The world was not designed by the creator to be a monolithic entity - one culture, one faith, one civilisation. In that case, how dull, colourless and monotonous that world would be Variety and diversity are the imaginative ingredients that the planet called 'Earth' is endowed with. It is the dignity of diversity, which is the quintessential value of human existence, which differentiates people and yet all are woven into the common bond of humanity. The two dialectic forces - homogenisation and hetrogenisation - are operating simultaneously, one integrating the people through a 'paradigm of globalisation' and the other towards 'pluralism' which strives for distinct identities. It is in the dynamics of these two forces of assimilation and differentiation, that life becomes so attractive and meaningful. Francois Julian the Director of the Institute for Studies of Contemporary Thoughts of France, has written a very profound article titled: Respect Cultural Diversity published in Foreign Affairs Journal, April 2008 of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs. His article would not have been so inspiring and intellectually rich if the author would not have had the opportunities to interact, as a representative of Europe to his counterparts in China. The whole perspective changes, when the reality of cultural pluralism comes to be accepted as a necessary adjunct to human existence. In his own words: "Cultural pluralism is one of the biggest discoveries we, meaning you and us, the Chinese and European made in the last century. Because, before we met, we both thought our respective culture was the culture, we failed to realise that we had contemplated on questions or formed concepts from a certain historical perspective or on the basis of an individual language. European philosophers believed that they were the first to pose questions without ever thinking that their questions had biased implications. When fissures incidentally appeared among ethnocentric theories not long ago as a result of mutual pressure, we discovered that after all we are the subjects of cultures." A European is European, because he has been conditioned to think that way. If he were born, say in China, his perspective would have been different. This realisation can never come unless one interacts with other cultures. It is a unique awareness that comes through understanding. Why a culture is what it is? Through a historical process, it is drummed into ears that Europe is superior to others. As a typical British colonialist, Rudard Kipling gave an ethnocentric view in his famous poetic expression: "East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet." The reality is that globalisation is robbing cultures of their distinctive identities and uniqueness. Not only are the physical resources of the world being exhausted, but our cultures are facing a similar predicament. There ought to be a balance between the forces of integration and of cultural variations, which is absolutely necessary for reflecting the global richness. One can study human personality from three perspectives. In one sense, all human beings are alike as they all have needs for survival - what is termed as 'human nature'. In the other category, one can say that some groups or the people of a country have common characteristics called 'national character'. In the third sense, no two individuals are alike, having the same traits and temperament, i.e., the 'psychology of individual differences'. So is the case with cultures. The proponents of "my culture" approach have a blind spot of the perspectives, other cultures have. This xenophobia is the root of hostilities and hatreds among civilisations which are conglomeration of several cultures, having a common perspective. In Europe, for example, 'human rights' - the much trumpeted values, are the result of historical conditions, as mentioned by Julian that the 17th century philosopher Hobbes who propounded that liberty was the fundamental right and later Locke was the advocator of the right to work and ownership and Rousseau, who believed that man was born free, but everywhere he was in chains. In fact the human child is the most dependent of all creatures without which it cannot survive. Freedom is the attainment, as one matures and grows up. No perpetual dependent individuals or nations ever grow. "The emergence and development of human rights" according to Julian, "are related to European bourgeois administration for individualism and their adoration of social contract and the Happiness Theory as the ultimate goals of human beings." Max Weber, was the proponent of the idea that 'individualism' derivative of Protestant Faith, led to the development of Capitalism. The menace of individual greed and rapacity are the outcomes of capitalistic society. The obsession of western civilisation on hedonistic consumerism, and putting 'self' above others is a malady. Late Kurt Lewin, a very comprehensive social scientist, a migrant from Germany to USA, expresses it very succinctly: "The American cultural ideal of the self made of every one standing on his own feet is as tragic a picture, as the initiative destroying dependence on a benevolent despot we all need each other. This type of interdependence is the greatest challenge to the making of group and group functioning." A sense of 'togetherness' has a dynamism which makes a culture become richer. This is the basic notion of Islam that people (Alna's) are the motor of change, not an individual, his birth or heritage or whatever. Universalism is a part of being. It is logical and a scientific consciousness, unlike cheap conformity, which is based on infantile imitation. The great Chinese philosopher Mencius said: "If a person, no matter, who he is, finds that a child is about to fall into a well, he will reach his hand out to save the child. This gesture is completely spontaneous, because we have to lend a helping hand under that circumstances. If he does not react that way he is not a human being." Respect for humanity and dignity of individuals as 'equals' is a fundamental value in Islam. The Holy Prophet's (PBUH) sermon on the occasion of the last pilgrimage, is comprehensive Charter of Human Rights, what has been proclaimed by UN on December 10, 1948, was guaranteed 1400 years back. R C Reddy remarks: "The age long problems of racial quality has not been solved by any system of religion or ethics except Mohammadism. In every other polity or religion, reason, ethics and spiritual ideas have been broken on the rock of race or colour." Tolerance, respect for all faiths is the hallmark of Islam. There is no radicalism, extremism and 'terrorism' in Islam. In USA, the leader of the South Carolina (State Chapter) National Association for the advancement of coloured people - Lonnie Randal, welcomed some of the universities like Christian University, Colombia for apologising their racist policy of not admitting black students until 1997. The interracial dating was banned till March 2000. She said: "It is unfortunate it took them this long particularly the religious and faith based institutions - to realise that we are all human beings and the rights of all people should be respected and honoured." Obama became the first black President of USA, as atonement for the sins committed by the fanatic Christians. Truth ultimately prevails. A well-educated and gifted lady Ms Jameela, an America Jew, when converted to Islam said: "Only in Islam was my quest for absolute values satisfied. Only in Islam did I at last found all that was true, good and beautiful and which gives meaning and direction to human life and death..." (Islam our Choice, Begum Aisha Bawani Trust). UK Chief Rabi Dr Jonathan Sacks very critical of Israeli occupation of Palestine said: "Here are things that are happening on a daily basis which makes me feel very uncomfortable as a Jew." He further said, that he was 'profoundly shocked by reports of smiling soldiers posing for a photograph with the corps of a slain Palestinian. (EIR Vol 29 No. 34 Sep 2002). The xenophobic view of culture was propagated by Samuel Huntington in his Clash of Civilisations, a purely myopic and prejudicial view and true dialogue changes perceptions, promoting tolerance and understanding. We should all talk to each other, irrespective of what faith and culture we belong to, and not at each other. Remember Deng Xiaoping's famous proclamation: Emancipate the mind, seek truth from facts and unite as one in looking to the future." That is the message for humanity: 'unite with diversity'. The writer is a political analyst E-mail: fr786pak@isb.comsats.net.pk