Borrowing the negative expression of Dickens one can state, “it was the worst of time, age of foolishness, epoch of incredulity, season of darkness” yet it was not the winter of despair. Vietnam was on fire so was the young generation of the imperialist state, which was decimating everything that flew to everything that moved.
In such an apocalypse, when napalm and Agent Orange were playing havoc with the freedom fighters of Vietnam, a melodious voice was urging the predators to shun violence and give peace a chance. This was John Lennon, who in his quest to confront the imperialist designs implored the American youngsters to join rank with him. The war an act of savagery was a collusive madness of imposing hegemony first on Indo-China and later on rest of the world.
The ever-spreading capitalist war has turned the world into an inferno. The malaise of this failed system has afflicted the humanity with neo-liberalism — a fascism composed of all ingredients except Fuhrer
Despite the barbarianism, the world was not Dante’s purgatory yet. The alternative in shape of USSR was still around hence the question of winter of discontent or despair appeared as a farfetched idea, an all-out pessimism or a manic disorder. At that moment in time, it was beyond imagination that only few decades later world would leap to this obsession.
The ever-spreading capitalist war has turned the world into an inferno. The malaise of this failed system has afflicted the humanity with neo-liberalism, a fascism composed of all ingredients except Fuhrer. While the war of resources has spread across continents, the pre-capitalists areas within states are equally open to the terror of primitive accumulation. From Balochistan to Burma/Myanmar, from Yemen to Kashmir and from Gaza to Columbia people are left to face the innate hideous and grotesque anarchy of this system.
The recent atrocities committed against humanity by a state led by a Nobel laureate are mere expressions of same phenomenon. In its essence, this one-dimensional phenomenon could be multifaceted. The land — in approximation to the sea — of Rohingya minority could be an asset to gratify the corporate greed, which probably is looking to build tourists resort over a robbed land. The hegemonic interests of big powers cannot be negated nor the feeble economy of Myanmar itself.
There is no denying that the chilling wave of nationalism has swept through the shores of most of Europe and the US; the underdeveloped countries are no exceptions to this wave? The new world- order contradicts reason so effectively that the thought how rational it may be refuses to derive the reasons of various afflictions from its social origin.
What is the fault of the Rohingya living in Myanmar? They are Bengali migrants. What is the fault of a Bloch, a Kashmiri or a Palestinian? None of them has migrated from any other universe. Why the conscience of the world finds itself in deep slumber on the barbarity of Pakistani establishment, Indian army and Zionist apartheid?
“The human beings all over the world need freedom and security that they may be able to realise their potential”. The statement does not cascade from Communist- Manifesto but the expression owes its existence to the once democratic icon Aung-Sun-Suu-Kyi. Ironically, today she refuses to extend the same security and freedom to a community living in her own backyard. Laing was succinct that “our alienation goes to the root. We are murderers and prostitutes — no matter what culture what societies, class, nation we belong, no matter how normal, moral or mature we take ourselves”.
No matter which part of the world it is the capitalist recession is taking its toll. Myanmar cannot be an exception. Such situations breed extreme version of nationalism, which culminates into fascism, thriving on hate. Hitler found Jews, Churchill the Indians and nearly half a million Bengalese, the Indians, Dalit and Muslims and the ‘Land of pure’, after unleashing terror on its eastern wing has resorted to victimise the Bloch, the communists and all humans of conscience.
Hate is not inborn; it is invariably cultivated meticulously by design. It has several names; the boat people, the coloured, the Reds and the axis of evil to mention but a few. For Fanon “he who hates... has to become (embodied) hate. That is why Americans have substituted discrimination for lynching. Each to his own side of the street.”
Aime Cesair once said that “when I hear that Negroes have been lynched in America, I say that we have been lied to: Hitler is not dead”. When the system, which continues to recreate fascism, keeps thriving, killing of Hitler is no more than a pipe dream.
Today imperialism — “a particular stage of ripeness in the world development of capital” — has sieged the humanity. No nation can think of escaping from its wrath/clutches. In such circumstances, the fire-play in one’s backyard can prove pernicious for one’s own safety. It can boomerang. Fomenting nationalism or totalitarianism could prove counterproductive. Since today what political expediency considers instrumental in uniting a nation, could become a reason for its perdition tomorrow.
For now, what is overlooked as trivial could become a substantial reason for the imperialism to intervene in the very state violating the human rights, directly or by supporting the consequent backlash. Abetting if not fomenting terrorism in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Ukraine the imperialist forces have not only annihilated the infrastructure of these states but successfully maintained their hegemony as well.
Human massacre on any pretext is an intolerable act hence needs to be condemned. For her own sake, Aung-Suu-Kyi must realise that those who chose to live by sword are eventually forced to use it against themselves. Newton could be all wrong but the antagonism between action and reaction he suggested is still relevant. The violence necessarily breeds violence. If the Pandora’s Box of religious terrorism, a favourite pastime of imperialism, opens up there won’t be any respite even for the ordinary citizens of Myanmar.
Today John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ has again undeniably become the most pertinent song. To become a better place while paying its tributes to the singer, world needs to borrow the Geist if not the Weltanschauung expressed in this song.
The writer has authored books on socialism and history. He blogs at saulatnagi.wordpress.com and can be reached email@example.com
Published in Daily Times, September 13th 2017.