El choque del Islam con la modernización

Hace diez años, Samuel Huntington afirmó que las divisiones de la política mundial en la era de la posguerra fría son fundamentalmente culturales, un ''choque entre civilizaciones'' definido por cinco o seis zonas culturales principales que pueden coexistir en ocasiones pero que nunca convergirán porque no tienen valores compartidos. Una implicación de este argumento es que los ataques terroristas del 11 de septiembre y la respuesta encabezada por los EU deben verse como parte de una lucha civilizacional más amplia entre el Islam y Occidente. Otra es que lo que nosotros en Occidente consideramos como derechos humanos universales son simplemente un producto de la cultura europea, inaplicable a aquéllos que no comparten esta tradición.

Yo creo que Huntington está equivocado en ambos casos. Sir V.S. Naipaul, reciente ganador del Premio Nóbel de Literatura, alguna vez escribió un artículo llamado ''Nuestra civilización universal''. Qué apropiado. Después de todo, Naipaul es un escritor de ascendencia india que creció en Trinidad. El afirmaba que no sólo son aplicables los valores occidentales a todas las culturas, sino que él debe sus logros literarios precisamente a esa universalidad que se adquiere cruzando las putativas fronteras civilizacionales de Huntington.

La universalidad también es posible en términos más amplios porque la fuerza principal en la historia de la humanidad y en la política mundial no es la pluralidad cultural sino el avance general de la modernización, cuyas expresiones institucionales son la democracia liberal y la economía de mercado. El conflicto actual no es parte de un choque entre civilizaciones en el sentido de que estemos ante zonas culturales de la misma importancia. Más bien, es sintomático de una acción de retaguardia por parte de quienes se sienten amenazados por la modernización y, por lo tanto, por su componente moral, el respeto a los derechos humanos.

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