Category Archives: World

Who Triggered Rohingya Crisis? Myanmar or Islamists?

Rohingya refugee crisis is consistently hitting the headlines of late. Rohingyas are a community of Bengali speaking Muslims who have been living in Myanmar’s Rakhine state for a long time. Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country, and as many other countries, it is also facing the threat of Islamic terrorism. The Islamists are waging a bloody insurgency to carve a separate Muslim state out of Myanmar.

The Rohingya Muslim terrorists, in the month of August, launched well-coordinated attacks on police stations and killed around a dozen policemen and also killed many Hindu and Buddhist civilians. According to news reports, the violence unleashed by the Rohingya terrorists had cut short the lives of around hundred people. The police and military launched a massive retaliatory campaign against the terrorists and scores of civilians appear to have caught in the crossfire, which is resulting in the displacement of lakhs of Rohingya Muslims. This exodus made the already poverty-stricken Rohingyas lead squalid lives in refugee camps. The international aid agencies are making appeals to the world community to extend a helping hand to Rohingyas. However, not many countries are willing to take them. The most important reason appears to be that these Rohingyas are all Muslims.

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Many nations appear to feel that Muslims are not amenable to peaceful coexistence with other religious communities though they don’t publicly admit to it. There is also a widespread feeling that Muslims are prone to be easily radicalized and recruited by terrorist organizations. All these fears are making the countries in Asia very apprehensive of Rohingyas and are reluctant to let them in. Even the Muslim majority countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia are not ready to take the Rohingyas and instead they ask other nations to invite them into their countries. If we have a close look at the Islamic world, most of the Muslim countries have slipped into chaos and very few of them are enjoying relative peace. The Muslim nations, when a crisis situation arises, close doors for their fellow Muslims and start playing victimhood with a sinister intention to add fuel to the flames of Islamist terror all across the world.

Throughout the world, the radical Islamists are popularizing the pan-Islamist concept of ‘Ummah’. They are on a mission to unite the Muslims all over the world with an intention to use them to Islamize the non-Muslim societies. The mushrooming Islamic terror organizations are provoking Muslims everywhere, triggering the flames of separatism among them. The wealthy Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia are funding these terror organizations. The brainwashing and weapons training are done in Pakistan, the motherland of all terror. Ata Ullah, the leader of Islamist terror organization called ‘Harakah al-Yakin’, which triggered the current spate of violence in Myanmar, was born in Pakistan and even underwent terror training in it. It is all happening in the name of ‘Ummah’ and establishing a ‘Caliphate’.

Many Muslim organizations are carrying out protest demonstrations against the repression of Rohingyas. But they conveniently ignore the fact that raising ultra-conservatism among Muslims, their inherent inability to peacefully co-exist with non-Islamic societies and the violence unleashed by a Rohingya terrorist organization called ‘Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’ aka ‘Harakah al-Yakin’ are to a great extent the root causes of the present crisis. It has become a fashion for the Islamic clerics to call every insurgent as a ‘mujahideen’ and claim that they are waging a ‘Jihad’. But they must also realize the fact that ‘one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist’ and no country keeps quiet when its unity and sovereignty are challenged. The Muslim clergy’s infatuation with ‘Ummah’ and their ‘Jihadi’ outcry are causing many problems. However, Muslims are not able to come out of the grip of their narrow-minded clergy.

The international community’s reaction to the Rohingya crisis is not balanced and appears to be largely biased. It seems that the international community is merely trying to be politically correct. The sorry plight of Rohingya Muslims is indeed a cause for concern but at the same time, the world community has miserably failed in condemning the Islamic separatism and terrorism that has been spreading in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. The world community has not been doing enough to curb the spread of ultra-conservative and pan-Islamic sentiments, which have reached epidemic proportions. Its reluctance to take affirmative action against Islamist terror has emboldened the Muslim clergy to radicalize the Muslim youths with impunity.

The time has come for the Muslim world to come out of the tight grip of the ultra-conservative clergy and move towards prosperity in the path of modernity. Obsession with religion and Jihadist outcry will only push this world further into chaos. Most of the nations in the contemporary world are facing the dual problems of overpopulation and limited resources. Taking refugees will only impose an additional burden on them. And moreover, the kind of dramatic spike in terror attacks the Europe has been witnessing after the refugee influx from some failed Islamic nations has made most of the countries increasingly vary of Muslims refugees. The Muslim community, especially its clergy, must realize the fact that this world is not only for Muslims and they have to cultivate the habit of peaceful coexistence with all other religious communities.

There are many people who are criticising the Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, of not doing anything to protect the Rohingya Muslims and even demanded that she be stripped of her Nobel Peace Prize. This kind of statements reflect the sheer ignorance of the people who make them. They can’t expect Suu Kyi to put her nation’s security at peril just to safeguard her Nobel Prize. Despite the volley of contemptuous statements against her that are replete with ignorance, her reputation as a strong proponent of peace will last forever.

Last but not least, people who never uttered even a single word condemning the Islamist terror are now hitting the streets to speak for Rohingya Muslims. Had they been vocal enough in condemning the unceasing terror, had they been ferocious enough in abhorring the unending violence that is being perpetrated against humanity in the name of religion, things would not have reached this sorry state and lakhs of Rohingyas who have been fleeing Myanmar and living in squalid conditions in refugee camps would have been saved from the agony.

Indian and Chines soldiers

Peaceful end to Doklam standoff

They jostled, threw stones, and issued threats against each other but not even a single shot was fired. Asia’s two nuclear neighbors, India and China, managed their border dispute well and in a responsible manner.

Though China indulged in a lot of sabre-rattling to force India to withdraw, India exercised commendable restraint and persisted with its opposition to China’s efforts to unilaterally redraw the borders. China, of late, has been trying to grab its neighbors’ lands and seas through flexing its military muscle. The decline of the United States as a predominant power in this hitherto unipolar world has also emboldened China to act in a macho manner to expand its territory.

India and China, though fall under the category of developing countries, spend a large amount of money on defense. India procured nuclear weapons and spending billions of dollars on importing conventional weapons. All this money could be better utilized to bring about improvement in the lives of the people who are leading squalid lives in the numerous slums spread all across the country. It is also a fact that China is years ahead in technology, industrialization, and military modernization and fares far better than India in many developmental parameters. It, therefore, appears to be not ready to put all its achievements at stake and go for an avoidable war with India. Even India, with its teeming millions leading squalid lives and rampant corruption and misgovernance plaguing its society, is not in a position to wage a war against a formidable force such as China. India, though it boasts of maintaining a vast standing army, is not able to tackle its north-western neighbor, Pakistan, which is making it bleed through a thousand cuts by sponsoring cross-border terrorism. Against this backdrop, it would be over ambitious on India’s part if it feels that it can achieve something by escalating a conflict situation with China.

The Doklam episode should make people and nations realize the fact that in this age of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and ultra-connected globalized world no one can act irresponsibly. The spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons created a situation, where it is impossible to wage a war without suffering collateral damage. Humanity survived the first and second world wars mostly because there was no wide spread possession of nuclear weapons and the US, which was the only country to possess a nuclear weapon during the Second World War, emerged victorious by using it against Japan. Now the situation, however, is entirely different. The nuclear proliferation and falling of these weapons in the hands of the rogue nations such as North Korea and Pakistan has made this world certainly more precarious. It is highly unlikely that the humanity will survive if a Third World War breaks out.
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One more reason behind India and China settling their dispute through diplomatic channels appears to be economic. China has a strong manufacturing base and the people in India prefer Chinese products owing to their inexpensive nature. Even India is trying to build a robust manufacturing base in the expectation that it would provide employment opportunities to its teeming millions. The geographical proximity of these two Asian neighbors made them inextricably intertwined with each other both politically and economically and therefore, are not in a position to go to a war.

There are hot heads on both sides of the borders who indulged in a lot of warmongering but their attempts to unleash a nationalistic hysteria to trigger a war was finally overwhelmed by sensible measures taken by the conciliationists. Let us all hope that the peace will prevail all along India’s border for a long time if not perpetually.

Remake globalization to preserve it for future.

French far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, was apparently referring to Brexit and Trump’s victory when she stated “2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up. 2017, I am sure, the people of continental Europe will wake up”. These two events signify the backlash of the western working class against globalization, which facilitated the unhindered movement of the three ‘M’s – Men, Materials and Money, which they feel is working against their interests.

Around thirty years ago, the fall of the Berlin Wall, a watershed moment in history, heralded the retreat of communism and the advance of the free market capitalism and globalization. The globalization, which reduced various barriers, narrowed down the distances and softened the national boundaries, brought together the entire humanity as never before, transforming the world into a sort of global village. But is globalization really such a wonderful phenomenon which proved to be a panacea to the problems faced by the humankind?

Corporates rule the roost

It is a well-known fact that big business corporations, which assumed the mantle of running the globalized world, always ensure that the words such as human welfare and social justice don’t exist in their dictionaries. Globalization has enabled them to source the 3 ‘M’s from where they are cheapest and sell their produce where they fetch the highest price, making super profits in the process. They even have done away with the human element to a great extent by opening fully automated smart factories, where they employ only a handful of people. Therefore, the biggest beneficiaries of the globalization are the investors of the big business corporations, who accumulated enormous wealth, which resulted in the concentration of economic power in the hands of a select few.

The people in the developed world found their opportunities snatched away by the developing world, where the labor is relatively cheaper. They also found their markets inundated with the cheaper goods manufactured in the emerging economies.

Globalization has allowed the third world countries such as China, India, Mexico and Malaysia to leverage upon their core competencies to make rapid strides in economic growth. But even in these countries the impressive growth in the GDP numbers is accompanied by very little growth in employment opportunities.

Cost cutting, downsizing, consolidation, corporate tax cuts and bailouts, which became the buzzwords among the business circles, benefit only business corporations causing damage to the livelihoods of the working class.

Is terrorism the darker side of globalization?

Globalization opened doors for the people from the third world to their lands of dreams. However, some of these migrants, especially from the ultra-conservative, authoritarian Muslim world, found it difficult to integrate into the mainstream societies of their host countries. This incompatibility, coupled with the western interventions in the Muslim world, brought terror to the very heart of the western world triggering a wave of Islamophobia. An increasing number of westerners started perceiving this as a darker side of the globalization and feel that the counter-globalization, advocated by the right wing, is the only way to defeat terrorism.

The common man, who felt the pinch of jobless growth and unceasing terrorist violence, voted for building walls and imposing tariffs.

Protectionist policies will invariably have a domino effect. When one country erects protectionist barriers the others will definitely follow suit, and the net effect of these actions is a gradual de-globalization.

Run businesses with a human touch

The big business corporations must realize the fact the globalization is like a golden goose, which fetches good monetary rewards as long as they run their businesses with a human touch. Running businesses sans human touch is akin to greed induced killing of the golden goose called globalization. Corporate bigwigs and the state heads must also understand the fact that money and technology, which are the creations of the humankind, should be subservient to the humans and must contribute to the welfare of the entire humanity. Unfortunately, things are happening the other way round, heralding an extremely precarious situation which is akin to ‘tail wagging the dog’.

Involve all stakeholders in remaking globalization

The working class in the developed world and the emerging world appear to be equally discontented with the phenomenon of globalization. However, unfortunately they don’t have any avenues to express their discontent except protesting in front of the venues of global economic summits, where no one even listens to them.

The opinion makers, who are disconnected from the reality on the ground, are busy blaming the right wing. They are unmindful of the fact that the globalization is being misused by the corporates and politicians to promote their narrow self-interests, and by doing so, they made the situation ripe for the right wing to thrive, which is potentially disastrous to the humanity.

The need of the hour, if globalization is to survive, is to remake it to work for everyone. The human society can no longer afford the jobless growth and any growth in the GDP must be accompanied by a parallel growth in the jobs. Technology should be utilized only where it contributes to the maximum good for the maximum number of people.

In the words of Jaggi Singh, an anti-globalization and social justice activist: Our struggle is about changing the world. It is about creating structures, institutions, frameworks, communities and neighborhoods that are based on the values of social justice, mutual aid, solidarity and direct democracy. These are the golden words that must be followed by the entire humanity to save peace and ultimately save the globalization itself. For that to happen, the most important prerequisite is providing voice to the voiceless and involving all the stakeholders, not just corporates and politicians, in remaking globalization.

remake globalization

This article was published in the editorial page of Telangana Today newspaper on 15th Feb 2017 with the title “Rethink and Remake Globalisation”.

MyarticleonGlobalization

The link to the article is given here-under:

http://telanganatoday.news/rethink-and-remake-globalisation

 

Has the world run out of ideas on how to combat terrorism?

These days, terrorists are striking and extinguishing the lives of innocent civilians almost on a daily basis.  Hardly a day goes by without reading terror related news. The behavior of the terrorists is akin to that of the monstrous character, Grendel, in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, Beowulf. Grendel does not like music. The moment he would hear music from the mead hall in his vicinity, he would attack it and kill the Danes who were reveling inside it. It took a mighty warrior called Beowulf to slay the monster and give respite to the Danes.  The behavior of the terrorists is no different. It appears that they don’t like people celebrating. They can’t tolerate people being happy and prosperous.  They are driven by extreme bigotry and vengefulness. The way the world is trying to tackle the problem, there appears to be no end to the mayhem perpetrated by the terrorists.

There are signs that terrorists are getting increasingly tech savvy and innovative. They are exploiting the cyber space to radicalize and recruit the youngsters from all the four corners of the world. They are even using innovative methods to kill people, such as driving trucks to maim unsuspecting people who gather in large numbers to celebrate an occasion. Lone wolf attacks have become very common.  The law enforcement authorities appear to be clueless as to which direction the threat is emerging and therefore, are not able to take any preemptive action.

After every successful terror attack that snuffs out the precious lives of innocent civilians, we find the world divided. The people who claim themselves as liberals try to disassociate Islam from terrorism and opine that Islam has nothing to do with the terror-related violence. They say that only a miniscule percentage of misguided youth are participating in terrorist activities and an overwhelming majority of Muslims are against violence. It may be true, but the fact of the matter is there is a problem and the problem is too intense and deadly to be ignored or overlooked. Certainly, we can’t blame the entire community for the faults of a small percentage of misguided youth. However, it is also a fact that Islam and Muslims have a problem. Otherwise, the entire Islamic world would not have turned into a sea of chaos. Denying this fact is no longer in the interest of the humanity’s future.

When a person or a community has a problem, it invariably requires reforming itself and the first step towards reformation is introspection. Introspection happens only when we encourage dissent and open debate. However, the Muslim world appears to be averse to any debate. The reason could be lack of democratic traditions in Muslim societies and their disinclination to promote free thinking and tolerate dissent. The dissenters in the Muslims world, who try to kindle introspective thoughts among their fellow Muslims, are being branded as apostates. Their voices are suppressed and they are thoroughly marginalized. And in some countries like Bangladesh, they are butchered mercilessly. Even the media and the liberals, fearing a backlash from Muslims, are not ready to give any credence to the reformatory and dissenting voices that emerge from within Islam.

When someone makes an insane comment against either Islam or Muslims, a large number of Muslims get enraged, take to the streets and resort to violence. But at the same time, we don’t find to see an equally strong response against terrorism that is carried out in the name of Islam.

The moderate Muslims indeed denounce terrorism, but while doing so, they make a futile attempt to subtly justify the mindless acts of violence committed by the terrorists by referring to the so-called injustices done to Muslims in various Muslim lands by non-Muslims, especially the Jews and Christians. So the thing that is widely perceived is, Muslims are unable to or rather not unwilling to denounce Islamic terror as strongly and wholeheartedly as it is required of them.

There is also an attempt made by many commentators to divert the attention from the real issue and link the socio-economic status of Muslims to the rising trend of radicalization. However, the facts prove otherwise. Many Muslim youth who are joining ISIS are well-off and highly educated professionals. Therefore, the attempt to subtly justify the acts of terror by linking them to the socio-economic conditions of the perpetrators is not only mischievous but also has the potential to embolden the terrorists and thereby aggravate the problem.

The ceaseless terror attacks have made people to arrive at certain assumptions by default. The moment a violent act which results in a large number of fatalities is reported, believe it or not, people invariably come to a conclusion that Islamic terrorists must have committed the act. So the Islamic terror has become the standard default assumption for all the violent acts intended to eliminate innocent civilians.

In the aftermath of every terror act, many people criticize religion-inspired terrorism. It is perfectly natural and unavoidable. However, those who are critical of religion inspired terror are branded as racists, Islamophobes or xenophobes, and an effort is being made to stigmatize those who question terror. This is a dangerous trend and clearly an attempt to thwart free expression. Obviously, the world can’t be run as per the ‘Sharia’ and it is very surprising to see even the west, which is considered to be an epitome of liberalism, democracy and free thinking, has jumped on the bandwagon. Promoting the voices of dissent especially from within Islam is the need of the hour and is in the best interest of both Muslims and the wider humanity, though the people who try to instigate blind hatred against Muslims much not be spared.

All the freethinkers who are concerned about freedom of expression must denounce the attempts to stigmatize those who question religion inspired terror. The strategy is unsustainable in the long run and will only breed the right-wing forces who exploit the situation to fan anti-Muslim sentiments on a large scale. The best examples are Narendra Modi and Donald Trump. The mainstream media, which is led by the liberals, went overboard to attack Modi and Trump and made every effort to trivialize and stigmatize them. However, they miserably failed to realize the fact that they both are smart and astute politicians and have the capability to exploit the situation in their favor. They know how to build stairs by using the stones thrown at them to ascend to the highest offices. The liberals indirectly aided Modi to become the Prime Minister of India and if we go by the indications, they may even end up pushing Trump into the White House very soon.

The fact is the left liberals, through their statements and actions breed and strengthen the rightist forces.  In every post-terror attack scenario, we find an intense debate that is highly polarizing. We can avoid this polarizing atmosphere in the aftermath of every terror attack, which has the potential to further enrage people. The fact is the terror apologists, who make banal statements such as “Islam is a religion of peace, there is no link between religion and terror, Islam has nothing to do with terror, and terrorists are just a bunch of misguided youth”, are as dangerous as the people who fan anti-Muslim sentiments. The answer to ‘Islamic Terror’ doesn’t lie in removing the word ‘Islam’ from the phrase. It lies in realizing the fact that the Islamic world has indeed a problem and therefore, requires reformation from within so that lasting peace could be established on the mother earth to secure the lives of the future generations.