Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Ya shabab al-3alam, istayqaz!

Youth of the world, awake!

In this excellent article, Muhammad Nusair (the man depicted in this already iconic photo from Tahrir Square) explains why he believes the youth of the world (people from 15 to 35 years old) need to awaken politically and organize themselves in defense of human rights. Below is the comment I left on the page.

One world: A protester in Cairo expresses solidarity with protesters in Madison, Wisconsin

One world: A protester in Cairo expresses solidarity with protesters in Madison, Wisconsin.
[ Image Source ]

I agree with every word you say, but as a 47-year-old in the US, I find that I and everyone I know and care about feels just as you’ve described — and those who seem indifferent either hide their true feelings or are distracted or misled into error.

For how many years now I have discussed this idea, formerly skeptical (and some still-skeptical, I have no doubt) friends and family can attest.

The essentials of the lives of most of mankind haven’t substantially changed in millennia. With rare exceptions, since history began, our societies have divided themselves into two classes: the aristocracy, and the rest of the people. This has remained possible for so many generations in part because, historically, the ruling elite in each nation has succeeded in co-opting consent through patriotism: This convinces the people that their interests coincide with those of the elite because the country is faced with a common enemy: the outside world.

Today, we’re in a global race: the species-wide political awakening versus the accelerating attack by the ruling elite on the peoples’ means of subsistence. Our access to clean air, the water we drink and use for a hundred daily needs, unadulterated foods, homes that we can afford and are actually habitable: These necessities and many others are now being “privatized” across the neoliberal empire. They are all falling under the control of corporations that are functionally, if not clinically, psychopathic.

I have watched this process unfold for over three decades now, and I have only grown more certain of one thing: We outside the elite must awaken to our shared interest, as a species, or risk letting the psychopaths drive us from disaster to avoidable disaster until we wreck everything we need to survive.

Until January 25, I was resigned. I would express what my conscience bade me, but with no particular expectation that it would be heard. My voice was drowned out at home, and there was nothing to be heard from abroad. Then, after the uncertain flare of Tunisia, came Egypt. And finally the flame of global awakening burns steady, as I had not hoped to see it do in my lifetime.

What I think we need is not exclusively a youth movement — although I think that such a movement is an essential part of it — but a movement of all of us.

I once thought to call such an organization the Unity Party, but that is merely one idea.

Wahid 3alam. Wahid jins. Wahid mustaqbal: One world. One species. One future.

Addendum: Reading in today’s news of the latest developments in Japan’s nuclear crisis, I find that not only is the radiation leakage worse — possibly far worse — than Japanese authorities have previously admitted, but there are suspicions that the power plant’s problems could have been exacerbated by the Stuxnet worm: the same targeted industrial cyberweapon that may have been used to halt Iran’s nuclear power program last year.

With or without the worm, this underscores what I wrote in an earlier essay about “disaster after avoidable disaster.” As on Three Mile Island and at Chernobyl, we will never really know how much radiation has escaped or how much harm it may have done. The developed world is dotted with such plants, many of them in poor condition and/or placed in perilous proximity to major tectonic faults. Therefore, with or without the worm, it is a matter of time until one or more plants becomes the epicenter of a radioactive conflagration that could kill millions.

If the pathocrats were rational, if they genuinely wanted the best for their people rather than the most for themselves and their cronies, they would have removed splitting the atom from the list of possible ways to generate power and concentrated on safer alternatives rather than spending enormous amounts of money and work trying to sway people into accepting so deadly a peril merely further to enrich the energy company executives.

The pathocracy must go. Nothing less than the fate of our world depends upon it.

Originally published as a review of a politirature article on the international youth movement emanating from Egypt.

Peace, liberty, unity, justice, equality
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