City of Lights – Awakening Conscience

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“EVERYONE IS RESPONSIBLE TO EVERYONE FOR EVERYTHING.” – F. Dostoevsky

These words I found during my visit to the headquarters of the Red Cross / Red Crescent in Geneva Switzerland. I was at the time visiting the “RC” as the global displaced population was beginning to spiral upwards beyond anyone’s contemplation. With me during the visit was Michel Muller, my friend and fellow Co-Founder at the Institute of International Relations. The quote was simple and powerful and caused a pause of reflection. Nothing man written better declares our human relationship to one another.

The Terror attacks in Paris struck the life out of a 129 lives in a jolt, injured many and scared indelibly the lives of many more for the remainder of their mortal existence. This act triggered a burst of global outrage most notably from individuals, generally over a myriad of social media platforms. The responses were of emotion, as well as prudence. The emotional responses ranged from hate, driven by fear and ignorance to the overwhelming reactions that were of care and compassion. The attack in Paris, this one occurrence alone, raised a cry from every corner of our world – ultimately drawing attention to the atrocities done everyday that are not taken into notice. Noted was the terror attack the week before in Beirut, where many more lives were lost but the occurrence failed in reporting in western media and the global outcry was SILENCE.

Far too many issues that went unnoticed or had simply become the mundane of everyday news suddenly found life in debate, open information sharing, voices arose asking questions and seeking answers. The unrest of the general public led to asking, WHY and HOW and WHO, about trampling social and geo political issues. Our societal freedoms and liberties, indeed our humanity and self-determination are predicated on valued governance that is not predominately covert in its actions. Much has been sparked and triggered by the Paris terror attack. Consciousness has been awakened and raised – may our search for answers not become victim to the passage of time. The occurrences which have disturbed our conscience and sensibility warrant answers.

We have come to recognize that there are overwhelming yet surmountable issues impacting our humanity and our world today. That many nations whether by culture, of people or sovereignty, of ideology and dogma wield their power and influence over lives – paying no attention to the sanctity of life – even though each professes to be better for life?

We may not be disillusioned for we are closer to a world war than we were during the cold war period. We see the gun powder keg in the middle-east where conflagrations were started by design with use of proxy(ies) and tools of duplicity and covert actions – all in the name of national security of various competing national interests. What started with proxy presence is now beginning to show the appearance of the proxy dispenser(s).

Geo-political spheres of influence are being surgically re-carved. Financial gains from the sale of arms promoted to levels that were incalculable, and profits from illicit and sanctionable trade of commodities continue to propel armed conflict.

Nations and people as history has already established do not prevail with duplicity, concealment or covert actions that especially predominate the strategy of domestic or foreign policy. With respect to matters of foreign policy and covert means we have seen the creation and resulting mutations of assets from the Mujaheddin, to the Taliban to al-Qaeda, to now ISIS. What appears to be the expedient and prudent response to circumstance, when implemented by covert and subversive actions tend to mutate beyond the scope for which the asset was conceived. Great societies are not great by wealth or military superiority alone – for these assets ultimately and assuredly are fleeting. Great societies are great when they prevail on virtues of integrity and forthrightness, culture, science, arts and literature.

“We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers that are cited to justify it. .… Even today there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it” – John F. Kennedy, President of the United States – April 27, 1961

Refugee and displaced populations are highest in man’s recorded history even higher than was experienced in World War 2. Countries are being torn apart and national boundaries are likely to be redrawn, entire populations and cultures near eradication. Historically relevant sites have been obliterated. Children of War – whether by displacement, orphaned or as recruited combatants will leave a psychological and emotional scar that will permeate and ripple through successive generations even if all conflagrations ended forthwith.

Nations claim to act under cover of National Interest that begs the question – What is that National Interest? Attaching a label to an action or inaction for sake of absolution is not unsanctionable. Perhaps what is done in the name of National Interest requires the National Interest to be redefined, regardless of the nation.

Too much conflagration by design, fueled by greed of wealth, arrogance of military superiority, a failure of communicating and a general clash of ignorance continues to at great peril place us all in danger – in our one humanity on our one home – Earth.

The heinous act that happened in Paris on November 13, and raised open our conscience must not dissipate with time. It must arouse our vigilance to hold accountable the actions of all that compromise the integrity of humanity. Whatever fails to respect the sanctity of human life must be arrested. We are all empowered, by what is self-evident in our race – intellect, compassion and rationalization. We are therefore obliged as a global electorate to influence policy and actions, in order to bring conflagrations to conclude with forthright resolve, in respect to human life.

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About the Author

Shaan Shahrukh DHANJI

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