Excerpt from Chapter 11. Values and Integrity

Posted: March 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Subchapter: Honour

For some cultural and ethnic groups, honour, reputation and saving face have exceedingly high value, often valued higher than life itself. Honour is sometimes defended with total disregard for the consequences. Western-culture does not value honour so highly, so from a Western-culture viewpoint, strong reactions for the sake of honour may seem irrational. As we build a better future all cultural interaction must be made with delicate consideration of these essential differences in the value of honour.

When people of high-honour cultures are dishonoured or humiliated (34) their reactions can be far in excess of what western-culture people can envisage. Just look around and see where people with high honour-values have been, or are being humiliated by western or other-culture nations. These people can carry the shame of dishonour for generations, sometimes spanning centuries. Eventually honour demands restitution.

Too often western-culture leaders grossly underestimate the deep and long-term hatred they invoke by humiliating and dishonouring the people of those cultures. Even overwhelming firepower is no defence against the long-term revenge obligations often associated with honour violations. Negotiations can only have a hope of success if the first agenda item is the restoration and preservation of honour. If this remains unresolved all subsequent negotiations are farcical.

In all cross-cultural dealings and actions it is imperative to ensure that honour is preserved (35). It is far better to be in surplus than in deficit in this regard.


34. Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies. What is Humiliation? Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies. [Online] 2009. [Cited: 02 Apr 2010.] http://www.humiliationstudies.org/whoweare/humiliationdefinition.php.

35. —. Eliminating Humiliation. Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies. [Online] 2003. [Cited: 02 Apr 2010.] http://www.humiliationstudies.org/whoweare/elimination.php.


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