Intercultural Communication Concepts and Issues
INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION CONCEPTS AND ISSUES 6
InterculturalCommunication Concepts and Issues
InterculturalCommunication Concepts and Issues
Interculturalcommunication involves sharing information across diverse socialgroups and cultures. The term is also used in describing variouscommunication problems and processes that often arise in institutionsthat are composed of people from distinct social, educational,religious, and ethnic backgrounds. According to communicationresearchers, people involved in intercultural communication contendthat culture influences the way people program and interpretmessages, as well as the medium they choose to transmit it. Thisessay hypothesizes that cultural history is a crucial precursor forintercultural communication.
InSamovar et al (2013), chapter four, the authors argue that the mainreason people learn their cultural history is to assist themunderstand themselves. This contrasts with present people’sattitude who assume that people they can learn how to succeed orbehave. In addition, the researchers claim cultural history helpshumans to understand that human issues are complicated. The authorsclaim that the past influences the present, thus, cultural historydoes help people to understand the human society better. The booksupports this allegation using the early immigrants into the UnitedStates. The major immigrants had come from Europe, and theyintroduced historically subjective practices and perceptions. Thebook also argues that cultural history also helps people to developself-identity. The authors support this assertion using TheBender report,which associated the United States’ national history as the mostessential unifying force of people from different cultures andbackgrounds in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. On the samenote, the authors argue that cultural history precedes various issuesthat arise afterwards. For example, the cultural conflicts betweenChristians and Muslims may appear as a recent dispute associated withterrorism and the oppression of the Arab World by the west, but theconflict dates back to more than 12 centuries back. Similarly, theresearchers support that cultural history is an antecedent of modernissues using the effort of Martin Luther King, Jr. Rosa Parks andCesar Chavez. These were among the most popular civil rights movementleaders. Their effort to force the United States government to giveequal rights to the minority people have paved way for Barack Obamato become the first African American president (Samovar et al, 2013).
Asuitable case of an intercultural communication issue is ousting ofMohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first and last democratically electedpresident. According to Kirkpatrick (2013), the Egyptian armysuspended Morsi’s fascist constitution and elected another interimgovernment headed by a jurist. A few hours prior to the militarytaking over Egypt leadership, many people were protesting on thestreets and at Tahrir Square demanding the president to quit.However, Morsi had refused to resign and call for new elections asthe citizens wanted. The ousted president warned the army that theyhad engaged in treason as their action decision to suspend theconstitution and arrest a democratically elected president wasequitable to ‘a military coup’. His remarks came in spite ofGeneral Sisi’s insistence that the military was not taking overpolitical power. The Egyptian Army made it clear that it was onlyfacilitating formation of a democratic government in the country. The officials announced that they supported a “technocraticgovernment” as no army officers were seeking election to the toppost. Prior to Morsi’s ousting, the Egyptians and the internationalcommunity thought he was the best candidate to deliver democracy inthe country (Kirkpatrick, 2013). This was because he was an informedstrategist who had been involved in brokering peace deals among thewarring Middle East nations. Unfortunately, he failed to deliver onhis promise of creating an all-inclusive government. He drafted aconstitution that favored the Sharia law, disregarding the fact thatEgypt was composed of many religions.
Froman ordinary person’s perspective, President Morsi’s action offailing to create an all-inclusive and democratic leadership mayappear normal. However, Egyptians have a long cultural history ofdisobedience and dictatorship. This history dates several centuriesback, even before Jesus came. The head of state was called “Pharaoh”.These leaders were totalitarians as they were in charge of making thefinal decisions. In addition, nobody could refute his or herpreference. The only people who assisted them in making informeddecisions were magicians, magi, and foreseers. However, the so-calledwise men and foretellers could only advise a Pharaoh, and then hewould make the final decision depending on what he thought suitable.A common characteristic all the Pharaoh’s was a diehard attitude.For example, the holy Koran and The Bible records that the head ofstate withstood ten plagues before he agreed to release theIsraelites. In addition, these holy books, the Bible and the Koran,record several battles the Israelites had to fight as they wereleaving Egypt. They also record that Egyptians mainly worshippedidols hence, most of them believed in false gods. This long culturalhistory of leaders’ disobedience and resistance in Egypt explainsMorsi’s behavior. Just as the Pharaoh was promising Moses and theIsraelites that he could let them leave the country if they stoppedthe plagues, Morsi promised to establish a democratic andall-inclusive administration. However, he failed to deliver on hispromises after he forced a sharia-based constitution against the willof many people. Similarly, the Egyptians opted to protest and useviolence to portray their dissatisfaction with President Morsi’spresidency just as their ancestors did whenever they wanted toreplace a Pharaoh. Contesting parties had to engage in bloodybattles, and the faction that won took over leadership (Kirkpatrick,2013). The citizens could not use modern dispute solving methodssuch as courts of law. They had to engage in violent protests inorder to communicate their frustration with Morsi’s policies.
Presently,the major source of conflict in Egypt appears to come arise fromreligious differences. Morsi and his supporters, the MuslimBrotherhood, aim at making Egypt an Islamic state. This explains thereason he was trying to endorse a constitution based on Islam. On thesame note, he failed to deliver his promise of establishing anall-encompassing administration that would cater for the needs of allthe people, including the non-Muslims. Unfortunately, the goal ofensuring peace in Egypt will be challenging because the battlebetween the Islamists and the other religious sects, such asChristianity, in the country is rising consistently Kirkpatrick,2013). In addition, the intercultural communication of the Egyptianspredisposes them to intense violence. For many centuries, Egypt was asecular state administered by dictatorial monarchs. This means thatthe Muslim Brotherhood’s ambition of making the country an Islamicstate will be extremely challenging. The secular state culture,dominated by authoritarian leadership would be critical to preventthe diverse religious groups from engaging in battles. Otherwise, a“technocrat administration’ cannot work in Egypt as the countryhas a long history with dictatorship governments. If Samovar et al(2013) assertions that the cultural history of people is antecedentto their emerging issues, Egypt will finally become a dictator and asecular state, just as the ancient Pharaoh administrationsfunctioned.
Samovar,L. A., Porter, R. E., McDaniel, E. R., & Roy, C. S. (2013).Communicationbetween cultures.Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Kirkpatrick,D.D. (2013). Army Ousts Egypt’s President Morsi is Taken intoMilitary Custody. NewYork Times.