>Cold War! Take 2! Action!

>The face of the world as we have all known it is undergoing a sea change in these turbulent times. The gears of the world order are grinding for the first time in decades and everything from the political to the legal to the cultural are merging, clashing and bending in the face of all that is happening around us. No longer are the lines of power, religion, race, culture and creed as clear as they used to be.
The super powers of the globe aren’t what they once were and the weak, underdeveloped nations are rising into prominence. For the first time in ages, the wars of religion are overtaking the political and racial wars that have dominated us for so long. The clashes of World War 2 and the earlier wars like the American Civil War where it was about race are now but a memory for most. With the growth of technology and the spread of knowledge, we know so much more, yet we have gone back to our roots of secular divide.
In India we still have Hindu’s and Muslims and minorities clashing, on a larger scale, the most feared enemies today are the militant Islamists who fight the infidels. It almost makes one imagine that we have traveled back to the age of the crusades, except Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Heaven that it represented is not just that anymore – the fight encompasses the whole globe. We still have communalism tearing the world apart in not only the uneducated and underdeveloped places, but rampant in the most developed nations even.
But the thing that stands out the most is that in many ways, especially if you live in America, it harkens back to the days of the Cold War with Communism and the West. The difference now is that the ‘Commies’ are now ‘Terrorists’ and by default Muslim in almost all cases. Now this is not to say that the terrorists are not Muslim, but this is about more than that. We are crucifying an entire people based on their religious belief, irrespective of what they might actually be doing. They world over, people are now more weary of anyone Muslim and in the west and developed nations it is far broader – anyone in a turban, having a Muslim name or looking like he comes from West Asia is suspect, irrespective of background.
To take an example, there is a young man (name withheld) who is today in his early years of his Bachelors degree in the US. His mother and father have been there for decades and for all intents and purposes he is in every way an American, though his family originates in the Indian sub-continent. A short while ago, he had gone on a trip (within the US only) with his friends to celebrate their vacations and he came home most puzzled, worried, a little scared and indignant. Why? Because at every conceivable check point he was pulled out of the group and searched and checked thoroughly over and over. The reason for this was because he had a name that was without a shadow of a doubt Muslim and he was dark complexioned. The boy can barely speak any of his native language and rarely goes there, he’s traveling with a bunch of his schoolmates in a group. If anyone tells you that he was stopped for ‘random’ checks, will you really believe it?
In many ways the fear that has gripped the west reminds one very much so of McCarthy era America during the Cold War. The entire land is gripped by fear from a named yet faceless enemy and everyday is a battle. People are willing to give up many of their freedoms and turn in friends and colleagues just for saying something that is deemed offensive or “un-American” because they are so afraid and with words like terrorist, bio weapons, suicide bomber and the like becoming a common theory it is worse. Of course this is all a preposterous state of affairs considering how much we have ‘advanced’ and evolved as a society in the past decades.
The thing of it all is that compared to today, the US of the Cold War was a cakewalk. Today, everything is so much more in-your-face and obvious than it used to be. Music is louder, more vocal; movies are more graphic and regularly touch on things that no one would have years ago without risking infamy or a bad name; politics is a game like it never was before and war is like the next soap opera of the season, with people going nuts for it one season, then growing bored with no plot development and calling for a cancellation.
In much the same way, the attitude of the authorities is not so much covert and behind the scenes as it once was, we have security and surveillance and the like, the likes of which have never been seen before. We have the same witch-hunts and fears and doubts that people had back then, merely magnified and more observable. The wars are now both political as well as real fighting wars and many do not care one way or the other about taking innocent human life, just so long as their own goals are met, their enemy defeated and their viewpoint proven right.
Once again we are asking questions about legal rights of people, privacy, free speech and all and political melodrama not unlike that of the Cold War. Like the movies, we are now just in a more extreme, graphic and in your face version. Like the song said:
“Somethings happening yeah, what it aint exactly clear, theres a man with a gun over there, telling me I got to beware… Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep. Starts when youre always afraid, step out of line, they’ll come and take you away…”
That seems to be in so many ways such a good description of a lot of things today, though for those who might know it, it was written for America in the 60’s and 70’s.
There is no doubt that in all respects we have changed and we are still doing so, and growing and evolving. But the fact of the matter is that despite all our advancement we are still unable to break out of the patterns and habits that deprived us of development and growth and happiness for ages.
At the end of the day, this is merely an example of history repeating itself. The sad thing is that this like so much is the worst events of history repeating themselves; we need to learn from history and stop making these mistakes over and over.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. >interesting post but the world is in the state it is in today because in the age of late modernity (or the age of aquarius as some insist, like my shaman) the futility of the nation as a bonding identity is ever more clear. even in the cold war era it was less about two warring nations as it was about two warring ideologies and thus in that sense you’re right, the world hath not changedeth at all. and it shan’t. as long as there are different opinions on the conduct and organization of human life, and some of those opinions are of the rabid persuasion conflict shall exist. history will not be able to repeat itself without conflict aiming to bring about change. 🙂 i love irony.

  2. The Dude says:

    >tell me about it… glad you liked this one, dont think most people cared for it much..ive never really cared for the ‘nation/religion as a bonding identity’ concept, we need to deal with things as people first and foremost and then deal with the rest as it comes… in point of fact, dont you think that such identity concepts as we have them today are an issue of pride? we all talk about things like national pride and proud of being a muslim/hindu/christian/jew/whatever… well if i remember correctly, I believe that Pride is one of the seven deadly sins isnt it? just a thought…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s