By William Markiewicz
(As other short items may follow, I've decided to group them together.)
In my view (2/11)
I didn’t like the appearance of the Egyptian general on TV. He was a typical old school general. He talked to the audience from a position of arrogance installing more fear than friendship. He gave effusive thanks to Hosni Mubarak who decided to step down and maybe once or twice, if I remember, he used the word ‘people’. There was no word of cooperation, of democracy. His look and tone emanated: “Beware. Don’t forget who holds the guns.” This was the moment to initiate discussion, make proposals and not only implicit orders to go back home. In reality, the situation could not be more tense. With one gesture of impatience from one side or the other everything could explode in an outburst of bloody revolution. Therefore, I wait for the initiation of a true dialogue between those who won the battle on the square and the silent but menacing army.
What Next? (2/11)
I wrote recently that the powerholders can stay in power as long as they wish because guns are stronger than the crowds. Almost immediately we learned that Mubarak had stepped down. We know why dictators stick to power but it’s harder to predict when and why they step down; too many secrets around. What’s next is also hard to foresee. Who will take power – police, army, bureaucracy, or democracy? If it’s harder to believe that the last will succeed, it’s still not impossible. The Egyptian crowds showed us enough surprises. We have to wait and see.
Egypt: Numbers against Guns (2/09)
Guns don’t know how to count. Guns spill death. How long will these demonstrations last, crowds against tyrants? The situation can last forever. If an image of the masses on their way to the gas chambers could have been transmitted, this picture would be infinitely bigger than those we see from Cairo and Alexandria. Gandhi was wrong. It’s fighters that count, not great numbers of protesters.
Death for Sin (2/04)
Recently, the world media reported about the stoning of a young couple in Afghanistan, initiated by Taliban. All the religions went through a period of religious killing; Islam is probably the last one to hold to the tradition of stoning for sins.
And the Other Tribes? (1/23)
We learn plenty about the honeymoon beween two supergiants: USA and China. What's in it for the rest of the world? One old regional saying goes: in the winter the mountaineers go to the valleys; in summer, valley dwellers go to the mountains. Will the ex-super giants and the commoners among nations increase their contacts and continue progressing toward the Global Village?
End of History or End of Ideologies? (1/17)
Professor Fukuyama announced the end of history. The reality is somehow different but he is not totally wrong. If history has not completely ended, we have history which is dragging its feet. Everything that happened before happens now but in a minor key: revenge over Serbia in the Balkans, neocolonialist invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. In spite of this, the world can make progress toward permanent peace in which the flow of history is, in effect, diminished. The end of ideologies may be one of the symptoms of the end of history. As we see in Tunis, revolutionary changes are more the fruit of pragmatic direct necessities without adornment of beautiful sounding ideological rhetoric. All the ideologies are based on solid logic, structures, explanations, which sooner or later crack in practice. Human nature is what it is and we can't change that we live in a Darwinian universe. Ideologies create a niche for unscrupulous, smart individuals who sooner or later take power, corrupting ideologies from within. Apparently, when Marx was asked, ‘How do you see those theories in practice?’ he answered, "How could I know? The future will show." It was perhaps the best that Marx had to say. So, let's start with this. As Saint Eloi said to King Dagobert (loosely quoted): We don't need peace after war but instead of war.