THE world after Brexit, terrorist attacks in Europe and Asia looks the same but it is not.
Brexit or the vote by Britain to leave Europe has shown that there is a majority that has emerged that finds the regulations and conditions of the European Union on their everyday life as intolerable. The “trickle down” effect of an economy on the rise has been debunked. It just does not work and we can look into our own country and see that a rising economy does not necessarily mean everyone’s boat rising with the tide.
When a substantial number of the population of a country that believes in democratic government is unhappy, untoward events are just around the corner via elections. Voters will punish those they consider responsible. That in itself is not a negative. But with the anger fueled by irresponsible misinformation, particularly through media, rumors and demagoguery, the new leaders that are poised to take over governance seem to promote retrogression in civil liberties and democratic paths in the rush to put out the fires. They close doors and may cause a retreat from the status quo that may not necessarily be a positive development, though initially they will take steps to address the grievances that are eating their constituents. Usually these are reactions that are simplistic and bring on more problems in the long run. Britain will have to navigate through many shoals to come up with the wishes of its electorate in the move out of the EU that will bring it to a better place.
The discontented who repudiate democracy are even more menacing when their grievances make them take the path of violence. The terrorist elements in our midst and the world seem to be multiplying with an ensuing escalation of lethal violence that disregards civility, humane values and reason.
As a result, the political class is in turmoil. In Europe, the far Right seem to be ascending, particularly in France and the Netherlands in the face of terrorism and economic problems. In Spain, there is a paralysis of governance as opposing political leaders refuse to break a stalemate of differing political stands to come together and lead the country by consensus. Economic problems have brought the country to this impasse.
In Britain, the political parties are in disarray as their leaders scramble for power in the aftermath of the momentous decision to leave the EU. There seems to be what they call buyer’s regret, but more perilously, a crisis in leadership. It is amazing to see and hear the stories of opportunism, ambition, power-grabbing and betrayal now headlined in the British media after Brexit. It is the season of discontent. It may be that the political class brought it on themselves as the rising tide of the disappointed took over the elections while the complacent and self-serving were not looking.
More frightful yet are the incidents of terrorism that result in senseless violence on innocent people. We do not have to look far. Here we have the kidnap-for-ransom events that may or may not be fueled by religious animosity but, in effect, bring religious fundamentalism, which means intolerance and hostility, to the fore.
Unreasonable and inhuman as these maybe, they happen and are real events that need to be addressed and done away with.
In neighboring and farther off countries, the same tenor of events is on the rise. The attacks on airports in Belgium and Istanbul are striking at the heart of society, which is innocent civilians far removed from the ideologies and social problems that beset others. But those others must be listened to, as they are part of themselves. The continuing violence by Bangladesh fundamentalists is frightening and unacceptable as well and calls for a permanent and acceptable solution.
Leaders and citizens everywhere should pay attention and discern not only the discontent and oppression that drives these violent acts and upends the status quo but come up with reasonable, effective and acceptable solutions. Easier said than done, admittedly, and a call for true leadership over a long time. But the crises that beset us should give us the consciousness and understanding that giving everyone in society their due and respect within the parameters of reason and justice should trump the present wave of discontent and violence. Political leadership is now critical and must be accompanied by an informed and fair constituency to back it up for the duration.