Saturday, April 28, 2007

The (Ab)Use Of Power

Power Corrupts! We have known this aphorism since recorded history and beyond. But does it inject imbecility as well? George W Bush vows to veto the senate vote! Would like to issue an anticipatory apology to the imbeciles for the comparison. And interestingly, he is not the only person who believes that the war is justified. Almost half of the US senate believes the same as well. I hope someone does a VLCC style ‘Before’ and ‘After’ of Iraq for him. Common people across the globe are being affected in one way or the other. The brutal killing of Suryanarayana in the not so recent past reminds us how neutral countries might be affected as well.

River and her family are moving from Baghdad. This is what she had to say about leaving:

On the one hand, I know that leaving the country and starting a new life somewhere else- as yet unknown- is such a huge thing that it should dwarf every trivial concern. The funny thing is that it’s the trivial that seems to occupy our lives. We discuss whether to take photo albums or leave them behind. Can I bring along a stuffed animal I've had since the age of four? Is there room for E.'s guitar? What clothes do we take? Summer clothes? The winter clothes too? What about my books? What about the CDs, the baby pictures?

The problem is that we don't even know if we'll ever see this stuff again. We don't know if whatever we leave, including the house, will be available when and if we come back. There are moments when the injustice of having to leave your country, simply because an imbecile got it into his head to invade it, is overwhelming. It is unfair that in order to survive and live normally, we have to leave our home and what remains of family and friends… And to what?

It's difficult to decide which is more frightening- car bombs and militias, or having to leave everything you know and love, to some unspecified place for a future where nothing is certain.

I still cannot believe that Oil and a slightly sluggish US economy prompted the US President and his coterie of yes-men into this conflict. As a bystander, I have the option of doing the helpless shrug and forgetting about this. But the problem is that I am not a bystander anymore. Such conflicts are increasingly polarizing the world. I believe this is the most significant threat to world peace since the cold-war and the nuclear arms race. Images like these can induce indignation and vengeance in the most gentle of souls. However, the political rhetoric around the conflict continues to instigate than to reconcile.

India faces a significant threat from this polarization. The Hindu-Muslim relations have been strained due to a variety of reasons. The report prepared by Justice Rajinder Sachhar highlights the failure of successive governments of assimilating the Indian Muslim into the Indian Social fabric. Given the porous borders and the strong presence of separatist elements in the country, we run a significant risk of disrupting the precarious peace in many parts of India. I do not know if we can afford the indifference of the Indian government on this issue. I do not understand the love-affair of our politicians with the technique of silent protests. What is the reason for this inexplicable silence? At least, the French had the gumption to speak-up!

At times, I think if this scenario is similar to the policy of appeasement that the European powers used during the rise of Hitler. Given the present nuclear balance, the next world war cannot be amongst nation states. It will be a wide-spread uncontrollable skirmish. Are we already into the Third World War? I really hope not!

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