As globalization shrinks our planet, people worry that their rights, livelihoods, and identities — religious, national, and cultural — are in jeopardy. This means that as our world consolidates economically, it ignites forces that can divide it culturally. As groups perceive that their values and ways of life are threatened, they will embrace even more strongly their cultural distinctions. This is already happening, and issues of cultural and national pride are becoming politicized: Americans fly the Stars and Stripes from car antennas, while Muslim immigrants riot over a cartoon that insults their prophet and insist their children be allowed to wear their headscarves in public schools. This creates a fearful, schizophrenic dynamic that may stoke today's terrorism and tomorrow's international conflicts. As this fear and nationalism make peaceful coexistence more challenging, the value of people building understanding through travel will be greater than ever.
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You are reading "Globalization, Cultural Fragmentation, and Terrorism", an entry posted on 12 October 2009 by Rick Steves.