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Deeper Malaise


With a hundred odd hostages in its captivity, Hamas is in a position to lay down terms and conditions for the proposed ‘ceasefire’ with Israel. That is the value Israel gives to the lives of its citizens. However, Hamas will not agree to Israel’s conditions to save the Palestinians, who have already been killed in the tens of thousands. It is being reported worldwide that hundred percent of Palestinians are facing starvation, but they are still not being given refuge by neighbouring countries despite all the declared humanitarian concerns. This is because of the fear that the Palestinians will not be able to, or not wish to, return to their homeland. Contrast this with the refuge given by India to more than ten million refugees from East Pakistan before the 1971 war.

This clearly shows that, despite the claims about the global community having established universal conventions on helping human beings in need, in practice there are different rules for different people. ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ is a concept that will still take some time to be internalised in many parts of the world. Even in India, where this has been an established philosophy, there are sections that oppose refuge to persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh for the most specious reasons.

The reason for this lies in the desire to seem rather than actually be politically correct. All kinds of reasons can be given for the convenience of doing nothing, rather than get caught up in the difficulties of doing the right thing and getting one’s hands ‘dirty’. The ego, or the adherence to a non-comprising belief system, gets in the way of righteous action. Otherwise, the conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine would have been speedily resolved. The likes of Putin would rather destroy the world than admit they made a mistake.

One reason for the present situation is also the fact that the agencies of the global community, such as the United Nations, still reflect the past dominance of the ‘great powers’. They have not evolved with the changing times, and can no longer ‘impose’ solutions on the rest of the world. The long-pending necessary reforms in the UN’s structure have been repeatedly thwarted. This has meant that the potential contribution and participation of much of the world is rendered unavailable. It needs to be realised that the ongoing conflicts are not so much the problem but symptoms of the deeper malaise. Only then can there be a sensible response to the many challenges the planet faces.