World at a precipice

The current Israel-Hamas conflict has the potential to blow up the world like a nuclear-powder keg. We can’t call it a war because Palestinians are stateless, without any army to defend them or their borders. The current siege of Gaza is perhaps amongst the last nails in its coffin. The world watches impotently, as the noose tightens around its neck. Merciless bombing of Gaza is a reminder of ugly remnants of our medieval past. Our mask has come off, exposing our tribalistic disposition underneath. Our instinctive sense of vendetta and punitive retribution exposes our barbarism. We are plunging into an abyss.

Freedom of some is fighting against the freedom of others. Battle lines are drawn and plans for greater war are finalized.

Incompetent and corrupt politicians see war as a necessary evil to (a) boost their economies, (b) as a relief from their weakening political grounding, and (c) as a panacea to escape from numerous issues caused by their consistent inaction and lack of vision. This time, however, as the cat may be out of the bag, they are exposed to the world that expects a great deal from them but receives only disappointment in return. The world is a quagmire, or even a landmine, no one knows what lies ahead, as we sharpen our knives against one another.

Inherently, humans thrive on love, empathy and mutual care, while our economies feed on war and our leaders feed on power. Paradox! We undermine our very survival!

The Middle East conflict has ripped the world into several parts — some struggling to forge ahead and some regressing backward. The design architects of the conflict, in all probability, knew why and what they were doing. A reason could be the current Ukraine-Russia conflict, which, undoubtedly weakened the two prominent neighbours from the erstwhile Soviet Union era, but dragged on much longer than originally intended, perhaps, without meeting the core objectives of the designers despite much hype and fuel. Certainly, however, it exposed and deepened the pre-existing geo-political divisions, whilst creating new military axes in the process, shaping the blueprint of a great war ahead that may burn down the entire planet.

But we must never forsake hope. This has happened before, humans never change, even a Nazi would wear a suit and a tie. We turn into our worst tormentors. Our decadence always precedes our doom, and, at the end of each cycle, peace pervades, as reconstruction replaces ruins and rubble with glorious new edifices. Some of us rise from the ashes and some turn into ashes; some turn into gods and some into demons. What will be will be, history is never forgiving, nor are we humans. Only gods forgive!

An inconvenient truth!

Truth is inconvenient to those who amongst us refuse to listen to their conscience. Despite knowing what is true and what is wrong, e.g., in the current Middle East conflict, as well as in the other conflicts in our world, we tend to look away and meekly escape into a make-believe world, a cocoon of lies in reality, and blindfold ourselves to the root cause(s) of those conflicts.

Truth becomes a casualty in the world of poor and the oppressed. Human ignorance and gullibility are exploited cleverly against their holistic interest and, thus, prove to be their worst enemies. Those who beam out lies, cooked with their might and the influence of their ill-gotten wealth and an unrestrained power, using fake news on social media and false narratives produced by the AI, emerge as victors. They control the narrative and the public perspective.

What lies next in the pipeline after Ukraine-Russia, Azerbaijan-Armenia, Türkiye-Syria, and Israel-Hamas conflicts. Are we in the mid of something much bigger? Some know the answer!

At present, major capitalistic economies struggle to cope — for lack of vision and action — with the cost of living and unemployment, and issues related to inflation, housing, health, unplanned immigration and last, but not the least, the effects of the current Climate Change. Politicians need distractions from these seemingly unmanageable issues to strength their grip on power. This time, however, the genie may have jumped out of the bottle, the scriptwriters of the conflict may have perhaps bitten more than they could chew. The conflict has cost the major powers their moral authority or legitimacy, whatsoever, to ask one other to exercise restraint in similar conflicts — current or future. The weapons manufacturers and dealers do prosper out of these conflicts but may regret in the near future.

Facts remain unchanged but perspectives differ. Truth stands and repeats itself, lies need more lies and braces to stand. Prisoner and jailer remain enslaved to each other. Freeing others frees us from them.

Despite an overwhelming majority of good, hardworking people — likely in excess of 95-percent of the world population — the world is riddled with frequent, insidious wars and widespread human suffering. A privileged minority subjugates the rest, perhaps, because wrong people are elected to power, especially in flawed, authoritarian democracies.

Bible says: ‘When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.’ (Proverb 29:2). It adds: ‘When evil people are in power, crime increase. But the righteous will live to see the downfall of such people.’ (Proverb 29:16). Furthermore, it adds: ‘There is more hope for a stupid fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.’ (Proverb 29:20)

An abysmal state of the humanity.

Humanity has taken a backseat and being a human is not sufficient to be accepted, loved or looked after. Nationality, ethnicity and religious background define basic human rights. Practical definitions of the terms, such as just and good, are blurred and subjective in this ‘interest-based’ based, where morality and humanitarian values are no longer in vogue.

Power and money define the direction of the world, and ‘might’ continues to be ‘right’. We live in a hypocritical world and keep contradicting our slogans. Our world leadership, obsessed with power, deceive the very people who empower them.

Fake news, half-truths and fake narratives are strategically employed to doctor the public perceptions and engineer the outcomes of chronic discords. Incompetent present-day monarchs — conniving and corrupted by their insatiable lust for power and ambitions to achieve greatness but despised by most — face existential threats from the within and the opposition, and bring untold miseries, death and destruction to the world. Such morally corrupted monarchs prove to be lethal not only to their enemies but also to their own subjects and supporters.

Gullible voters are abused, misused and exploited in the name of religion and nationality by their megalomanic leaders, like Nero, who loot and impoverish their subjects, keep them hungry and jobless, and distract them with emotional false narratives and hollow nationalistic slogans. Politicians, who hijack their nations and hail themselves as great and whatever they like, are neither trusted nor liked by the masses.

Wise rulers, who are healthy mentally, morally, ethically and physically — neither discriminate between humans nor indulge in irrational, hasty, retaliatory, vindictive, selfish, unjustified or unpredictable acts, such as seen during the current Middle Erast conflict. They are remembered long after their departure.

Very few politicians walk their talk, most are hypocritic actors and many are despicably wolves in sheep’s clothing. As artful lying is an accepted behaviour in politics, sometimes brazenly, no one believes them. No wonder, the temperature is alarmingly high in the Middle East, and a pressure-cooker situation has developed, waiting to explode and spill across the planet.

The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.’ … George Bernard Shaw

Politics is a dirty word. Common people are frustrated. People can’t be fooled forever, although some may act stupid for political correctness.

Without benevolence, power leads to tyranny. Power from oppression is not sustainable. Money and muscle may work for a short time, but not for ever. Tears of the sufferers ultimately decimate the mighty oppressor.

What about the human lives?

For territorial gains and natural resources, there has not been a time when we did not viciously fight one another, we continue to do so, with greater ferocity and hate. Paradoxically, despite our scientific development, religion continues to play a dominant part in our psyche.

History will not deem us any wiser or more developed than our distant ancestors from the times of hunter-gatherers or cave dwellers. Despite being interconnected and interdependent, our world can be likened to a jungle where humans remain the most predatory, territorial and extremely dangerous beings.

With ease, we brand others as ‘terrorists’ but we don’t realize that, as we too terrorize others, we also risk being branded as terrorist by them; it takes two to tango. According to Dictionary, the term ‘terrorist’ is defined as: ‘A person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.’

Article 1 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nation, states: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.’

The United States Declaration of Independence states: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

We seem to have forgotten these decelerations. As fools, seemingly on autopilot, we keep repeating history. We sacrifice human lives to strengthen our grip on power, such as seen in the Middle East.  When wrong things happen anywhere in the world, it indeed becomes the business of all concerned humans to stop it from happening.

The current Middle East conflict should not have come as surprise to those who know the region’s violent history. It has certainly busted a myth about an unassailable Israel, one that prides itself as the smartest military power in the world but was found napping when attacked. But after that, can we tell our children that what it did in retaliation was very glorious or humane? It lost the opportunity to break a circuit and emerge as a great nation that stood for peace and reconciliation.  

Humans are territorial. When the territorial interests and aspirations — implicit or expressed — between neighbours clash due to their chronic misalignments and unresolved issues, such conflicts keep recurring. The weapon’s industry feeds on them.

The so-called ‘civilized’ world is committing horrendous crimes against humanity in Gaza. Such abominable rage, such despicable hate against the repressed, such unfounded fear of a peaceful coexistence! Horrendously, we don’t even spare the lives of children, women, sick and the elderly? How could the humans be imagined falling to such levels and kill people in hospitals, ambulances, schools and refugee camps, as well as scores of the UN officials and reporters? Appalling but true!

The world awaits with anguish with pain in the bosom and tears in the eyesto see the emergence of a benevolent powerful leader in the world who can save the remaining human lives in the region and outside of it.

Bill K Koul [5 November 2023, Perth, Western Australia]

Copyright © Bill K Koul

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