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1.0 Wars and Climate Change: National Interests Verses Global Emergency
Subject: Article Submission: "Humanity At Crossroads: Attitudes And Climate Change"
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2008 12:59:20 ķˇ¯
From: "Abdul Basit" firstname.lastname@example.org
To: "Spiritual Leader of the Global Community" email@example.com
Hope you are fine and going well. It has been long since we communicated as I was busy with some personal matters.
I am forwarding my latest article "Humanity At Crossroads: Attitudes And Climate Change" below for your kind consideration. Please go through the article and post it in your website, if you find the issues raised in the article as relevent. Also provide your feedback about this article.
Waitng for your feedback and update.
With kind regards
Humanity At Crossroads: Attitudes And Climate Change
The huge commotion, wide ranging research and intellectual discussions about the collapse of the civilization due to climate change has created apprehension and confusion about the directions humanity should take to overcome the challenges to its existence. The variety of solutions recommended range from technological fantasies to pessimistic resignation about the complete destruction of humanity. The solutions also include invading new planets, as well as constructing polar cities and Noah's model of ark, to sustain life on earth. Most of the solutions are based on the assumption of total collapse, along with the end of civilization and human existence.
Despite these thought-provoking discussions about the influence of climate change on human existence and the solutions to tackle it, we are nearing, as time passes, the verge of a major disaster and the options for solutions are declining. The increasing natural calamities, the concern about the tipping points due to further carbon emissions and its effects on the habitability on earth have created great concerns.
The recent report by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has mentioned that the rate of climate warming over northern Alaska, Canada and Russia could more than triple during the periods of rapid sea ice loss. This has raised concerns about the thawing of permafrost resulting in potential consequences for sensitive ecosystems, human infrastructure and additional release of greenhouse gases. According to IPCC Chairman, Mr. Rajendra Pachauri, "If there is no action before 2012, that's too late. What we do in the next two or three years will determine our future."
Moreover, to aggravate the already precarious situation, the recent global recession starting with mortgage crises in the US, the worldwide fall in share markets, the plunging value of currencies and the rising prices of fossil fuels have all created great uncertainty and concern about bankruptcy and serious economic consequences on society. This has also resulted in the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots.
The depleting natural resources, including water and agricultural yield that are essential to sustain life, have resulted in rising food prices, poverty, inflation, refugee crises and food riots in many countries. The knee-jerk reaction to counter climate change that has resulted in many countries investing large portions of land for biofuel cultivation has also influenced the global food crises and price rise. The reducing carrying-capacity of earth due to rising population and over exploitation of the natural resources due to capitalist model of economic development and consumer culture have also added to the crises. The unrestricted profit-driven lust of multinational companies and corporations notwithstanding the pollution and damage caused to air, water and land by their activities has also added to the crises.
The arrogant policies of the world's sole superpower and uncertain political atmosphere in the International Arena, the resulting wars in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and the looming war against Iran have affected societies and environments around the world. This policy of economic exploitation and military subjugation of weaker nations by the powerful nations with the assistance of international organizations have created lots of inequalities and conflicts.
Deteriorating relationship between the different religious, racial and ideological communities, as well as the growing social fragmentation and sectarian divisions in different parts of the world, have resulted in civil wars, violence and social unrest. The controversy created by Danish cartoons and the movie by Wilders in the name of freedom of expression and the counter reactions from the Islamic world have created further hatred and suspicions among different religious communities.
Taking into consideration the above factors and in spite of the ever growing deterioration to the habitability of earth due to climate change and its consequences on the existence of humankind, the action to counter the crises have not yet started due to the concepts and attitudes that are prevalent in the modern society, such as the competition and hatred that influence the relationship between individuals, societies and nations.
The important question is that, if all these incidents are signaling the gathering storm that will indeed lead to the collapse of civilization and in turn the end of human existence on this planet, what are the obstacles that are hindering actions to confront this crises?
Attitudes and Climate Change
Once we explore in-depth into the present predicament, we realize that all the problems mentioned above are interrelated. And the fundamental reasons for these problems and inertia for taking actions to counter climate change are due to the human attitude and concepts that have in turn influenced his relation with nature.
The pollution and climatic changes that we see in the environment are due to the human actions since the industrial revolution. The fundamental outlook about life, the materialistic ideologies that influenced the thought process, western concepts of economic development, the individual conditioning through the education system, influence of the prevalent money oriented mind-set on the society, the fascinating scientific and technological strides that changed the way of life and improved standard of living have all played a major role in evolving the human attitude. Due to these reasons, over-exploitation of nature and natural resources were considered as means to attain economic and individual prosperity without any consideration to the well being of the environment. The blessings bestowed by nature were considered to be unlimited that will never get exhausted. This attitude resulted in the climate crises that we are facing.
The consumerist lifestyle, competition and fragmentation that are the products of capitalism influenced individual, social and national life. These influences, along with overexploitation of the resources, resulted in chaos, hatred and wars that negatively impacted humanity and nature alike.
To sum up, we can conclude that the various forms of pollution, climatic changes and many of the crises faced by the humanity are due to the pollution that was embedded into the human mind by the western materialistic ideologies. Even though with scientific and technological progress humanity was able to control the air, land and oceans, as well as conquer far off planets, it failed to control its own mind set and thought processes that, while the source of many wonderful scientific and technological inventions, created many negative traits that infected our society. As a result, these advancements were used in creating hatred and consumer culture. They also were used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction and enhancing the overexploitation of natural resources and polluting environment. This is the basic reason for the present predicament humanity is facing. If we have to change, the change must come in the mind set within ourselves. The solution to climate crises requires lots of sacrifices in our lifestyle and consumerist culture. The attitudinal changes that affected different sections of the society can be classified as follows:
Due to the transformation in the individual outlook of life and economic prosperity of 20th century and especially after the end of cold war and the influence of the capitalism, globalization, consumerist model of life, economic activities became a way of life instead of means of sustenance,. The technological advancement and improvement in the standard of living provided opportunities and, at the same time, enhanced the economic activities of the individuals for improving the standard of life and attaining those opportunities.
Meanwhile, economic activities got preference over other activities. Creativity and spirituality got sidelined and were degraded to serve as tools for attaining monetary and material benefits. The career oriented education system further ensured the belief and commitment to these economic activities. The perspective of life that developed through this education system and resulting social setup are some of the major reasons for the present predicament. What has been hitherto taught from preliminary schooling onwards is the methods of moneymaking and attainment of material benefits as aims of life, irrespective of the effect of our activities on the earth and its environment.
This dominant perception that the hectic pursuits and desire for monetary and material earnings are the basic aim of life is the root cause for all problems and is the greatest hindrance to any actions to counter the consequences of climate change. This perception is also the main reason for the failure of world leaders in convincing their citizens to make hard, unpopular decisions to implement policies to reduce carbon emission in order to counter climate change. We cannot expect the required actions and reforms from leaders like George Bush, who are part of this dominant mentality and who are in no way willing to sacrifice the so-called economic growth in order to take measures to reduce carbon emission and dependence on fossil fuel.
So if we have to find solution to the pressing problems facing humanity, it is binding on us to create a right perspective of life. To confront the dominant materialistic mentality, we have to find answers to some fundamental questions about life and create the right perspective about the basic concept and attitude of life on this planet. As a transit point between birth and death, what should be the aim of individuals on this planet? Is our existence on this planet only for the aggressive pursuit of material benefits with disregard to the nature and other co-species? Or do we have something beyond materialistic pursuit that will provide the true fulfillment and meaning to our life? As the consumerist competition and the fragmentation in the society have created all-round suffering to humanity and environment, what is the true path and method of sustainable development that will rescue the humanity from the present crises?
Social & National Level
Due to the lack of time and the magnitude of crises that is to be addressed, we don't have the time and resources to wait for the benevolence of every individual to reform in order to implement measures and policies to counter climate change. So, it is essential that the communities and governments frame and implement policies to regulate the individual's consumerist lifestyle and their consumption habits. By this, it does not infer that we install an autocratic regime to implement totalitarian policies. As the magnitude of the crises involves the very existence of human race, it is essential that we sacrifice and regulate most of our comforts to reduce carbon emissions and its impact on the climate. This is essential for sustaining human existence and for the well being of the future generations. The governments and community leaders have a major role to play in this regard. Yet the question remains as to whether they have a vision and resolve to take the required measures.
Moreover, we have to address the attitudes that have/are influencing societies and governments. As the influence of capitalism has been omnipresent and omnipotent, it has not left any part of human activity or human society untouched. While individuals were trained and conditioned to materialistic lifestyle, the governments played their part by modifying the social structure and by installing profit-driven materialistic system and propagating consumerist lifestyle. The success of communities and nations depended upon how far they exploited nature and cleared forests to construct multiple lane highways, industrial parks and high rise skyscrapers. The economic growth depended upon the amount of pollution released in the atmosphere by ever increasing number of factories and power stations. Nations had to pollute the environment to alleviate poverty and for economic and social development. The recent economic growth of emerging giants like China and India and their increased pollution and emission proves that the economic development is directly proportional to pollution and environmental degradation. The farmlands and forests were converted to concrete jungles. We polluted air, water and agricultural land that are essential for basic existence to manufacture secondary and luxury products. And despite the damage of these industries on nature, we are in no mood to sacrifice. The choice now in front of us is between the whether we are willing to sacrifice all these comforts, gadgets and automobiles for the sake of our very existence or to not do so. The future of humanity depends upon how far we regulate our consumerism and change our lifestyle.
Taking into account the seriousness of the situation, governments and community leaders should overhaul their policies and restructure the societies in order to reduce carbon emissions. The delaying tactics like the decision at the G-8 conference in which they decided to reduce carbon emission by fifty percent by 2050 will not help the humanity in any way. As Al Gore mentioned, we have to have ZERO carbon economy within ten years to counter the serious climatic fluctuations. Yet contrary to this, what we see is the ever increasing demand for fossil fuels, further exploration in the Arctic locations for crude oil by US, Russia, Canada, Norway and Denmark, along with growing industrialization. So the question remains about the path that we can take to reduce carbon emission.
A sustainable system of economic development can only be attained if we get rid of the materialistic economic system and replace consumerism, materialism and fragmentation to instead build a society based on simplicity, cooperation and mutual understanding. We have to reassess our goals and means of individual fulfillment with more emphasis to creativity and spirituality over economic activities. This reassessment is especially important to address the serious issues of climate change, especially at a time when reports have hinted that many species are becoming extinct every day and the ice cap of the North Pole will disappear very soon.
Beyond technological solutions, the only alternative is to conduct comprehensive awareness about the importance of taking austerity measures and change in lifestyle. This should be followed by implementing policies to regulate economic activities and consumerist lifestyle.
Hatred & The freedom to Extinction
The hatred and conflicts that have influenced the relationships between individuals, societies and nations comprise one of the major obstacles in addressing the crises faced by humanity. Even though, most of the world leaders and International organizations are aware of the climate crises, instead of addressing the issues, their attention is diverted to conflicts and petty disputes that have inflicted irreparable damage to our societies and nations.
While consumerism and materialistic competition has influenced relationship between individuals, the ideological, racial, religious and national interests have created strife between nations and social groups. Although these divisive conflicts dates back to the origin of human existence, the major conflicts, including the two world wars, the cold war of the last century and the recent wars in the Middle East have had a devastating affect on the environment and societies.
The wars and conflicts, especially of the last two centuries, are one of the major reasons for the current predicament of humanity. Along with aggressive economic development, nations enhanced their national identity by subjugating other nations through wars and sanctions. Major share of the national budgets of many countries are invested on defense and for manufacturing WMD and arms race to exhibit their national power. The September eleventh incident and many following incidents prove about how the world will suffer if the national pride of a powerful nation state gets tarnished.
Yet with looming crises of climate change and the new challenges we face, the important question is can we continue to face the challenges to our existence by emphasizing on national and religious identity? Can we address the climatic crises by addressing ourselves as Americans, Arabs, Israelis, Iranians and so on or as Christians, Muslims, Jews? Or should we create a united front above all national and religious confine to address and confront the burning issues that humanity as a whole is facing? Do the national and racial identities have any relevance or meaning while the very existence of humanity is at stake?
The attitudinal change about the stress on national, racial and religious identities and the resulting tensions has led to many conflicts and social chaos. If we want to overcome the challenges, it is highly essential to create a united front to end these conflicts so that we can concentrate our resources and energy in countering climate change. Otherwise we will see great contradictions in the international arena, where, on the one hand, G-8 conference decides to reduce carbon emissions by fifty percent and, on the other hand, some nations like Iran and Israel are preparing for new round of dangerous conflicts by conducting military rehearsals and missile tests.
While the arrangements between nation states are deteriorating towards more conflicts, there is a meaningless attempt to complicate relations, as well as create tensions and hatred between different religious groups, in the name of freedom of expression. The cartoons that came in the Dutch newspapers about the prophet of Islam to provoke the Muslim community and the reactions from the Muslim countries are a matter of great concern. These so called apostles of freedom of expression and religious bigots are inflaming the already self-consuming hatred. These hate mongers are in fact enemies of humanity and are ensuring the extinction of humanity. Their activities are diverting attention from the serious issues and creating strife among communities, which will only further complicate and create hindrance in finding solutions to climate crises and lead us to the route to extinction.
The unity of different religious communities including Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus are essential to address the serious issues affecting humanity. It must develop now.
The world is closely watching the American elections after experiencing one of the most disastrous administrations in the history of American and world politics. The extensive damage caused by the eight years of misrule by the Bush administration has not only worsened the situation of the American people and shaken the very foundation of American nation, but it has also caused sufferings to people of different countries much beyond its borders, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. The so-called war on terrorism has only created insecurity and tension.
As the sole superpower, whose policies and actions have influenced and affected the societies and nations world over, the major responsibility for changing the attitudes and policies of consumerist lifestyle and the capitalist culture that has been propagated through globalization lay in the shoulder of the American people and the leaders they elect. This is obvious.
So, taking into account the different aspects of the current crises, including environmental, economic, conflicts, and other related crises, it is important how the next President of the United States addresses these issues. Despite the adverse and supportive comments about Barack Obama, can he deliver on his promise for change? Can he unite the International community and address the serious challenges faced by climate change? Can Obama end the hatred and assorted strife that have affected the relationship between nations and religious societies? Can he unite the world to address the serious challenges to everyone's existence?
The Role of International Organizations
The international organizations have a major role to play in creating awareness about the serious consequences due to climate change and helping national governments in framing policies to reduce carbon emission, as well as to regulate the consumerist lifestyles in the societies. In order to play a neutral and proactive role, they should also overcome the dominance of the interests of certain superpowers and address the core issue of guiding humanity through these existential crises.
The double standards on certain issues due to permanence of some nations in the Security Council have negatively affected the image of the international organizations. These organizations can no longer act as agents of superpowers in that they must take a major role in saving humanity from the climate crisis. The world body, including organizations like the United Nations, should represent the interests of all the nations and reduce conflicts between nations and religious communities, as well as play a mediatory role on the basis of justice for all. Preventing conflicts, reducing strife and friction between nations, along with enhancing relations based on mutual understanding between religious communities is essential and uniting them to face the challenges of our time are some of the important functions that the UN and other influential groups have to take up as a central responsibility. Along with that, the UN, through the IPCC, can provide information and policy guidance to counter climate change, provide encouragement towards creation of zero-carbon emission and pose ways to develop sustainable and eco friendly economies for its member nations. Most important of all, it can compel nations to take speedy measures before it is too late.
The Future of Humanity
Our generation has been the most pampered in the history of human kind due to technological and scientific developments, along with new inventions, that improved productivity and lifestyle. And this same generation has been assigned the defining task of sustaining life on this planet.
Humanity is at crossroads. Gone are the days of extravaganza due to the unlimited supply of natural resources from nature and the habitable and comfortable climate that we had taken for granted. If we continue with the same attitudes and policies that we hitherto followed we are on the road to self-destruction.
If we change our attitudes, lifestyle and policies to take necessary measures in order to create a society based on equality, sustainable development and peace, we still have the chance to maintain life on this planet. Beyond superficial steps, we need a total change to face the challenges of climate change. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri had recently advised the world to change lifestyle by implementing certain measures, including riding a bike and being a frugal shopper in order to help brake global warming. It is about time that the world takes immediate steps to bring this huge profit driven capitalist system to a grinding halt and peddle our way back to a bright and sustainable future.
-- Abdul Basit
Subject: Article Submission “WE TOO HAVE A DREAM (An open letter to President-Elect Barack Obama)”
Date: Wed, 05 Nov 2008 10:19:00 +0300
From: Abdul Basit firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Spiritual Leader of the Global Community email@example.com
Hope you are fine and all is well.
I am forwarding my latest article "WE TOO HAVE A DREAM (An open letter to President-Elect Barack Obama)" below for your kind consideration. Please go through the article and post it in your website, if you find the issues raised in the article as relevant. Also provide your feedback about this article.
Waitng for your feedback and update.
With kind regards
WE TOO HAVE A DREAM (An open letter to President-Elect Barack Obama)
Dear Mr. President-Elect, Barack Obama,
First of all, let me convey my heartiest congratulation to you on your election as the President of the United States of America.
I consider your election as President of United States of America as a miracle in itself. Born as the son of a Kenyan man and a white woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, through hard work and perseverance today you have become the President of United States of America. Unlike most of your predecessors, your humble background and past experience including your work as community leader will surely provide a different perspective about the reality from the grassroots level. Taking into consideration the path you treaded to reach the pinnacle of power, I surely believe that it is not without a purpose, particularly as you campaigned and got elected on the platform of 'Change'. I only hope that this purpose is for the well being of humanity as a whole. In fact, your election as the President of USA has suddenly brightened the image of your country and hope you enhance this expectation with the right policies that will unite humanity.
Secondly, you have come to power at a time when the United States of America is facing major financial, political and social crises with its very existence and reputation as the sole superpower at stake. The main reason for this is the eight years of misrule by outgoing President Mr. George W. Bush. In fact, it was the Dark Age in the history of the United States of America. As you mentioned in your acceptance speech in Denver, Americans didn't want to see the extension of this Dark Age for another four years. So, change was not an option, but a necessity because if the same policies pursued by your predecessors are continued any longer, it would have consequences on the very foundation of the American Nation. That is why the American people and the world have responded to your call for change and entrusted this prestigious position upon you.
The hatred and crises that the Bush Administration created through misrule and aggressive foreign policy are far reaching and beyond conceiving. The knee-jerk and immature reaction to the September 11th incident and the following invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of war on terrorism, not only had an affect on the societies of the invaded countries, but also had negative impact on the image of American nation globally with consequences to its social stability and economy.
In contrast, your background and down to earth speech during the election campaigns, created a glimmer of hope about the different path you might take from the previous administrations in tackling burning issues that will affect the American society and the world alike.
The main reason for writing this letter is to invite your attention to some burning issues that the previous administrations failed to tackle resulting in present predicament your country is facing especially related to foreign policy and the reputation of your country among the comity of nations.
Middle East Crises
During the election campaign you had explicitly stated your policies on Iraq and Iran. You had expressed your keen desire to withdraw the American forces at the earliest from Iraq and also expressed your desire to have a direct dialogue with President Ahmedinejad of Iran to settle the nuclear dispute. But with respect to the Arab-Israeli conflict and War on Terrorism, you seemed to follow the same course pursued by the previous administrations.
The Arab-Israeli conflict has been the central issue that has influenced the US foreign policy for the last 60 years and can be rightly considered as the mother of all tribulations. Most of the conflicts and hostilities particularly in the Middle East region during second half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century have their roots in this crisis. This conflict including the question of Palestinian self-determination have directly or indirectly ignited other conflicts including the Lebanon crises, the war on terrorism, invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent two Gulf Wars, the deteriorating relationship with Iran and emerging nuclear showdown. This has also preoccupied the successive US presidents and will continue to haunt your presidency. In fact, the Middle East crisis has engulfed the whole world including the very stability of United States. This crisis has also deteriorated the relations between the communities of three major religions, namely Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities. If this issue remains unresolved it will not only further destabilize the relationship between the Palestinian and Jewish societies, but will also have negative effect on the American nation.
The question is why has it remained unresolved and smoldering for last many decades?
The main reason for the complexity in finding solution to the Palestinian crises is because of the lopsided solutions put forward by previous administrations as a result of the undue influence of certain religious lobby, vote-bank politics and internal political compulsion. This unwarranted influence and compulsions have blinded the successive administrations to the reality and hindered and misguided their effort in resolving this conflict. Instead, the policies of these administrations only created more mistrust and tensions between Palestinian and Israeli community. The punishment and sanctions that is being imposed on Gaza Strip by the same apostles of democracy who are hell-bent on installing democratic governments in the Middle East, because the Palestinian people utilized their legal democratic right of electing the Hamas government, proves the contradiction of the US foreign policy. The cataclysmic human and material sufferings inflicted by the Israeli regime on the people of Gaza strip with the endorsement and support of the Mahmood Abbas and the Bush Administration, have only created more dissent and violence.
This unresolved crisis had ignited many new conflicts that have spread globally resulting in far- reaching consequences much beyond the borders of the Middle East region. If you want to make a difference from your predecessors and find solution to this crisis, you have to be bold enough to tread a different approach and overcome the internal compulsion and undue influence of these religious lobbies and address the issue based on justice for all and appeasement of none. The solution to crisis is important for world peace and well being and good relationship between Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities worldwide.
War on Terrorism
The war on terrorism pursued by the Bush Administration after the September 11th incident have in fact inflamed and further aggravated the already complicated relationship between nations and religious communities. Instead of addressing the basic reasons that have led to the growth of terrorism, the American administrations under George W. Bush only added fuel to the fire by aggressively pursuing arrogant policies that led to the growth of terrorism.
What are the reasons for the genesis of terrorism?
The most basic reason as mentioned earlier is the worsening situations in the Middle East and other occupied regions like Afghanistan. As stated earlier, the persecution and brutality imposed on the Palestinian people by the Israeli army for the last many decades, which has resulted in shattered lives and broken dreams, has been the impetus and motivation for the growth of terrorism. To grasp the magnitude of the brutality meted on the Palestinians, we must view the facts from the position of the subjugated instead of viewing it from that of the oppressor. Instead of solving this crisis, the previous American administrations especially that of the George W. Bush spread this brutality in the name of War on Terrorism across the region to other countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and other Arab, Asian countries and created anti-Muslim hatred in Europe and Americas.
Here, I would like to invite your attention to a young American girl Rachel Corrie, from Olympia, Washington who sacrificed her life by being crushed to death by the Israeli military bulldozer near Gaza on March 16, 2003 (few days before George Bush's "Shock and Awe" in Iraq) while preventing the demolition of house of Palestinian family near Gaza. By her ultimate sacrifice, this young girl was not only preventing the brutality of Israeli military bull-dozers. She was showing the world the original reason for growth of terrorism. In the emails that she sent to her parents she mentions the gravity of the situation in Gaza. While referring about the children of Gaza, she wrote "I don't know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I'm not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere." This is the gruesome reality that this young American girl realized and the leaders of her nation failed to realize.
The warnings of important personalities like Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu and Javier Solana about the situation in Gaza went on deaf ears and International community remained silent and complacent. Instead they spread the persecution to other countries including Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of war on terrorism..
How can you expect generosity and non-violence from Palestinian people when 1.5 million Palestinians suffer from starvation, thirst, pollution, lack of medicine and while fuel and electricity supplies are cut off due to the unilateral sanctions imposed by Israel, thus creating the largest concentration camp in the history of mankind? How can they forgive the powers that demolished their houses upon them, killed their parents, sisters and also young children on their way to school? These actions of the Israeli army and the US military that have shattered lives, resulted in lose of loved ones and destroyed houses have created apprehension and a realization that they will never get any justice, security and peace in their life. It is this hopelessness and despair that have misguided and motivated some youths to extremism and terrorism. Although these ill-advised and unforgivable actions by the terrorists should be condemned at the strongest terms, it can be only prevented when the state terrorism pursued by Israel and the previous administrations of your country ends.
The American military might and their tanks, missiles, Apaches and drones that bomb and kill innocent people, shatter the lives, and destroy the houses and infrastructure, cannot help in winning the War on terrorism. Instead they will only ignite further hatred and create a fertile ground for new recruits for terrorism.
It is high time to reassess the strategy that has been hitherto pursued by the previous administrations, as it has been a major failure. The War on Terrorism can only be won by winning the hearts and minds of the people of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
As an initial step, as you promised during the election campaign, you must withdraw your army not only from Iraq and Afghanistan but must also advice your ally Israel to withdraw the sanctions imposed on the Palestinian people and return the occupied lands. Israel may have the right for self-defense, but denying the right of self-determination and the basic human rights of the Palestinian masses cannot attain it. Measures also must be taken to rebuild the lives of the people who have been shattered by the brutalities of the American and Israeli military and help them regain confidence and hope of a brighter future.
Meeting Between Extremes
Along with the above measures, contrary to the Bush- Cheney approach to diplomacy that refuses to talk to leaders whom they don't like, instead of opting for war, we should engage in dialogues and peaceful negotiations as the ONLY option to settle the disputes and to prevent future wars. The wars during the second half of the 20th Century and beginning of this century have already created a heavy toll on the humanity and environment that resulted in the consequences on the habitability of earth. Whether it is the nuclear issue with Iran, the sectarian issues with Iraq, The Fatah- Hamas dispute, Al-Qaeda question, the clash between Taliban and Afghan government, can only be solved in the drawing rooms instead of battlefields.
So I request that you not only pursue the path of dialogue between the hardcore enemies of your nation including Taliban and Al-Qaeda. I also request you to play a pro-active role in facilitating dialogue between Iran and Israel, Hamas and Israel, Hamas and Fatah and also between the Taliban and Afghan Government. There has already been glimmer of hope in this direction with the willingness of Pakistan and Afghanistan Government to negotiate with Taliban and the important role-played by Saudi Government in this regard.
Destroy Enmity, Not the Enemy
The fundamental reason for the arrogant foreign policies pursued by the previous administration with the support of its allies was the concept of pre-emptive strike to destroy the enemies to ensure the security of the United States without frustrating the peaceful and diplomatic options.
Contrary to Bush-Cheney policy of destroying the enemy, what we need is to destroy the enmity and antagonism that has negatively effected relations between nations, racial and religious communities. This enmity has and hatred has been the root cause for the irrational, unbalanced and self-destructive policies pursued the previous administration.
The subjugation and economic exploitation of weaker nations by the powerful nations with the support of international organizations has created lots of inequalities and conflicts. Along with this, the worsening relationship between the different religious, racial and ideological communities, as well as the growing social fragmentation and sectarian divisions in different parts of the world, have resulted in civil wars, violence and social unrest. There is a great deal of fragmentation, hatred and intolerance at the individual, social, religious and national level that has had an affect on all the sectors of the society. The sectarian violence in Iraq, the anti-Muslim feelings that are widespread in America and Europe, the Danish cartoon controversy, the communal violence, bomb blasts and fake encounters on minority communities in India, the hate campaign and worsening relations between religious communities; shows the gravity of the situation. This hatred and intolerance was also rampant during your election campaign when opposing candidates accused you of your Muslim background and the pains you had to take to prove otherwise. As Collin Powell asked, is it a sin to be a Muslim or Afro-American? Instead of confronting these powers of bigotry, what we see is the apologetic reaction from the people who are being accused as if they have committed a major sin by being born in a particular race or religious community.
As you got campaigned and elected on the theme of "change", if your administration wants to play the historical role of implementing changes and if you want the term of your administration to be different from the previous administrations, you will have to address these issues and change attitudes and mentality.
Towards Inter-National and Inter-Religious Integration
The recent financial crises and climate change crises that had repercussions on all countries and continents have emphatically proved that we as humanity have a common destiny. No country can live as an oasis of affluence while the other parts of the world suffer from hunger and poverty. Moreover, no part of this planet will escape the consequences of climate change including natural calamities, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, droughts, floods, forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, extinction of many animal and plant species, depleting water resources and reduced output of agricultural yield. It is high time that we organize beyond the confines of geographic, racial and religious boundaries and unite to address the common issues that concern existence of the humanity as a whole and sustaining habitability of earth. We have to overcome the infinite physical and mental boundaries that have divided mankind into many nations, religions and creeds, which is the basic reason for these conflicts.
Since we are facing an existential crisis of humanity as a whole due to global warming, climate change and global financial meltdown, this crisis provides a rare opportunity for people from all faiths, ideologies, races and nations to unite to overcome this period of uncertainty and make the necessary transformation to guide humanity out of this crisis. Moreover, these leaders should guide their followers within their respective confines to a sustainable and eco-friendly way of life.
In this hour of crisis, let us unite as one human community and face the challenges together. We also have to replace fragmentation, selfishness, competition and antagonism that are prevalent nowadays with noble values of unity, cooperation, compassion and mutual understanding.
Mr. President, there is no other person more apt than yourself to provide the leadership for unity of all nations and religions. With the family relationship extending three continents and two major religions, you are appropriately positioned to play a pro-active role in uniting humanity to face the existential challenges.
We Too Have a Dream
Two score and five years ago of the day you accepted the nomination as the Democratic candidate for the President of United States of America, a great Civil Rights leader who was guided by the non-violent philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi dreamt and wept for his community, which lived in acute poverty and was victimized and segregated for centuries. The invigorating autumn of freedom and equality that Martin Luther King Jr. prophesied, where his little children will live not being judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, came to reality on the day you are elected as the President of United States. This dream that was watered and grown by tears, sweat, blood and pain of millions of Afro-Americans must not go in vain. Hence, let your presidency be a beginning of renewed spirit for the upliftment and progress of all the subjugated people around the world.
Mr. President, on this joyful occasion of your election as President, I want to take this opportunity to inform you that we as the people of the Third World and Middle East countries too have a collective dream.
We have a dream that one day from the mountains, valleys and the olive and almond farms of the West Bank to the deserts of Gaza that are currently sweltering under injustice, persecution and sufferings, the sons of the invaded and the sons of the invaders will sit together on the table of brotherhood while their children go to schools together to build a bright future without fear and insecurity.
We have a dream that one day will raise a leader from the ashes of one of the oppressed nations of Palestine, Iraq or Afghanistan to rescue the humanity from the shackles of enmity, hatred and discord and guide them to a bright and sustainable future.
We have a dream that after the withdrawal of the American forces, as free nations, Iraqi people on the banks of Tigris and Euphrates and Afghan people in the mountains regions of Kabul and Kandahar will one day unite above all sectarian and racial confines to rebuild their countries to a new dawn of prosperity after a long night of wars and persecution.
We have a dream that one day our children, because they belong to a particular religion or nationality, will not be terrorized and face travel restriction and harassment just because of their background, and instead, will be an asset for the western countries and welcomed with all respect.
We have a dream…that one day the people of African countries like Somalia, Darfur, Zimbabwe and Asian countries that have been the backyard of conflicts and are suffering from civil wars, dictatorship, hunger and poverty will be blessed with prosperity progress and peace.
We have a dream that one day the capitalist system based on materialism, which has resulted in the overexploitation of the natural resources and uneven distribution of wealth, will give way to more sustainable and eco-friendly economy based on material and spiritual satisfaction and redistribution of wealth so that there will be no poverty and hunger.
And in this way we will be at peace with ourselves, peace with our co-habitants and peace with the nature.
Yes Mr. President, we are one people and we have only one nation- Earth.
May God bless the humanity and this planet…
The Financial Crises that has gripped the globe resulting in the growing unemployment, poverty and hunger that will further aggravate during the coming months and years have created great uncertainty. While the global political and financial leaders and the media and establishment that support them, are groping in darkness about the solution to overcome this crises that has gripped the world community, it is futile to maintain expectation on the ability of these leaders to retrieve the situation as they themselves are the basic reason for this crises. This has been proven during the just concluded World Economic Forum meeting in Davos where empty discussions and debates was held, that lacked any concrete ideas to fix this crisis. The Davos Forum failed to find any answer and they stressed more about the problems instead of finding solutions.
The current crises is due to the wrong policies that were hitherto pursued by the so-called dominant leaders led by the United States and its allies, whose aim was to serve the corporate military establishment instead of addressing the crises as a whole. Most of the efforts of these leaders were to bailout the banks and corporate that paid huge bonuses and incentives to its executive at the expense of the taxpayers and common people. This is because the capitalist and consumerist policies pursued by these nations relied heavily on these financial institutions, corporations and Stock Exchanges. The recent ILO report has predicted a frightening scenario in which 51 million more jobs could be lost by the end of 2009, leading to a 7.1 percent global unemployment rate and those who manage to keep a job, earnings and other conditions of employment will deteriorate.
The world has been continuously deceived by theses leaders and we have repeatedly fallen into the same trap again and again. After the disastrous eight years of Bush administration, the world is looking forward to the Barack Obama, who might either be one of the highly sophisticated among the these traps or an initial source of future change. The coming months and years will provide the answer.
What Do We Require from the Leadership?
To this point, the arrogant and exploitative policies of the world's sole superpower and its allies at least temporarily benefited them and their allies. But since the last two years after the financial crises and the climatic crises that have engulfed the world, these leaders and nations can no longer continue these arrogant policies as they have also started facing the brunt of their policies that earlier ruined third world countries.
We cannot solve the impending crises with the existing leadership that is part of the problem and is more interested in igniting new conflicts, instead of solving the existing financial and existential issues that are haunting the humanity as a whole.
While searching for new leadership and new solution to overcome the serious financial consequences, we must discard the current economic and financial system and terminologies associated with it as it has only brought sufferings to humanity. We must also discard the ideological confines and arrogance and open minds and hearts to formulate the new route that we have to take to rescue the humanity from the current crises and for building a better future.
While criticizing the current leadership and their short sighted and arrogant policies, taking into consideration the dire consequences that we are about to face in the coming years, it is important to understand what kind of leadership is required and what are the policies to be implemented to overcome the serious challenges. Some of the immediate measures that the world requires to take to face the challenges are as follows:
1) With the global financial collapse and the ensuing bankruptcy and shut down of many corporations and companies that will result in job cuts and unemployment, we will face growing poverty, hunger and homelessness. This consecutively will result in financial and economic breakdown, social evils, crimes, chaos and civil wars. In order to prevent this situation, it is essential that the governments take necessary steps by taking over and controlling the public distribution system and other essential and life sustaining services and ensuring the smooth distribution of basic essential items including food to all sections of the society to prevent further deterioration and civil strife that may follow. This is also essential taking into consideration the depleting food stocks and the growing population.
2) With the collapse of the neoliberal economic and financial system that the current administration is trying to save with all its efforts, the 'other' leadership must formulate and implement alternative sustainable economic policies that will ensure equitable distribution of the limited and depleting resources and ensuring environmentally compliant, agrarian economic system as a replacement to exploitative, consumerist and polluted capitalist system. This includes conversion from a financial to a humanistic economy and implementing an interest free banking system. The localisation of economies by building self sustaining cooperatives and ensuring self sufficiency at the grassroots level is one of the basic ingredients to ride over the crises and for building a sustainable society.
3) The great disparities and injustice between nations and resulting exploitation and oppressions has led to the conflicts and social chaos. The depleting resources and the financial collapse will further aggravate these crises. In order to prevent future conflicts and to bring justice to all nations and all strata of the society, we need a global leadership that is above narrow confines and ensure justice for all especially the oppressed and the downtrodden. Resistance, mass movements and civil disobedience have to be organized against the existing establishment representing the capitalist- corporate-military axis and their neoliberal capitalist policies. Resistance should also be organized against the arrogant imperialist foreign policies of these nations pursue and the resulting exploitation, injustice and brutality that is imposed on the people of other nations by them.
4) Addressing and implementing policies to counter the threat of climate change that has resulted in huge natural upheavals, melting glaciers, rising sea level, extinction of variety of species and depleting agricultural yield.
Is there any leader of distinction and stature among the present statesmen who can lead the world to overcome the dire situation that we have got ourselves into?
The 'Other' Leadership
Taking into account the current leadership and their negative performance, it is natural that we make an in-depth analysis about the 'other' leaders who are accused by the dominant media and regimes as 'tyrants' and 'dictators'. Although many leaders come to our mind, the most prominent among them are Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Ahmedinejad of Iran..etc. In this article we will look into the policies pursued by the one among them namely Hugo Chavez, an icon of resistance against Imperialists and oppressors. In order to understand his leadership, it is important to assess the progress and change he has brought in Venezuela during the last 10 years of rule.
Hugo Chavez of Venezuela
Hugo Rafael Chavez Frķas who came to power in Venezuela as the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution (popular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution of revenues, and an end to corruption - in Venezuela) and promoting democratic socialism and Latin American Integration is a strong critic of neolibralism, globalization and the imperialist foreign policy of United States and its allies.
The eventful and tumultuous rule of Chavez who got elected President of Venezuela, in 1998 and re-elected in 2000 and 2006 implemented many Bolivarian Missions that was successful in combating disease, illiteracy, malnutrition, poverty, and other social ills. He also successfully initiated several reforms aimed at improving the social welfare of his people including land transfer program, a free government funded health care system and free education up to the University level. These reforms helped in lowering the infant mortality rates by 18% between 1998 and 2006, reduced inflation by 12.3% with improved economic growth and increased enrolment in primary school enrolment of millions of students. In 2003 and 2004, Chavez launched a number of social and economic campaigns as he struggled to maintain popular support including Mission Robinson, Mission Sucre and Mission Ribas (for providing free education for millions of Venezuelans), Mission Guaicaipuro (to protect the livelihood, religion, land, culture and rights of Venezuela's indigenous peoples), Mission Vuelta al Campo and Mission Barrio Adentro (constructing, funding and refurbishing secondary and tertiary public health care facilities and construction of thousands of free medical clinics for the poor), Mission Arbol (an environmental program of reforestation) and Mission Mirinda that established a National Militia. He also enacted food and housing subsidies. In 2008, 62.9% of Venezuelans have bought subsidized food from the Food Market Network (Mercal). He has also formed 100,000 cooperatives during the past few years that are the centrepiece of President Hugo Chavez's new socialist model to create jobs and redistribute this oil-rich country's wealth. The government offers cooperatives exemption from all taxes as well as interest-free loans. The movement is changing the nature of Venezuelan society, putting quality of life and "solidarity" above the profit motive. Due to his reforms, family income among the poorest stratum grew more than 150% between 2003 and 2006. According to official sources, the percentage of people below the national poverty line has decreased significantly during the Chavez years, from 48.1% in 2002 to 12.3% in 2007. Since 1999, 2.7 million Venezuelans no longer are impoverished, 437,000 in 2008 alone; extreme poverty stood at 42% earlier in the 1990s; today it's 9.1%. The government earmarked 44.6% of the 2007 budget for social investment, with 1999-2007 averaging 12.8% of GDP. GDP growth rates were 18% in 2004, 9% in 2005 and 9.6% in the first half of 2006, with the private sector growing at a 10.3% clip. In March 2006 the Communal Council Law was approved, whereby communities that decide to organize themselves into a council can be given official state recognition and access to federal funds and loans for community projects. This skips the local and state governments that are perceived as corrupt. From 2004 to the first half of 2006, non-petroleum sectors of the economy showed growth rates greater than 10%. Datos reports real income grew by 137% between 2003 and Q1 2006. Unemployment dropped by 7 %. The World Bank calculated a 10% drop in poverty.
He attained all these progress in the midst of constant threat, coup attempts (including a failed attempt to overthrow him in April 2002), assassination attempts general strikes and lockouts conducted by the corporates and the elite with the support of foreign masters. In return for the conspiracy hatched by the Superpower to overthrow his government, he responded by initiating a program to provide cheaper heating fuel for low-income families in several areas of the US. The program was expanded in September 2006 to include four of New York's five boroughs, earmarking 25 million gallons of fuel for low-income New York residents at 40% off the wholesale market price. That quantity provides enough fuel to heat 70,000 apartments, covering 200,000 New Yorkers, for the entire winter. Chavez also offered heating oil to poor, remote villages in Alaska. In 2007, Chavez signed a deal with Ken Livingstone, the then Mayor of London for a similar program
Chavez placed greater emphasis on alternative economic development and international trade models, and organized the countries of Latin America against neoliberal model of economic development and supported these countries in the form of extremely ambitious hemisphere-wide international aid agreements. . On April 30, 2007 Chavez announced that Venezuela would be formally pulling out of the IMF and the World Bank, having paid off its debts of around $3 Billion five years ahead of schedule and so saving US $8 million. Chavez then announced the creation of a regional bank, the Bank of the South, and said that the IMF and the World Bank were in crisis. Chavez has acted against the Washington Consensus by supporting alternative models of economic development, and has advocated cooperation among the world's poor nations, especially those in Latin America.
Hugo Chavez took an unrelenting stand against the American hegemony and the brutalities shown by the Zionists and the Imperialists. The recent expulsion of Israeli Ambassador from Venezuela and the breaking of ties with Israel for the genocide against people Gaza were much appreciated throughout the world. He has remained a symbol of resistance against the brutalities and oppression and has been the voice of the downtrodden and the oppressed. In a famous speech that was received with wide applause in UN on 20th September 2006 in which he called the former US President as the 'devil', he strongly attacked the US policies and its current pattern of domination, exploitation and plunder of the peoples of the world. Due to his strong stand against the brutalities of Imperialists and Zionists, he has been considered a hero of the oppressed throughout the world including Middle East. During the brutal attack on Gaza by the Zionists, Deputy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hamas Government, Dr. Ahmed Yousef send an open letter to Hugo Chavez in which he stated that "Throughout history, in a just conflict, there always emerges a champion, a single hero who, by his actions, embodies all the virtues the masses aspire to. You have demonstrated that you are such a man".
South America Shows The Way
Hugo Chavez along with his counterparts namely Eva Morales of Bolivia and President Rafael Correa of Ecuador and counterparts in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil has together been challenging the superpower next door and its neoliberal and imperialist policies. They have also been providing an alternative economic model for the global economy that is infected by financial recession. The recent World Social Forum that was held in the Brazilian city of Belem as an alternative to World Economic Forum being held Davos with the theme 'another world is possible', was well received with the presence of leaders from most of the South American presidents to promote Latin America as a model for global economic development and co-operation. In this conference Hugo Chavez strongly criticized the global capitalist system for the current financial mess. He quoted that "In Davos the world that is dying is meeting, here the world that is being born is meeting.", a true portrayal of the failing capitalist system and a desire for new world.
Venezuelans will be participating in a referendum on February 15th to vote on whether he can contest for elections when he completes his second term of office in 2013. Whether he wins the referendum or not, he has already taken his place in history as a great leader who courageously fought the seemingly omnipotent imperialists and their allies and at the same time brought progress and sustainable prosperity to his people by eradicating poverty through equitable distribution of wealth.
Congratulations...Hugo Chavez. We Salute you.
'The beginning for the struggle to create a better world must start from Gaza.'
New Year Greetings and resolutions have become a meaningless custom of lip service while with every passing year the condition of humanity deteriorates from bad to worse. The international community has become insensitive to the sufferings of the downtrodden and have taken for granted the repetitive brutality and oppression conducted by certain regimes year after year on the innocent populace around the world.
2008 has been one of the worst years in the recent history. Compared to the previous years, it saw many new issues coming to the forefront. 2008 saw the collapse of the global financial system and food crises after many decades of superficial stability, which has resulted in globalization of hunger and poverty that was earlier limited to some regions of Africa, Asia and South America. The growing unemployment, corruption, bankruptcy, conflicts and terrorist attacks created great deal of instability and uncertainty about the future. According to some financial and economic pundits the worst of the financial crises is not yet over and when that happens, it might result in social and economic breakdown thus forecasting a nightmarish scenario for 2009.
2008 also saw the election of Barack Obama who campaigned on the platform of change, as the first black President of United States of America. The great expectations of the International community for the new President elect who will takeover the presidency on January 20th 2009, seems to decline due to the inclusion in his cabinet of the members of the same establishment he opposed during his election campaign. The important question of 2009 is whether he will be able to implement the changes he promised or whether he is just a Trojan horse of the old corrupted establishment.
Due to overwhelming financial and political crises, the climate change and environmental issues were left abandoned after a very lively year of awareness in 2007. This is despite the persistent warnings of rising CO2 and resulting tragic consequences including melting of Artic and rising sea level that will be major concerns for humanity in the coming years. However, the slowdown of the capitalist economies due to the financial and economic collapse is in fact a blessing in disguise and an opportunity to implement eco-friendly and sustainable system of economic development and way of life with equitable distribution of wealth and resources.
The 2009 will also see the carryover of unresolved issues like the Iran nuclear issue and probable confrontation between Iran and Israel. The other probable flash point of the 2009 is the possibility of frightening nuclear showdown between India and Pakistan as result of the Mumbai attack.
Gaza and the World
Beyond the above mentioned reasons, the root cause of all crises and calamity human race is facing is due to the Palestinian problem and the sufferings of the Palestinian people in general and the people of Gaza in particular due to the oppression of the Zionist regime that has been continuing their brutality as a ritual for the past sixty years. The gruesome massacre of innocents in Gaza by the Israeli Zionist regime and the impotent reaction of the International community in general and the Arab leaders in particular have only proved the futility of expecting unrealistic optimism about 2009. This massacre and the simultaneous slow death imposed on the people of Gaza by the unilateral sanctions imposed on them by the Zionist regime with the silent approval of the International community will have global repercussions.
For many decades, the Zionist nation has been hijacking the world nations to ransom with its undue control over the political and military establishments, media and the financial sectors. No power on earth has the strength to take action against this nation for its arrogant policies. Even the sole superpower that prides itself as the apostle of freedom and human rights seems to be powerless and weak to point their finger at this Zionist regime and instead find comfort by supporting their inhuman acts as their right of self defense and blaming the democratically elected Hamas government for the attacks. It is irrational to expect change in policy on this issue from the new president Barack Obama from that of his predecessors, especially while pro Zionist agents like Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel remains besides him and Hillary Clinton is in control of the foreign affairs.
If the world community continues to remain silent and insensitive about the massacre, brutality and injustice that are imposed on the people of Palestine, humanity as a whole will have to face the consequences of this brutality. This holy land that is sacred and important for all the three major Semitic religions and its followers globally has greatly influenced the events around the world throughout history. The divine intervention to brutality shown to the people of Gaza was evident in 2008 when the world economies especially western economies suffered the worst economic crises in decades and poverty and hunger spread throughout the world including many new regions that are hitherto abundant with natural resources. The United States itself became a victim of terrorism and financial collapse due to the policies it pursued towards the Palestinian people and unwarranted support to the Zionist regime. Beyond analyzing the reasons for financial collapse, growing poverty and hunger, we must have to amend ourselves and take corrective steps by reacting to the injustice and oppression, in order to attain a peaceful and bright future for humanity as a whole.
Lack of Global Leadership
The major shortcoming the world community is facing in tackling the problems is the lack of global visionaries and leaders who are able to visualize and comprehend the problems faced by the Global Community in totality, above the confines of national, religious and racial interests and thus provide solutions accordingly. Instead, we have leaders like George Bush, Olmert and Livini, who are by-products of the arrogant nationalistic and religious bigotry, influencing the global politics and decision-making. We cannot expect any solution to the global issues from the current world leaders as they are either part of the military and corporate establishment or have reached the top echelons of power at the mercy of these lobbyists.
This lack of a global leadership has resulted in the failure in resolving major conflicts and finding solution to burning issues like financial crises and climate change. The International Organizations like UN who depends on these powers for financial and logistic support cannot take a neutral and justified stand that is essential for solving the conflicts.
For a Happy and Prosperous New Era
Instead of wishing unrealistic New Year greetings while millions of our cohabitants are suffering from hunger, poverty and conflicts, the global community must counter the threats of evil forces and unite to work to realize the vision of a better world. Otherwise, only difference for the New Year will be a change of digits in the calendar along with increasing number of the victims of these conflicts and brutality.
The beginning for the struggle to create a better world must start from Gaza and in countering the Israeli aggression as world peace and stability depends upon the solution of the Palestinian problem and attaining their self-determination. It is essential that 1.5 million population of Gaza gets access to the basic amenities and leads a life of safety and security as the basic precondition for the commencement of any negotiation between varying factions for a lasting solution to this crisis. If Gaza suffers the world will suffer and if Gaza prospers the world will prosper.
Everything else including the threat of terrorism, conflicts, social chaos, economic collapse, financial crises and climate change can be easily resolved when the question of Palestine gets resolved, as the efforts and resources spent for these conflicts can be redirected in eradicating poverty and improving the living standards of the world community and addressing the issues of climate change. Once the Palestinian issue is resolved, the invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan end and the persecution and the economic exploitation of the third world countries stop: it will result in the disappearance of all forms of terrorism that are nourished on these issues.
When the world realizes the importance of unity and eradicating fragmentation, exploitation and hatred, when the followers of different nations and religions believe that their safety and security are mutually linked and when the world realizes that their destinies are interconnected, and consequently work together to built a better world, than we can truly wish the world from bottom of our heart and tears of fulfillment in our eyes "A happy and prosperous new year and a new era".
The frequent innovative methods of terrorist attacks seem to leave us in a constant state of shock. While we were startled by the recent incident of hijacking of huge Saudi Oil tanker by the Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden that has been unheard of in the recent past, we were soon overwhelmed by the terrifying news of the assault on one of the largest metropolis in the world, Mumbai, with a population of 20 million by a group of 20 to 30 youths in their twenties who approached by boat. These terrorists not only silenced this metropolis teeming with activities round the clock to a standstill and took over high profile hotels and iconic landmarks, but also kept one of the largest and most powerful countries in the world with the most powerful armies at the edge for two days leading to the death of 185 innocents including three outstanding police officers. The terrorists attained this merely with AK-47s and grenades!!! We are stunned, confused and dismayed. What is happening?
While all eyes where glued to the TV as if watching a live thriller movie, the shock and desperation gave way to contemplation and in trying to make sense of these senseless incidents. What has infected our society and to where are we heading for? What were the target and motivation of the terrorists who meticulously planned this operation and fought for two days against around 400 NSG commandos?
The Target of Terrorists
While arguments and conspiracy theories continue to pour in about whom was behind the Mumbai attack, the most important factor to consider is about the aim of these terrorists. Although they targeted the high profile hotels and iconic landmarks of Mumbai, their aim was much beyond the physical concrete structures and innocent lives. Their aim was to destroy the spirit of oneness and unity in diversity for which the Indian nation stands. They wanted to destabilize this country by splitting the Indian people on the basis of religion and to create fragmentation in their minds and spirits. We should ensure that these enemies of humanity do not succeed. The actions of a handful of terrorists from any religious background should not create division and hatred among the different religious communities.
External And Internal Enemies
The Indian nation is much beyond the narrow comprehension of these terrorists and the divisive forces of hate that aim to destabilize this country. The inherent strength of India depends on the unity of a wide variety of religious, racial, geographical and linguistic communities. Here is a nation that is exclusive from other world nations due to it inclusive and accommodative nature and wherein all religions and cultures flourished and greatly contributed to the world in the field of spirituality, medicine, art, meditation and culture. This pluralism, tolerance and mutual respect between people of different religious, racial and cultural backgrounds is the strength of Indian nation and if any group of people try to manipulate or tamper with this diversity and attempt to create any type of uniformity, they are in fact trying to tear down the very foundation of the Indian nation.
This inherent strength and resilience has helped the Indian Nation that has a heritage of thousands of years (which include the Indus Valley civilization that goes back to at least 5000 year), to overcome extreme challenges during its long history and to become a beacon of diverse cultures that has been cherished throughout the world. Compared to the challenges that it has overcome during its long history, neither the recent stunts that were shown by some diehard terrorists nor any divisive acts of all or any of the neighboring countries including Pakistan will in anyway be able to disrupt or destabilize this great nation, as long as this nation stays united within.
But the greatest challenge to Indian nation comes from within. Although these internal rift and conflicts date back to time immemorial, it was more evident during the freedom struggle against the British colonialists and the resulting partition of the country during the middle of the last century. And this process of destabilization and internal threat has particularly grown during the last two decades with the growth of Hindutva Nationalist forces represented by the present opposition party and its ideological parivar of RSS and the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The greatest damage to social fabric of India has been done by Hindutva leaders like Narendra Modi, Bal Thackerey and Praveen Togadia and the resulting reactions by extremists to the actions of these leaders, which even the extreme enemy nations or groups could not dream of. Intentionally or unintentionally, the actions of the external terrorist groups and these communal and fundamentalist organizations are mutually supportive as the aims of both are to communalize the Indian populace. The greatest beneficiary from the Mumbai attacks will be the Sangh Parivar led by BJP who will reap the benefit in the upcoming election. The demolition of Babri Masjid and the ensuing communal riots, the Gujarat massacre that cost huge innocent lives, the attack on Christians minorities in different parts of India and the recent string of bomb blasts have created immense fragmentation in the Indian society. The issue of Kashmir that has been bleeding the subcontinent for many decades has also created much distrust among the neighbors and has been the main reason for most of the terrorist attacks that are taking place in India
An Appeal to Sangh Parivar
The actions of Sangh Parivar and its leaders like Narendra Modi and Praveen Togadia which has resulted in the lose of many innocent lives and deterioration in the relations between the different religious communities have only helped the enemies of India. If we want to prevent any further destruction and hatred, the Indian people require a total change of heart from the Sangh Parivar leaders and their ideologues. After all, change of heart is also part of the Indian ethos when the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka changed for the better and pledged not fight any more wars after the seeing the destruction in the battle of Kalinga, as revealed in Ashoka Dhamma.
We have to restore confidence among the Hindus, Muslims and Christians and strengthen the cohesiveness and trust between all the sections in the Indian society. For this we have to rebuild the lives of families affected by communal violence and bomb blasts so that their future generation overcomes the trauma and revenge mentality that sustain this hatred and instead unite to build a bright India.
Awake India, The World needs you…
The incidents in Mumbai are only one of the symptoms of the disease that has infected the global community in general and India in particular. If we have to prevent these terrorist attacks and conflicts, we have to address the whole problem in totality. The September 11th incident and following wars have resulted in the worsening relationship between different religious, racial and ideological communities, as well as the growing social fragmentation and sectarian divisions in different parts of the world, leading to civil wars, violence and social unrest. There is a great deal of fragmentation, hatred and intolerance at the individual, social, religious and national level that has had an affect on all the sectors of the society. The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the tribal regions of Pakistan, the anti-Muslim feelings that are widespread in Western world and the worsening relations between religious communities; shows the gravity of the situation.
The attack on Mumbai is mentioned as India's 9 /11. But what the world cannot endure is another "George Bush style" reaction from India especially when we can see the chaos he has brought to his own country. India is different from United States of America.
The recent financial recession and climate change crises that had repercussions on all countries and continents have emphatically proved that we as humanity have a common destiny. No part of this planet will escape the consequences of growing poverty and hunger due to the financial and climate crises. The Indian nation can help the world to organize beyond the confines of geographic, racial and religious boundaries and unite to address the common issues that concern existence of the humanity as a whole and sustaining habitability of earth and to overcome the infinite physical and mental boundaries that have divided mankind into many nations, religions and creeds, which is the basic reason for these conflicts.
With its vast religious, cultural, racial, geographical and linguistic diversities, India can contribute to the building of a one world where the mental, physical and geographical boundaries disappear based on tolerance, mutual respect and democratic principles. Contrary to the western approach of hegemony and subjugation of other countries, this "Unity in Diversity" and pluralism is the message that the Indian nation has to offer to the world and can be emulated worldwide. This diversity has helped India to be the home and birthplace of great religions and spiritual movements and has contributed some the most beautiful art and cultural forms.
In this hour of global crisis, to face the challenges to the humanity, the world must unite as one human community on the basis of peace, tolerance and mutual understanding and the Indian nation has a major role in this regard.
Awake India Awake!! The World needs you…
The dispute that is going on between nation states over implementing mandatory limits on emissions has reduced the chances of preventing the catastrophic climate change and the prospect of successful conclusion of Copenhagen Climate conference. The confrontation between western countries like US and eastern countries like India and China to safeguard their national interests has created uncertainty over the future of humanity.
These nations have seldom realised that they are playing with fate of humanity as a whole and the habitability of earth as we know it. This earth with its beautiful landscapes and favourable climates enabled our forefathers to build great civilizations and also for diverse cultures to flourish.
For centuries, the earth has been bearing the brunt of conflicts between nation states, whether these conflicts were based on racial, ideological, cultural, geographical, nationalistic or religious foundation. The boundaries of these nation states were drawn and redrawn depending on the course of these wars and conflicts. The earth was able to sustain these scribbling of borders and coped with the impact of these nation states to conquer and dominate other nations. Along with humanitarian and psychological consequences, these wars of domination also severely damaged the environment and negatively affected its habitability. The short-sighted leaders and dictators played a major role in igniting these unwarranted wars and the results of these wars was devastation for not only conquerors and the conquered, but for humanity as a whole.
So, now we have reached a situation where the existence of humanity as a whole is at stake and our destiny is tied together. Hence if we have to overcome this crisis of climate change, we have to think beyond the confines of manmade boundaries of nation states. So along with being patriotic to our respective nations, which have sometimes supported its citizens generously, we also have to give due consideration to the protection and safety of the earth and the environment, which has been supporting all these nation states to flourish and prosper.
Let the materialistic west and the spiritualistic east blend together to build a balanced and sustainable global community that will safeguard the environment along with ensuring equitable distribution of wealth.
Let us create a united world with noble values of unity, cooperation, compassion and mutual understanding.
Let us all proclaim with one voice “EAST OR WEST, EARTH IS BEST”
November 14, 2011
With the economic crisis that has gripped the world nations due to euro zone and the new report of US State Department of Energy stating that the carbon emissions in the environment have vastly increased in 2010, the world is passing through a critical stage. At the recent ECOQ exhibition and conference on environment in Qatar, Jean Audouze, President of France UNESCO said that at the beginning of 19th century, the planet had only 1billion human inhabitants. It is estimated that by next month there will be 7 billion people on Earth (which we have already attained this October), and by 2050 there will be 9 billion. “If every human being wished to live with the standards of American people, we would need seven Earths to support this amount of people. If every human being wanted to live in the same standards of a European, we would need three Earths to support all those people.”
With the growing population and developing countries emulating the path of developed countries in unsustainable and exploitative economic development, we will soon find ourselves in a situation where this planet is not enough for fulfilling our consumerist desires. Hence, how can we save the humanity and this earth from the greed and consumerism and ensure a balanced, sustainable and eco-friendly economic growth. This thought hounded me and resulted in the development of a new concept, ‘Recycling Earth’.
We have hitherto heard of waste management system by waste hierarchy of 3 R’s namely, reduce-reuse-recycle (there also two additional R’s that are incorporated recently like recover and rethink). The aim of this waste management hierarchy is to extract the maximum benefits from the used materials and reduce the amount of waste to minimal. As for recycling which is the third aspect, it is the process of converting used materials into new products to prevent the wastage potentially useful materials. These materials include paper, glass, plastic, metals, electronic...etc.
By the concept of ‘Recycling Earth’ we can include the following three aspects:
1) Recycling land, water and air
2) Recycling Humanity
3) Recycling Economy
Recycling Land, Water & Air
Being the only habitable planet in the universe, our earth, which is blessed with vast and varied landscapes and bio- diversities, should be protected in all respects to ensure the existence of the humanity and well-being of the future generation. Hence we have to preserve the land, air and oceans and prevent it from damage and pollution. Following are the brief details of how we can recycle land, water and air.
a) Land: Growing population, spreading urbanization, deforestation, industrialization, desertification, disposal of waste and unsustainable method of agriculture: have all negatively affected our land. Many of the islands and coastal areas are in the brink of disappearing due to rising sea levels and melting glaciers. The climate change has affected the carrying capacity of this planet and erosion and soil degradation are widespread. Taking into the consideration these factors, we have to find ways to recycle or reutilize the land that has been negatively affected and at the same time preserve the forests and other natural resources from extinction. We must also try to retrieve brownfield and superfund lands (these are terms used in US for unused and contaminated lands). Many new techniques have been developed to clean up the contaminated lands like soil vapour extraction, bioremediation, in situ oxidation and phytoremediation. However, further research and development is required to develop more sophisticated methods. Immediate actions must also be taken to save many islands from rising sea levels.
b) Water (which includes all the water bodies like lakes, rivers, seas, oceans and underground water): Almost 97% of the earth’s water resources are salty water and only 3 % is fresh water (this includes glaciers, polar ice and ground water). Although a renewable resource, fresh water supply is steadily decreasing with increasing demand and rising population. With a population of seven billion, the consumption of water for human, industry, urbanization and agricultural purposes has increased many folds. This will lead to water stress. To overcome the water stress due to depleting fresh water sources and increasing demand, we have to develop the concept of Water Recycling. Water recycling includes waste water management, water treatment programs targeting industries, households and business sectors, leak reduction, preserving and safeguarding existing sources of fresh water, promoting cheaper desalination process and developing sustainable agriculture (that uses less water for irrigation).
c) Air: The air we breathe and which we have taken for granted has been polluted by many factors including emissions from industries, refineries, power plants, automobiles and other modes of transportation, pesticides and fertilisers used in agriculture, fossil fuels , wild fires, chemicals from household and different types of disposed waste. Air pollution includes the discharge of chemicals, biological matter and particulate matter in the atmosphere that causes harm to living organisms including human beings. Most of the air pollutions started to occur after the industrial revolution and improvement in manufacturing. Many of the lung related diseases among people are due to air pollution. There are existing methods to reduce air pollution like pollution control technologies, waste management and land use planning strategies. There are also different types of devices like baghouses, particulate scrubbers and electrostatic precipitators to reduce pollution. Recycling of air includes promoting usage of clean and renewable energies like solar and wind energy, regulating the emission of chemicals from industries by imposing fines and taxes, creating green belts around industries, power plants and refineries, promoting usage of eco-friendly automobiles and household items...etc. We must develop new mechanism and technology to clean the polluted air in industrial parks.
As we all know there is a natural system of recycling that is going on in our planet ever since its existence. It is the process of birth and death. It was best mentioned by Steve Jobs in his speech to Standford University commencement address in 2005 “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”
The recycling that I mentioned here is not the process of birth and death. This recycling comes between birth and death. In other words, it deals with the ‘code of conduct’ of humanity when it arrives in this planet as a new born baby till the period of departure through death. We must live the life in this world with the realization that we are only travelers for a time being and we must maintain the sanctity and preserve the natural resources of this planet by ensuring a bright future for new arrivals which will be coming during and after our departure.
The current global economy is driven by material greed and consumerist culture. Individuals and societies are driven by money motivation and in pursuit of attaining extravagant lifestyle by sacrificing earth’s environment and natural resources. This is the main reason for the environmental degradation, economic woes and social chaos that humanity is facing. Although with the technological and scientific advancement, humanity was able to control air, land and oceans, as well as explore and conquer far off planets, these developments failed to control their minds and thought process. Instead of using these advancements for the well-being of humanity, they were used to create hatred, injustice and greed. These technologies were used for overexploitation of the natural resources, polluting the environment and manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.
Hence it is imperative that at first the fundamental change must come in human mind and how he thinks. By ‘recycling humanity’ we must create this fundamental reform in the concept of life and lifestyle. When individuals change, society changes and when society changes the earth becomes a better place to live. Recycling of Humanity includes three R’s which are as follows:
Reform- Reduce- Reinvent
a) Reform: This process includes the basic transformation of the outlook and attitude of humanity to life and lifestyle. The dominant perceptions in the individual’s mind that the pursuit and desire for monetary and material earnings are the basic aim of life are the root causes for the environmental degradation and economic woes. We have to change and reform this concept and create awareness in the society about the negative impacts of frantic- economic activities and consumer life style. We must also help individuals in redefining the aims of life and in promoting simple, sustainable, balanced and eco-friendly way of life. At the social and national level, we must frame and implement laws to reduce and regulate unsustainable, pollution and wasteful activities. We must give preference to green activities over economic activities. This change also requires the transformation of the education system to prepare the future generation for conservation and sustainable living.
b) Reduce: This requires the change of consumer oriented lifestyle in order to reduce the consumption and prevent wastage of materials and maximum utilization of the available resources. It requires austerity measures in households, industries and business, waste management, conservation of natural resources and energy saving. At the social and national level, we require to frame strict austerity laws to control consumption and reduce wastage.
c) Reinvent: In this process we reassess and redirect the role of science and technology for the benefit of mankind. The technologies that have been harmful for humanity and planet must be reconsidered and rerouted for creating a sustainable, eco-friendly society which balances economic development and environmental conservation. Scientific and technological research must focus in developing new alternative renewable energy technologies, sustainable agriculture with greater yields, gadgets and automobiles that function on clean energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and appropriate technology for rural development and community living.
The world is on the brink of recession and growing unemployment due to euro zone crises. According to a recent report of the ILO titled ‘World of Work Report 2011’, the global economy is on the verge of a new and deeper jobs recession that may further delay the global economic recovery and may ignite social unrest. The world leaders and economists are groping in darkness about the solution to overcome this crisis that has gripped the world community.
The current crisis is due to the wrong policies that were hitherto pursued by the developed nations, whose aim was to serve the corporate military establishment instead of addressing the crises as a whole. In the recession of 2008, the efforts of these leaders were to bailout the banks and corporate that paid huge bonuses and incentives to its executive at the expense of the taxpayers and common people. This is because the current economic system relied heavily on these financial institutions, corporations and Stock Exchanges. Due to this, there is also a great inequality in distribution of wealth and disparities between the haves and have-nots have increased.
To aggravate the situation, according to another recent report of the US state department of energy, the global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record. The world pumped about 564 million more tonnes of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009, an increase of six per cent. All the measures we have taken to reduce carbon emission and prevent climatic change like renewable energy, waste management, recycling, and promoting sustainability have failed to make any impact on the ground.
In order to activate the economy and create jobs, the governments will have to increase spending on projects, boost industries and activate the market. These measures will further result in increasing the greenhouse gas and carbon emissions in our atmosphere that will negatively affect our environment. Hence, when we go deeper into the different economic, social and environmental problems and malaise that we are facing, we can see that they are inter-related as they are part and parcel of a same systemic- disorder that has gripped our planet.
In order to ensure a sustainable economic development that provides equitable distribution of wealth and is environmentally viable, we must recycle the current economy in order to create a new economy. The process includes D-R-R
Dismantle- Restructure- Revitalize
a) Dismantle: This stage involves the dismantling of unproductive sectors of the economy like some of the failed financial institutions that has been draining the resources of the world. Trillions of dollars have been invested to rescue the banks and Wall Street during the last recession without any positive results to the economy and these trillions were wasted away. While dismantling these unproductive sectors, we strengthen and invest in real economy in building a sustainable and eco-friendly economy with equitable distribution of wealth that reduces the disparities between the haves and have-nots. Huge capital must be invested in developing people, health, education, research and creating environmentally sustainable jobs.
b) Restructure: In this stage we must discard the current economic and financial system and terminologies and formulate and implement alternative sustainable economic policies that will ensure equitable distribution of the limited and depleting resources and ensuring environmentally compliant, agrarian economic system as a replacement to exploitative, consumerist and polluted capitalist system. This includes conversion from a financial to a humanistic economy and implementing an interest free banking system. The localisation of economies by building self sustaining cooperatives and ensuring self sufficiency at the grassroots level will be one of the basic ingredients for the new economy and for building a sustainable society.
c) Revitalize: We must revitalize the new economy with moral values, ecological consciousness, sustainability, human solidarity and unity of mankind above all confines and barriers to ensure the well being of our planet and future generation.
To conclude, we have to understand that we have only one planet, in which our forefathers lived and we have to preserve this planet for the future generation.
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