I was wondering after a meeting in school, where colleagues suggested that the theme for the General Studies paper for a senior should be based on terrorism. Their premise was that we have entered an important era in world history that is marked by fragmentation and regionalism, and that terrorism is an important phenomenon that needs to be analysed carefully. One of my colleagues mentioned that she was so disturbed and disheartened by the stories of suffering and death caused by terrorist activities that she had stopped reading newspapers. Another colleague suggested that we might perhaps have already entered the initial stages of the Third World War, a sentiment that finds a strong echo in my heart and many others besides.
The rise of terrorism, all over the world, accompanied by the overthrow of governments, change of regimes, and mass protests as seen at Tahrir Square in Egypt, Taksim Square in Turkey, the recent coup attempt in Turkey, and before it, Brexit, are all indications of mass dissent against Governments and their policies. The Jasmine revolution swept across the Middle East led to the toppling of Hosni Mubarak and his regime. The rise of ISIS, has been fuelled by the anger of a disgruntled youth that has seen unemployment and a perceived prejudicial treatment of their community by mainstream governments.
The Third World War is going to start because of a group of people who are fed up of the differential treatment they have received from governments that have turned a deaf ear to their grievances. Their grievances are fuelled by a sense of discontent fuelled by lack of employment, lack of representation, and an assumed effrontery suffered by them at the hands of governments that hearten to the voice of a majority community.
The age of the internet, and Information Technology has helped disgruntled elements in the society to come together, bound by a sense of injustice meted to their communities by Governments that have been elected by a majority of people who might not even be aware of the grievances of the minority.
Dissent is the root cause of revolutions, and revolutions are the by products of dissent. If we are indeed headed towards the Third World War then surely it is because we have by-passed or drowned out the clamour for equal rights of the minority community. When demands are not met, and voices are not heard, it leads to resentment and a sense of injustice. Dissent is probably the greatest unifying factor today and it is something that cannot and should not be ignored by people who make decisions!
Unfortunately, trends of fragmentation are evident today in the form of a breakaway from popular beliefs and enforced ideals. In many cases, the popular belief might not take into consideration the expectations of a marginalised community. This would lead to a sense of being left out from the decision making process. In many cases, this feeling of being left out of the decision making process, and the feeling of not having a voice might lead to a sense of being ignored as a viable community as a whole!
Factionalism, regionalism and communalism are all driven by a sense of not having a voice that can be heard. Many years back, the world was divided between the eastern bloc countries and the western bloc countries. Today, the breakup of the eastern bloc has resulted in a single bloc that propounds the benefits of a democratic philosophy of governance. Unfortunately, the democratic system of governance which is based on populistic beliefs that give more importance to the popular trends which does not take into consideration the needs of the minority sections of the society.
The Third World War is going to be fought between the mainstream community and the marginalised community. The Third World War will not favour might, rather it will favour intelligence and wit. Dissent and a sense of injustice will be a stronger driving force than a sense of fighting for accepted popular beliefs. The Third World War will be a battle of wits between the defenders of populistic beliefs and those who fight for personal and communal convictions.
However, to say that dissent is a new phenomenon would be fairly wrong because History has shown how resentment and dissent have often fuelled revolutions and civil wars causing massive changes in the demography, and re-drawing of Geographic boundaries of nations. One much more recent example of dissent and resentment against the established Government took place in the form of The Great October Revolution that transformed Imperial Russia into a conglomerate of a large number of Geographically linked states and nations. The Bolshevik Revolution was fuelled by the growing disparity between the rich and the common man. The impact of the First World War, the Crimean War, the war with Japan, all took their toll on the resources of the Tsarist regime. But perhaps the greatest factor that lead to Leninist revolution was the mismanagement of resources, and the government's tardiness in making changes to the constitution. So while the common man was struggling to make both ends meet, the Aristocracy continued to maintain lavish life-style insulated from the harsh reality of the rest of the country. The seeds of dissent were planted much earlier during course of the French Revolution when the common man overthrew his oppressor who was also the Aristocratic Ruler of the country. The oft bandied slogans during the French Revolution were of course based on the concepts of, Liberty, Equality, and Enfranchisement. When all three of these components, or even one of these is missing then it is bound to lead to resentment.
Somehow, what has changed since the times of the French and Russian Revolutions is that the world is not merely divided on the basis of economic standards, rather it is becoming divided on the basis of religion, cast, language, and Geography. When the Democratic system of governance fails to address the grievances of a particular group of people which might not be a majority, it leads to resentment and a rankling and festering hatred in the hearts of the aggrieved members of a particular community. The brutality and violence of terrorism is in fact intentional. When people explode a bomb, they make important people stop what they are doing, they grab their attention! When some people kill a large number of other people they draw the world's attention towards their demands. When Democracy fails, it leads to chaos and violence. Unfortunately, the violence and brutality caused by terrorists will only draw the anger and hatred of the rest of the world, not sympathy!
It is high time we overhauled the concept of Democracy so that it becomes a more equitable tool for representation of all communities, the majority and the minority included. The belief that the majority opinion is the best opinion would perhaps be equivalent to accepting the opinion of the crowd, or the mob! We have moved on from Feudalism to Imperialism and from Imperialism to Socialism and Communism. All of these systems of governance served their terms and were discarded for better forms, in this case, Democracy. One wonders, if perhaps Democracy has not outlived its usefulness having reached its sell by date or shelf life! If Democracy has not been able to prevent the world's disintegration into the chaos of regionalism, and factionalism, then it means it has failed as a concept of governance! One frightening thought is that if we don't have a better school of thought, than Democracy, then could it be possible that we have come a full circle, and are moving back to where we started from, a polity based on Feudalism or even Imperialism, or perhaps even some kind of a 'Matrix' like polity?
What has made things more difficult today is that we are not fighting a enemy from without, rather we are fighting the enemy from within. Fighting an enemy from within makes it difficult to distinguish between enemy and foe. The disintegration of the world into tiny Republics will make things really difficult for our future generations. There are, as it is distinct signs that we are moving away from globalisation to localisation, and the days when we looked at the whole world as one global village have long passed away into the distant past. The Utopia of the global village that we have known for quite some time has passed away even as we find a new meaning in a dystopia that defines the world as we now it.