Humanitarian Citizenship

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The history of this world is full of events that can teach us great lessons but human beings often fail to comprehend the basic fact that every war must ultimately end in peace and that no lines drawn on the face of this earth are ever final. Gradually however, we are beginning to talk of sustained peace and experiment with initiatives that may promote international understanding.  More so, we are today at a stage where inter dependence is inevitable and our destinies are more inter locked than ever. If we look around, the very truth of the matter is that if there is problem in one part of the world, the other cannot afford to look away. The more recent global meltdown and the resultant impact on countries like Greece, the cascading effect of what started in Tunis, the devastating result of militancy and terrorism that has become a global phenomena are clear pointers.

The net result: countries today cannot plan their future in isolation. We are inter connected and linked beyond separation. Perhaps better than looking for individual solutions may be the option to develop integrated and comprehensive models.

What is considered a great value today may tomorrow be a concept as irrelevant as a 386 computer. I am specifically referring to issues like “nationalistic patriotism”. The rate of migration and location transfer has become mind boggling today. More and more young people get pulled into directions of greater opportunities. It is the same driving force that motivated those who moved west few centuries ago. Only this time, they are not exploring new lands; they are exploring new ideas. This generation is not just satisfied with feeling good, it wants to do good. They are not looking for ways and means for localized effects; they want to make global impacts. They are not even going to be driven by profits alone; they are bent upon sustained development with bottom lines that go beyond financial measure. In fact, after many centuries perhaps, this generation is daring to discard any lens that may be parochial or regional in favor of a global lens.

Its not just a question of expanse. It is getting to be a truly universal approach. Individuals who do not appreciate the essence of this great shift in human thinking may still be concerned with just a particular community, a particular region, just one ethnic group, one cultural entity or even one national bias. But the paradigm shift has prompted the generation of today, or rather the generation of tomorrow, to look out for what shall contribute to development of this world at large. Most vital issues are characterized by connectivity that may be as complex (or simple, depending on the way you look at it) as the spider’s web. Poverty, literacy, crime, development: which one comes first? Or is the process of ranking simply ridiculous? They are just different views of the same screen (just as the computer screen may give different colors when viewed from different angles), aren’t they?

Our concerns today relate to our very existence. Can you deal with global warming without handling poverty? Or without technology? Can you ask the regions of the world that we call under developed to halt their industrialization and operate as the lungs of the world so that we can run our air conditioning plants and air conditioned cars in the industrialized countries? Who takes the decision? If I am concerned just as an Indian, why would I even bother about what happens by polluting the river that flows in the neighboring country? That is not all: the world is also concerned in case we cannot keep our own rivers in proper shape. If Ganges loses its shine as a civilization supportive river, it is a loss to entire human race.  Is it not a fact that more wars may be fought in future over water than they have ever been fought over gold? Carbon credits are a globally traded commodity, more so in EU because they have established benchmarks that are precisely global, yet comprehensive in approach.

One of the most successful experiments in cooperation in the world today is the EU. Why would the dream of Europe be to have a common currency? The idea is to put greater value on common good. It is not that national issues are put on a back burner, but it is a gigantic step towards international brotherhood. But at various points it seems to be running into unsurmountable challenges. Why dont we understand we cant control terrorism in just one country? Its got to be a global battle. We cant fight depression only as a national issue. Its got to be a global battle. We cant fight poverty as a regional issue. Its got to be a global battle. Md Younus, the nobel laureate, has gone on record to state that poverty can be eradicated globally provided the human race has a combined political will to do so. Come on, we cant even fight H1N1 virus on a national front only. Its got to be a global battle. We cant let human rights be an internal affair for each country only. What would then happen to the basic human right to a life with dignity? Its got to be a global battle. Why else would one have organizations like Amnesty International? Cant we administer law and justice internally? Why have interpol or international courts of justice? But we need them. Its got to be a global battle.

Talking about battles, it is said we do not know how the third world war will be fought, it it does ever take place. But we are certain that the fourth world war will be fought with bows, arrows and spears. Nothing else would have remained after the third war. The risks are tremendous, and we have a number of jokers around the world who may press the hot buttons without even realizing what they are triggering. In that light, it is imperative that such WMD be handled by global surveillance agencies, not just US outfits. What is at stake is the very existence of the entire human race. I encourage you to log on to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qirYqwylpRA.  this being the recording of a 12 year old child from Canada as she addresses the world leaders during an environment summit and silences them with her plain talk. Actually we dont even need an expert’s perspective to help us draw the global agenda, a child’s innocent perspective is good enough.

If international concern is an accepted fact today and abuse of human rights at random in any country cannot be ignored just as an internal issue any more, it is abundantly clear that we have benchmarks that are global in approach. If that be so, how far behind can the concept of global humanitarian citizenship be? That is just knocking at our doors. Not too far distant is a time where nationality may indicate only the name of the location of the super computer in which an individual’s basic data is stored. Thats all. If I am an Indian, it would imply that my basic data is stored in an Indian site. Period. Beyond that, my concerns would be global peace, development and meaningful life. Simply parochial issues would be outdated, and even irrelevant. Appearance, physical features, ethnicity, and all that would be identities, not prejudices. Merit and rightful contribution would count, nothing else.

That is the world the next generation may want to live in: one where the lowest common denominator is defined by peace and basic human necessities, and the highest common factor is represented by development and a life worth living. That would demand an environment where humanitarian global principles would prevail. All countries would be pulled into that momentum. On a smaller scale, EU is a walk in that direction. May be there are many operational issues that need to be settled. But it is worth driving through Europe without having to be stopped at every border for security and recording purposes. That is a beginning. The world awaits global citizenship.


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