identity and react against globalization.

The strong ones will always have power to cope with the situation, while the weak will react emotionally with less discretion. In the end they tend to go back to something that they regard as their respective, safe and seemingly original contextual identities, by becoming religiously fanatic, fundamentalist, militant and politically rebellious against something that is no longer bearable. It may be noted that the wish to establish so many relatively small countries, to set up rebellious fronts and the like, and even to attack the World Trade Center in New York City on 11 September last year, are parts of the disorientation and the process of recapturing lost identities. …

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