Governments should strengthen national identity amid globalization, academic says

The World Government Summit in Dubai is held at the Madinat Jumeirah. (AFP)
Updated 11 February 2019

Governments should strengthen national identity amid globalization, academic says

  • The professor pointed to the decline in the younger generations’ cultural and political identities
  • Another professor said humans are “tribal,” and that we are “hardwired to need to belong to a group”

DUBAI: Globalization has led to the weakening of national identity, according to an academic who called for governments to strengthen civic education, where citizens learn more about where they live, as well as their duties and responsibilities.

Historian and humanities professor at Columbia University Mark Lilla pointed to the decline in the younger generations’ cultural and political identities, saying globalization “has flattened the world’s cultural landscape.”

“Due to the internet culture, our children are much more alike than the people in this audience are alike, and this will become more and more the case with time,” he said at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

He said people are beginning to “feel like we are elementary particles floating in space, and not part of the narrative of one particular culture or country.”

Also speaking about identities, Yale law professor Amy Chua said humans are inherently “tribal,” and that we are “hardwired to need to belong to a group.”

But Chua warned against “political tribalism,” where “members (of a group) start seeing everything through the lens of their respective groups with disregard to facts.”

She said multi-ethnic nations, such as those in Middle East, should aspire to become a “super group,” where there is strong national identity among citizens, while sub-groups are allowed to flourish.


Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

A woman holds a sign during a protest against the execution of Rodney Reed on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Bastrop, Texas. (AP)
Updated 17 November 2019

Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

  • Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed

WASHINGTON: A Texas appeals court has suspended the execution of convicted murderer Rodney Reed — who has long claimed his innocence — in a case that has attracted widespread public attention and a celebrity-backed campaign.
Reed, a 51-year-old African-American, was sentenced to death in 1998 after being convicted by an all-white jury of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites, a 19-year-old white woman.
His execution by lethal injection had been set for November 20, but Reed says he did not commit the crime, and his lawyers and supporters say that evidence proves he is innocent.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles announced on Friday that it had “voted unanimously to recommend the governor grant a 120-day reprieve” to Reed, who had appealed for clemency.
The state appeals court then halted the execution later in the evening.
Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed.
Kardashian said on social media she was with Reed when he received news about the reprieve.
Although traces of Reed’s DNA were found in the victim, he has always maintained that he and Stites were secretly having an affair.
Reed’s lawyers say that evidence obtained after the trial points to another suspect — the victim’s fiance, Jimmy Fennell, a former policeman who later served a 10-year prison sentence for another rape.
“The strong evidence exonerating Mr.Reed and implicating Fennell continues to mount,” the lawyers wrote in the clemency petition lodged with the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott.
In the clemency request, they included a testimonial from a former co-worker of the victim who confirmed the affair.
According to another affidavit, a former prison inmate said he heard Fennell brag during a prison yard conversation about committing the murder.
Fennell has denied involvement in Stites’ murder.
The Texas board declined Reed’s request to downgrade his sentence.
His lawyers also have filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, seeking a stay of execution.