Categories: Letters Opinion

Not All That Glitters is Gold: A Review of Today’s News

Rabat - The return of Peter and Elliot! A happy change from the brutality of war and the tragedies of natural disasters.

Rabat – The return of Peter and Elliot! A happy change from the brutality of war and the tragedies of natural disasters.

It had to be an imaginary world invited back from the past. Is it nostalgia for a wasted possibility of coexistence, the recovery of lost courage, the fascination of magic reborn or the search for new forms of adventure which nothing more than the hypothetical innocence of childhood can provide? A promise of life: could the extended arm of Robert Redford now touch the green light it had failed to a few movies earlier, or is the hope as fake as Daisy’s loyalty?

Not everyone gets a chance to go on vacation. It must be hardest on the children who never do. For populations in war zones, leisure is a luxury forbidden to dream of. The sight of a clear sky is unreachable for many. Not all qualified athletes earn a medal or have the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games. Some have to hide after they have blown whistles!

He who celebrated before he made the jump must surely have suffered the most. Self-assurance was good to display, but counting with others would have been much wiser for him. He should never have forgotten that a medal is never won until it rests on your chest. Disappointment can reveal the true self even of a rooster.

The nature of some issues is not so clear cut. You are never sure whether they are political, social, cultural or religious. The current talk about the burkini is a case in point. Does wearing something in a country make it legitimate in another? How acceptable is the argument that what is allowed or prohibited somewhere should equally be allowed or prohibited everywhere else? What is a standard or a modest swimming suit like? Some evoke the right to wear whatever they wish in a free country. Others claim the right for society to define what is to be worn and what is not! Where does right lie in this issue: to wear or not to wear a burkini? These are quite disconcerting attitudes towards swimming garments, if that is what the issue is really about!

Powers are being imbalanced in the Middle East as China gets out of the closet. In fact, the Russian led coalition is both growing in size and acquiring new strategic contours. China, Iran, and perhaps Turkey in the near future are joining the Russians in their support of the Syrian government. Yemen is bombarded with US and British made weapons under U.S. and British assistance. Experts say Saudi Arabia cannot fly a single plane nor shoot one bullet without the technical support of the U.S. military, making casualties among the civilian population. The official position of the UK and the United States is that they are on the side of the legitimate government. The concept of legitimacy poses an additional constraint, however. Erdogan is on a hot ejection seat. His belligerent attitudes towards minorities claiming autonomy will not be tolerated for long by his traditional NATO allies. Well, that is not our problem, ours is to understand how armies engaged in a region can be allies a few hundred miles away.

Political discourse meant for the populace is over simplistic and intentionally avoids the details that count unless politicians themselves are uncultured and ignorant of the complexities of the issues about which they talk. To what extent is, for example,

the Republican candidate to the US presidency, aware that his suggestion to ally with whomever fights ISIS actually implying that he is ready to remove Hizbu Allah from the terrorist lists, to conduct military actions in coordination with Iran, and to acknowledge Russia’s pretensions over the region apparently forgetting that he had categorized them as evil.

May it be that now that territories are being recovered, and ISIS seems to be giving way in its tight hold of Mosul, everyone is adjusting to the new developments and trying to find a spot on the champion’s podium. The dual challenge will still be, on the one hand, how to tell the tears of joy from those of bitterness and how to cull jihadis in the processions of returnees, and on the other hand, how to reconcile the rising trend of rejection of globalization and openness to the call for “extreme, extreme vetting” and total ban of entry to the USA of visitors from terrorism prone regions ? the newly coined appellation for Arab and Muslim countries ? and the surges of war, economic, and climate related immigration.

As soon as Anjem Choudary was convicted of radicalization, recruiting for ISIS and of inspiring violence and extremism, uneasy feelings broke out among populations that have in no way been associated with radicalism and extremism in the past. It is a phenomenon to watch closely.

Desolation scenes, floods, forest fires, arson, men and women watching, helpless, their homes being eaten up by fire. Many casualties. The impotency of man. Technology still falls too short of handling such tasks.

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