The earth is a conquered territory. Man through the power of science has ensured that. The conquest has since shifted to the outer world where man’s fertile mind found newer challenges. There have been human forays into space and the planetary bodies. Flags have even been hoisted in Mars. But all of these feats peter into inanity as the contorting contradictions of life on earth threaten the shared thread of humanity. Forget the fiendish fictions of alien invasions flashed on 3-D screens by spell-binding scripts of Hollywood. There will be no such thing as a freaky flying saucer crash-landing into the sun and throwing the earth into an endless pall of darkness. None of those surreal contraptions will make the world come to an end. But something else will. Worse still, it is here with us.
I speak of the world’s war- that ultimate clash of civilizations- for which the most potent armament has been what I choose to call the Ostrich Complex put up by world leaders. Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington in their astounding theses, ‘The End of History and the Last Man’ and ‘The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order’ respectively, have already highlighted the foundations of what confronts mother earth today. My contribution here is that the current existence of mankind presents an anti-thesis that opens leads for a search for fresh explanations of the hysteria of today’s world.
Regrettably, political leaders in world capitals have chosen to look away while the world convulses in utter contrition. The pretensions, wrong diagnosis, choices and grandstanding by world leaders over the ages have led to the grim reality of fear, insecurity, and brutish attacks stalking the face of the earth. We now live in a world where no one feels safe. The high and mighty; low and lowliest; and the haves and haves-not all now live in barricades of panic and paranoia. Little else paints this picture of a world defined by fear and terror than the worldwide travel alert issued by the United States Department of States this week to all US citizens. As posted on its website (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/worldwide-travel-alert.html) accessed Wednesday November 25, the warning states: “The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests. This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.” If the world’s renowned super power can issue this kind of anxious alert then the default deduction is that the world is at war.
The media has rightly or wrongly framed this war as one between the few bad guys and the rest of ‘us’ good folks. We have been fed with the feeds of friction between the inhuman minds of terrorists holed up in the hills of Afghanistan and the humane hearts of innocent citizens straddling the cities of global capitals. The world has been made to accept the questionable dichotomy of contrived profiling along the lines of race, region, and religion. But underneath all of these facades the hard truth is that the world is reaping the fruits of seeds sown centuries ago. This is the stark reality that the world (read political leaders) has refused to reconcile itself with. And until it does and makes recompense and appropriate restitutions, the fear that the world is in for an inelastic circle of concentric crisis shaped by terror will continue to control our lives. And the clash of civilizations will increasingly take more terrifying dimensions if this is not done. Or at least seen to being done. It is a big irony to some extent that civilization is clashing after it has opened the eyes and unstopped the ears of those hitherto blind and deaf. That is why a boko haram terrorist sect which proclaims that western education is sin is shamelessly deploying the benefits of such learning to propagate its evil ideology through technological breakthroughs of file and video sharing on the internet.
It is sad that the ferocious audacity of terror thrives on a global infrastructure that stretches intangibly from the cosy comfort of a Boston bedroom to the Parisian peace of Saint Denis. From Benghazi to Brussels; Aleppo to Algiers; and from Lebanon to Lille, the encrypted messages of terror are circulated among cells which shell out chilling attacks leaving tales of blood, broken limbs and busted brains behind. It is benumbing that these things happen in spite of the trumpeted sophistication of counter-terrorism measures by world super powers.
The coordinated multiple terrorist attacks on Paris a fortnight ago which left scores of persons dead and hundreds injured introduces a far more deadly tweak to the reign of terror being unleashed by men and women who kill in the name of Allah. Whatever scale of success recorded in that evil operation has no doubt, given further impetus to the robed mullahs who speedily bring the religion of Islam embraced by people of peace in many parts of the world, to disrepute. That is why just days after the Paris episode, Yola and Kano went up in boko haram blasts that left scores of bodies dismembered. Against the background of a brief break from bombing, the evil sect apparently picked inspiration from ISIL to which it has since pledged allegiance and broke the temporary moratorium forced by an increased military onslaught on its bases in the North-east of Nigeria.
The spine-chilling terror incident in France which occurred days after a Russian airliner was bombed in Egypt, has unchained a wave of anxiety the world has never seen since the end of the cold war. Not even the atrocious 9/11 strike on New York resonated so much panic across the world like the terrorist raid on Paris. The world is on lockdown and a peace of the graveyard reigns everywhere. This point is explained more succinctly by the US global travel alert I take the liberty to quote once again: “Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis. Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services. In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali. ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.”
The world must unite to fight terror inspired by religious fundamentalism with all its might. But to the extent to which the clash of civilizations uprooted (and is still uprooting) ingrained cultures, ancestral identities, and pillaging (under whatever guise) the resources of those presumed to be conquered, the consequences of such pyrrhic victories will continue to manifest in violent recriminations. It is time for the world to discard the Ostrich complex and do the needful. That is one sure way to win the world’s war.
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