Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD. : –
Besieged Humanity: From Nowhere to Nowhere
International institutions of peace and security are fraught with indifference and incapacity to deal with the emerging humanitarian crises. What led to the making of Two World Wars is happening again to repeat the history. Humanity is victimized and its freedom is barbed wired to seek help. With marked difference, refugees are often identified as “economic migrant” as if Europeans were the glittering gold mines of the 21st century economic prosperity. The EU has policies and practices but not for the Arab-Muslim refugees to come to Europe. Nobody dares to face the pertinent reality ahead of the global political changes. Mostly Muslims and highly cultured and civilized people dragged at gunpoint out of their ancestral homes into the nowhere. Sailing on rubber dingy across oceans because unwanted wars and conflicts made them displaced and unwanted everywhere. Umm Abdullah 28 and alone, Syrian mother of two starving and sick kids ages 2 and 4 years consoled them at Lesbos – Greece Island as if she knows what is next under the open sky. A Syrian father of two toddlers took bodies of his children and wife to bury them back in Kobani after they drowned on the dingy at Turkish island. There is no place for the living and dead- a reality that haunts the human consciousness. Where do they go when they are nowhere on the planet. The world political governance is systematic and conducive if there were not Muslims or Arabs refugees. Hungarian leadership made it known “they don’t want Muslim refugees” to crossover its borders onward to the EU countries. French spokesman described the Hungarian border razor wires “not even suitable for animals.” Hungarian leaders blame Germany for enticing the Arab refugees to march through the barbed wires. Conscientious of the humanitarian saga, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the only leader to envisage a peaceful place for the war torn refugees from the Middle East. Out of the coaxed stubborn and boxed global politics, Angela Merkel certainly made Germany look abroad and remarkably above the European pride and prejudices towards Islam and Muslims. There are numbers and people in search of compassionate mankind. Do the States and leaders have human conscience? Or is it an abstract entity of the philosophical paper-based dry ink substance?
West Europeans lack unity and vision to deal with such large unwanted and colored humanity wanting to live amongst them as if they were the role model for the rest of peaceful mankind. The EU members are one with diversity of nationalism, cultures and varied civilizations. West Europeans do have unity of the minds but it is focused on competitive security, militarization and animosity factors if some would challenge the EU security and cultural homogeneity in a fast changing global theater. Ostensibly, some EU leaders are taking the back seat on the current crisis of unthinkable humanitarian proportion and not necessarily within their perceptions and means to tackle. They don’t have to and is not their national priority. Is it an exclusively West Europeans states and people’s responsibility to deal with the Arab-Muslim refugee crisis? What about the
affluent and prosperous oil-exporting Arab-Muslim countries? How come they are not coming forward to even talk and say anything rational about this humanitarian tragedy of their own making? Why have the war and killings and forcible displacement of people gone so long for 12 years in Iraq and Afghanistan and five years in Syria? Are they living in a floating utopian bubble not to imagine the consequences of their wrong thinking, wrong actions and wrong outcomes? What good do the Arabs have if they cannot settle few millions of oppressed and war-torn displaced refugees? How come it is always the Christian world – the Western nations demonstrating humanitarian compassion and generosity to welcome strange and unknown refugees? Glaring examples of human compassion and reception for incoming refugees are witnessed at Munich railway station by common German citizens, and so are thousands of Austrian, Serbians, Hungarian and Swedish common people and elsewhere in Europe. Pope Francis asked all the Catholic followers to take at least one refugee family into their homes and heart. The Arab leaders exhibit dead-conscience towards their own fellow Arabs in distress and pains. To oust one egoistic and authoritarian Bashar al Assad, millions and millions are charcoaled daily by cluster bombs and chemical weapons prohibited by the so called Geneva Conventions and the spectator like UNO. One finds two critical issues appearing vital to humanitarian concerns:
1. The displaced people are result of the failure of global political institutions and leadership to find peaceful resolution of the Iraq-Syrian wars.
2. While the EU members and others are well versed in warmongering and responding to competitive security threats, they lack vision and capacity to
resolve humanitarian issues as was the case during the First World War and the
Second World War. Humanity suffered and continues to be in pains because there
are no leaders to lead the living humanity.
In Search of Global Humanitarian Leadership
One wonder, if there are any global leaders to extend humanitarian moral security to the helpless refugees going from nowhere to nowhere in search of home? Global political affairs are fast becoming a theater of absurdity. In a rational spectrum, leaders are not leading; large segments of the global mankind are enduring unthinkable moral and intellectual sickness as humanitarian and political problems are pilling up to crush the human soul and body. All wars affect people. The ongoing wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Yemen have catastrophic impacts on all aspects of human life. These conflicts were planned and sponsored by the US and West Europeans for economic and political reasons. There are laws of humanitarian intervention but not for the Arab-Muslim world to safeguard the civilian population. For centuries, Arabs-and Muslims were used as raw material and commodities to build the European empires and draw economic benefits to divide and rule the impoverished humanity. The informed global community wonders where to look for change and peacemaking that is nowhere visible on the global horizon. Man-made conflicts have disoriented and dehumanized the entire Arab region lacking optimism for sustainable future. More unthinkable conflicts originating from the Arab world are becoming thinkable menace to peaceful future-making. Those democratically
chosen and self-styled leaders talking of global peace and harmony but in reality are selling weapons of mass destruction and continue to terrorize the global humanity. None seem to have any imagination for human unity and peacemaking. All man-made problems are resolvable by people of knowledge, proactive vision, integrity and discipline. The Arab leaders are engaged in tribal warfare enflamed by the US and Europeans to market their obsolete weapons. None of the Arab conflicts make any sense when Islam sought Unity of Faith. Arab people are the net victims everywhere, be it in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, North Africa or elsewhere. What is the workable remedy? How could the global systems of governance of the few could be challenged and changed by the global agitating masses?
Towards Rethinking of Global Leadership of the People, by the People and for the People
“There are the times that try men’s soul”, noted Thomas Paine in his famous “Common Sense”, the lifeline to American freedom and intellectual development. In situations of adversity and crises, leaders represent optimism and hope for change, not egoistic agenda and confusion. The US and some European leaders are engaged in fuelling the Arab world crises with the sole aim of further militarization of the region and selling more weapons. There are no practical movements or new initiatives of any kind to address the real issues and come to terms with strategies for conflict management and conflict resolution. Could the animosity lost for ever? Despite time, enormous wealth and human resources, oil exporting Arab leaders ignored the importance of societal peace and problem-solving. There is not a single institution across the Arab world to analyze political crisis and to workout peaceful measures for political change, normalization and enhancement of dialogue for conflict management. All abnormal developments are becoming normal occurrence of human affairs as large parts of the Arab-Muslim world are entangled in foreign-generated conflicts and sectarian warfare. Often political blame game is preferred than facing the reality. At times, Western leaders blame Russia and China for the prolonged warfare in Syria and Iraq. Did the Western leaders workout and implemented any useful plan to restore peace and human dignity in the Arab world? Human cruelty knows no bound as deaths of civilians and destruction of the civic infrastructures are common place across the Arab societal setting. Most political problems stem from the authoritarian rule and indifference towards public interest. Everywhere egoistic dictators indulge in wickedness and treachery to human dignity and values.
All human cultures and civilizations have drawn essential resources to rebuild their presence and progress via migration. Strangely enough, in the 21st century of knowledge and human ingenuity, we lack workable mechanism to encourage and welcome new talents and enriched human resources from other parts of the living planet. Most EU and Arab leaders exhibit ignorance and indifference to see the mirror and take history as a living entity for future-making. Hungary is not the mouthpiece of the EU but its geography is a vital connecting dot for refugees to travel onward to other destinations in Northern Europe. Could the EU come up with a refreshed agenda to tackle the humanitarian crises? What went wrong with modern Arabs not to take few millions of
displaced human beings? Once upon a time, Arabs had moral distinction in human thinking, policies and behavior. But today, they are so entrenched in seclusion, ignorance and sectarian warfare, they just cannot see outside the self-perpetuated bubble. How can we imagine a new world of human dignity, values and tolerance? To change the world, it is incumbent upon the intellectuals, academics, visionaries, poets, philosophers and the thinking people to perceive and articulate new and creative ideas, new political imagination for the 21st century organizations to be functional for the people, by the people and accountable to the supremacy of the people’s will.
What is the cure to raging indifference and cruelty to the displaced refugees? The informed global community must come to terms to evolve a workable collective consciousness of the root causes of the problems and humanitarian discourse. If there were no economically perpetuated wars and obsessive militarization of the Arab region, and given a defined mechanism in place for conflict management and protection of the civilians in combat zones, these dehumanized refugees would not have left their ancestral homes and families to march on to Europe for a new life. Who is responsible for the crimes against humanity? One major factor encouraging the global superpowers to go freely and unchallenged out of their own hemisphere to far fetched lands and commit massacres and destroy human habitats, is the obvious corrupt system of global peace and security operated by the UNO. It is nothing more than a debating club overwhelmed by the few – the five obsolete global powers at the UN Security Council to claim legitimacy to rule the nations of the world. The UNO Secretary General relies on issuing paper-based statement and does not have the moral and intellectual capacity to foresee beyond the obvious and make his presence in situations of unusual societal conflicts and peacemaking endeavors. The UN Organization is in a desperate need of new thinking, reformation and perhaps a New Organizations for the future.
Time and encompassing opportunities warrant new thinking, new leaders and new visions for change and the future-making. But change and creativity and new visions will not emerge out of the obsolete, redundant and failed authoritarianism of the few insane leaders. None have the understanding of neither peace nor respect for human life and co-existence in a splendid Universe. To challenge the deafening silence of the global political systems, Arab leaders and some West Europeans for global peace and security, the humanity must find ways and means to look beyond the obvious and troublesome horizons dominated by the few warlords and continued to be plagued with massacres, displacement of innocent civilians, barbarity against human culture and civilizations, destruction of the habitats and natural environment as if there were no rational being and people of reason populating the God-given splendid and living Universe.
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution, and comparative Western-Islamic cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest one: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, May 2012).