Saudi national identity is key to the nation’s development

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I WISH our educational system and institutions would work with students to develop their sense of cultural belonging and Arabic language ability starting from early ages. As compared with older generations, our children nowadays, are lacking many basic Arabic language skills and a feeling of belonging to the culture of their homeland.

Globalization is a great way to modernize countries and one of its many advantages is foreign aid, but people and countries do not share the same costs and benefits of globalization. Economically globalization has led to inequality, developing countries are suffering as a result of their integration into the contemporary global capitalist system.

In the case of national identity and culture, globalization has transformed the national identity and twisted the sense of belonging, resulting in what is called global identity or a global citizen but with characteristics of Western culture. This may make people feel more united and allow them to share their similarities rather than their differences. However, on the other hand, people of each country must have a sense of belonging to their homeland and of feeling proud of their special differences.

Globalization not only affects economic aspects, it also deeply affects the structural and ideological sense of belonging and that is because of the free market, which contributes to the interconnection of the entire world. Another tool that globalization is using is the creation of international institutions that shape the interconnection between states with international cooperation.

For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in each nation state across the globe with the influence of United States has gained significant relevance as a representation of liberal democracy that establishes a Western globalization.

With the rise of technology and social networking, Western culture has become increasingly popular in each home. Nowadays, we may be in danger of losing the history, culture and heritage of our great religion and nation in Saudi Arabia.

Every day should feel the same as Saudi National Day. Globalization reduces people’s identification with their nation; we need to reinforce our willingness to develop in order to have a better future for Saudi Arabia, and that will never happen without reinforcing our history, culture and Arabic language in the educational curriculum.

I think that developing our national identity is key to developing our great nation. We can shape and preserve our national identity through literature, history, arts, culture, religion and traditions.

To maintain and develop our Saudi identity and sense of belonging, we should reduce the impact and effect of foreign cultures on our own culture and should take effective measures that enhance our own national identity in the educational system.

As Saudi citizens, we should support and encourage all national cultural activities. Every nation has its unique strong points that shape and form its national identity. Current and future generations need to develop a strong sense of belonging to their homeland and culture.

— The author is a Saudi political analyst specialized in International Relations. She can be reached at: ekleel.sallam@hotmail.com Twitter: @EkleelBS


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