woensdag 15 juni 2011

Preserving Arab Culture in the Kingdom of Bahrain (article)

"This paper aims at assessing the efforts of preserving Arab culture in the Kingdom of Bahrain initiated by the Bahraini Parliament in recent years. With a population of roughly 1 million inhabitants, nearly half of whom are expatriates, Bahrain has been under a constant pressure of immigrant cultures. The lack of integration of residing foreigners added to the effects of country‘s rapid modernization putting the Bahraini cultural identity at stake. This danger was recognized by the Bahraini Parliament. With the political reform that culminated in the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in 2002, the Parliament became the unique though limited form of popular representation. Although no major tensions between expatriate and local
population have been yet observed, these could arise in the future if the problem is ignored. The situation in Bahrain is all the more vulnerable since local population is divided between Sunni and Shia Muslims, which led to conflicts in the past. It is no surprising that the first steps in the exercise of democracy addressed the problem of national culture. Although Bahraini
authorities have recognized that multiculturalism is an asset, it is an extremely delicate question how to establish a balance between foreign influences needed for a future development of country’s economy and local culture. This paper examines the work of the Parliament aimed at
preservation of Bahraini identity, its successes and lessons to be drawn from its failures. The case study of Bahrain is representative of problems faced by other Arabian Gulf countries and answers the question: Is an eradication of national identity a necessary evil of rapidly developing countries of the Gulf region?" by Magdalena Karolak

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