Friday, June 27, 2008

Turn that frown halfway upside down!

Boy, they knew what they were talking about in the '60s. Live life to the full, in the present, etc. Never mind that the ashes from World War II were still cooling, that the Korean War had only just passed over and that the Vietnam war was in full flow, these guys did what they could to simply be happy, even if the Cold War looked like it was about to get hot.
So to even compare our existence to our tie-dying forefathers seems like a long shot. Sure, the Middle East is still on tenterhooks, but South East Asian instability is an afterthought for the international tourists lounging in Da Nang.
There is still a lot of work to be done, such as relieving the numerous crises in the Middle East, and the lovely remnant of the colonial era, impoverished Africa, but progress has been made in other areas in the last 50 years.
The funny thing is that the colonial era is, to an extent, the driving factor behind the Middle East conflict. Sure, golden oldies will go and remind us that the region is extremely volatile, but at the same time, it was our governments that established Israel, which is undeniably a huge thorn in the side of Arab peace. The effects of that map-drawing session can be seen in the Iranian revolution, which in turn sparked the Islamic fundamentalist movement.
Point is, as insatiable Jeremiah Wright's comments were about "birds coming home to roost," there is an element of truth. By dabbling in the Middle East 60 years ago, we established a climate that allowed for tension to further destabilize into anarchy.
Likewise, "colonial" Africa has yet to produce a stable, wealthy economy. The problems are so many and so complicated that I won't try to go into them, but we've seen what aid has done for the likes of Germany and Japan post WWII, but at the same time, we may just be seeing the immense consequences of AIDS.
However, as Coldplay once said, "everything's not lost." Aside from the Balkan conflict, Europe hasn't seen real war since 1945. East Asia is booming economically, which has had happy knock-on effects for central Asia and may have some antidotal qualities for Africa. Who knows.
Point is, there's a lot of bad things going on, but there is also so much resurgency that to walk around with a cloud over your head just doesn't make sense.
Advisory: this really was a musing.

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