While another year is about to conclude, a number of major global issues still remain. In 2018, we inflicted more wounds on humanity compared to the previous year. Hence, what are we celebrating on December 31?
By Rafiq Jan
In 2018, instability and populist unrest seemed to be the order of the day. Global unrest had made its way to the streets of bustling towns across Europe. Tides of rage, emanating from ordinary citizens, predict the looming dangers and rough seas ahead for governments and the ruling elites around the world.
The United States of America, an already a divided country under the rule of Donald Trump, is heading towards a final show down of a two-year long investigation on controversial and severely contorted presidential elections. Donald Trump’s follow-up in the post-election affairs, combined with numerous irresponsible blusters, will play a major role in his imminent future in 2019.
The upheavals playing in Britain, France, Belgium and some other European countries present very familiar and common undercurrents, caused by the similar forces…. a rebellion against the globalization and most importantly a “distrust of the traditional leaders”. A fear that gradually stokes the discontent and grievances in public may turn into a fireball to roil the political landscape of other continents in 2019.
A lingering war in Syria and Yemen has also killed millions and left those who survived without shelter and basic needs. This has been a blatant slap on the face of the 21st century leaders who brag about their honest intentions to make this world a better and a more peaceful place. These wars have already exacted a heinous price and all the international efforts have so far proven futile in the region.
In the Middle East, the relocating of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was another deliberate attempt by Donald Trump to keep the region unstable and volatile. War-raged Syria, Iraq and Libya continue carrying their own corpses on exhausted shoulders each day.
In the Gulf Arab peninsula, the apparent intransigence of inexperienced leadership in Saudi Arabia continued for the second year. Its policies of refusing to reinstate its relations with Qatar have been condoned by super powers despite multiple endeavors by the Qatari leadership to resolve all the differences amicably. Human rights violations also remained a concern for Saudi Arabia, especially with the suspicious murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Propped up attacks in Afghanistan by the Taliban this year also killed scores of Afghan soldiers, U.S. security personnel and innocent civilians. An unending plight of a nation fighting for its survival and a respectful status has therefore continued and presents a bleak picture for 2019.
Atrocities in the Indian occupied Kashmir also went up in the last two years as a continuation of the right-wing anti-Muslim narrative in India. Killing of youth, as policy of ethnic cleansing, goes unnoticed on all the international forums including the United Nations. The deafening silence of the Indian public over brutality of their security forces is also a matter of concern. A despicable lack of outrage inside India over the carnage appears to have successfully swayed the so-called human rights activists in the West, European Union and the powerful Arab countries to its perspective.
As years progress, more and more miseries are piling up around the world. More women are widowed by wars each day. More girls are left without education or skills to support their families. Rape and domestic violence has increased exponentially. Girls being pulled out of schools due to poverty and children falling sick, from diseases that had long been eradicated from developed and civilized world, are other issues of concern haunting the developing world.
So, all the while, dizzyingly complex conflicts keep grinding on. What began as merely political turf battles in apparently failing states, have taken on the frames of fully-fledged regional proxy and civil wars.
We may be living in “modern times” in terms of human history, but it is a stark reality that this world is still far from achieving universal human rights. We may call ourselves “civilized”, but mother earth is sinking into deep obscurantism and wilderness. If we fail to constructively and critically cogitate and reflect on the year 2018, and learn from our mistakes, how can we step into the New Year with fresh spirits and a sense of fulfillment?