The “Nelson Mandela Moment” for Afghanistan

Few moments in history offer the opportunity that recent developments in Afghanistan have made available to further world peace, provided we are prepared to grab it in the path of Nelson Mandela.  These include:

  1.  stopping denigration of a superpower like the US and its President Biden for pulling out of Afghanistan.  It was an extremely difficult, but courageous step that needed to be taken.  Instead, they should be commended for taking this action.
  2. showing appreciation for the Taliban too, for the maturity they have shown in this whole process.  Just like the US, it has not been easy for them, and avoiding the mass bloodshed that could have happened took a lot of mature thinking, discipline, and responsibility. They need encouragement and not threats of censure or warnings that could be counterproductive and push them into further radicalization.  It could in fact lead to destabilization of the region and the world.

The world’s focus should now be on the impending calamity of biblical proportions (widespread famine, deprivation, and disease) that Afghanistan will be facing, as pointed out by Jon Stoltenberg, Refugee Council of UN, as well as its Secretary-General. To overcome this imminent catastrophe, Afghanistan needs the world’s understanding and help, principally financial.  The fact remains that the richer Muslim countries alone can easily put up the 5-10 billion dollars required to meet this need, but there is little doubt that the West and others worldwide would happily chip in.

Such a step would generate the self-reinforcing positive outcomes needed, which may be called the “Mandela Moment”.  Not only will it help clear the image of the Taliban as a supporter and protector of terrorism, but it will also strike at the root of the false and self-fulfilling concept of “Clash of Civilizations” propounded by Huntington.

For a change, let compassion and mercy be the guiding light shown to all a la Nelson Mandela rather than settling scores and taking revenge for past grievances.  However, accountability must prevail, and the clear culprits must be made to pay.  Thus, the hundreds of millions of dollars that were allegedly stolen and siphoned away by former Afghan leaders should be recovered and returned to the Afghan people.   

Future of Humankind – a Required Paradigm Shift in Values and Attitudes

Sooner rather than later, one day, a big chunk of mankind will be headed boldly for another place in our Galaxy, where no human has gone before. It will undoubtedly be a challenging experience but will also be full of inherent potentialities. The future will literally be in their hands. The big question is, shall we end up repeating the experience we have encountered here on earth, or shall we try to make it into something different that we can be proud of?

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Putting Life into the United Nations

Despite the magnificent progress achieved by human civilization over the past few centuries, based on advances in science and technology, the stark reality remains that today humankind is facing existential challenges such as the population explosion, depletion of natural resources, climate change, the spread of WMD’s, drones and cyber-warfare, accelerating wealth inequalities both within and amongst Nations and the recent rise of extremism and fundamentalism leading towards mass migrations. 

Despite the near-universal acknowledgement of such challenges and talk of the need for remedial steps, precious little meaningful action has been achieved in this direction. The Global pundits’ cry for change today has no clear articulation of the direction for such change. It is limited in scope and misses out the fundamental need for a paradigm shift in our attitudes and values required to meet the massive challenges of the future viz. treating humans as one brotherhood, through gradual replacement of Nationalism by Universalism. 

This led the author to think that our goal for the future of Humankind should be, more appropriately even if a little ambitiously, how to “Thrive in the Future rather than mere Survive”

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