France’s clash within civilizations

Hussein Shobokshi

Published: Updated:

The results of the first round of the presidential elections in France brought to the fore the growing signs of the end of the traditional party system in the world, whether it is the right-wing party or the left-wing party; both of them have decisively been hit.

Today, there is the emergence and ascendancy of one-person political system of governance rather than a party-based setup.

Individuals, who decide to walk against the mainstream politics and read what the street wants, are taking the reins of governance. We saw it in Britain’s vote and its exit from the European Union. We also saw it clearly in the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States of America.

They managed to convince the people of globalization that the world is flat — as described by writer Thomas Friedman — and is full of twists and turns formed by the sectarian, ideological and religious affiliations and far removed from the idea of coexistence, tolerance and fraternity.

Even the notion of the end of the world, as propagated by American author Francis Fukuyama in his famous book with the same tile, that the fall of the Soviet Union is the end of the world as we know it.

The only one had foresight is famous American writer and historian Samuel P. Huntington, who raised the slogan of a “clash of civilizations” in his book with the same controversial title.

What we see today is also the clash of civilizations and cultures in absolute terms — ideas, religions, creeds, and sects that collide and wrestle in a crazy and bloody way. It may be the beginning of the collapse of traditional institutions as defined by humanity in its recognized forms and may be the beginning of the formation of new institutions.

The clash of civilizations is old, not new, and the conflict has turned different historical stages into clashes and battles between the east and west, north and south, religions and sects. Sometimes it is for political reasons, sometimes for economic factors and sometimes for religious and cultural reasons. It can also be for employment and re-employment according to objectives of the situation.

Today, the political West is living in a striking and important phase. The society that was built and founded on a set of values, noble and lofty goals is now living in a state of “shock” with itself first and then it is colliding with other through an unprecedented series of policies and legislations, which can easily be described as aggressive, exclusionary and negative. It is exactly the opposite of what the political West was glorifying itself as the protector of rights and the fortress of minorities

A clash within civilizations might be a more accurate description of what is happening within the West. A new identity is trying to emerge. But the young Emmanuel Macron, who beat others in the primaries, has now beaten Marine Le Pen, a symbol of racism and hatred.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.

(Hussein Shobokshi is a Businessman and prominent columnist. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa. His twitter handle is @husseinshoboksh.

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