In the fourth of a five part special report, Ahmed Shibli, managing director of ETD Consulting sets out his own unique take on the twenty-first century to date and how several disparate events that have shaped our lives over the past twenty years may well be connected.
While many South East Asian countries had the experience of SARS and reacted quickly our leaders in the West left it too late. Even the scientific advisers were reluctant to learn from the experience of those countries. So while Vietnam, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and other countries neighbouring China, some with thousands of miles of border with China, stopped all flights and other transport from China right from day 1 and nipped the evil in the bud with deaths that could be counted on the fingers of one, or may be both, hands, we in the West paid a heavy price both in terms of life and ruined economies. The countries with populist right-wing regimes suffered most. The USA, India, UK, Brazil and Israel saw the bulk of deaths. This cannot be a pure coincidence, the common denominator is quite clear to many.
While we condemned the digital media which suddenly started showing the ‘other side of the story’ that the established media was sometimes less than enthusiastic to show, it became very popular with those seeking to know the alternative version. Thus, while the UK media covered well the brutal actions of the Hong Kong police, its coverage of the Indian army curfew in Kashmir, the year long lockdown of the masses, large scale arrest of the politicians and brutal treatment of the youth that dared to come out to protest or even to attend weddings or funerals of the loved ones was, and still is, nearly non-existent.
It is in this environment of telling the half-truths that the alternative media became popular. Similarly, the new TV media outlets such as Aljazeera and RT became popular alternative sources of storytelling. Our reaction was to blame these sources of media as pure propaganda or ‘fake’ news. Instead of improving the message we sought to shoot the messenger and thus gave more oxygen to the alternative media.
So maybe the single ‘string theory of politics’ is that if we are going to promote violence abroad through proxy or direct wars, through encouraging violent uprisings against the regimes unfriendly to us, sell arms-for-profit to the brutal regimes that we may call ‘our sons of the bitches’ in the famous words of Henry Kissinger, sell arms to Saudis to bomb helpless Yemenis and so on, and as the digital media is playing and replaying these stories and images all the time to our own dispossessed and to our minorities (Muslims or otherwise) then the kick back may be ugly. Can this possibly explain the Capitol invasion in Washington DC?
Our own population mix in the UK, Europe and North America has now significantly changed with multi-culture and multi-religious dimensions widespread. Our own indigenous new generation has been brought up and went to school with these boys and girls and do not regard the world and the society as ‘them’ and ‘us’, unlike the older generations still ruling our countries.
To be continued…