Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations showed the war between civilization as unavoidable, something engraved in the core of geopolitics since the beginning of times… A lucid examination of history shows something rather different : cultures and civilizations always exchange, giving to and borrowing from each other, excluding some elements and integrating some others according to the proper dynamics of their own evolutions. The Arabic and Muslim world is no exception to this rule and is re-interpreting elements from modernity according to local needs and conditions, “to produce novelties which are neither conventionally Western nor traditionally Arab“.
Shereen El Feki, half Egyptian, half Welsh, is observing these side effects of globalization. “Her passion lies in the many projects in which she is involved which aim to better understand, and surmount, the social challenges facing Arabs, particularly young people”.
In this video, published by Ted India, she is showing some examples of these borrowings.
But Shereen El Feki is not only talking for TED India, she also publishes a crosscultural website, called Meedan – town square, place of gathering, probably the best Arabic equivalent to the Greek word Agora – where internautes can exchanges texts and opinions both in Arabic and in English. She is not alone. Meedan is built by a non profit organization based in California and the texts are produced by a international team of volunteers in places as remote as “Amman, Damascus, Cairo, Casablanca, Bethlehem, Beirut, London, Portland, Pozan, Brussels, Toronto, and Armonk“.
All this is also made possible by a new translation technology called Machine Translation (MT).
“Meedan’s mission is to further global understanding and tolerance through technology. At Meedan, we think the web can play a big part in bringing people together to help heal mutual enmity and distrust.So we aim to increase the number of cross-language interactions on the web between Arabic and English speakers.”
You can see this beautiful project by clicking here. Don’t miss this new bridge between civilizations… Nowadays, the opportunities to bring Arabic and English talking people together are so scarce…