Bastille

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

BastilleBastille Day is the perfect time to consider the current state of global freedoms. Sadly, the grade for humanity is a firm ‘F’ for fail … not for freedoms. Arguably, humanity has gone backward, and the global state of freedoms had deteriorated over the last decade or two.

The Middle East is a continuing human rights fiasco. Israel and Palestine’s relationship is an ongoing source of tragedy for the people of Palestine and Israel, and frustration for the entire international community. Syria had practically imploded as a poorly planned and consequently disastrous Iraq war gave birth to Daesh which has engulfed Syria, and parts of Iraq in Islamist terror. Afghanistan continues to be a failed state, despite billions of dollars sunk into a war effort to ‘liberate’ it.

Iran is a theocratic nightmare for its citizens. Our allies, such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are human rights black holes, propped up by oil-money and Western acquiescence, in the name of the ‘greater good’.

The geopolitical nightmare that’s the Middle East is further mired by the ongoing rivalry between the Sunni and Shiite factions of Islam. Before you get all self-righteous about this internal Islamic rivalry, let’s not overlook the not too distant conflict between Irish Catholics and Protestants, which also resulted in barbarous acts of violence and terrorism in Northern Ireland, and created a serious security threat in the United Kingdom for decades.

Much of Africa remains a dictatorial and war-torn mess, mired in both Christian and Islamic violence.

Under Vladimir Putin Russia also lost the plot on human rights. He even started a new European war in Ukraine, which will continue to cause instability and human rights violations for many years to come. Russia also recently, and unsurprisingly, rejected the judicial superiority of the European Court of Human Rights.

Our Western democracies are being slowly eroded by increasingly authoritarian national security legislation designed to protect us from modern Islamic terrorism. Islamic terrorism, which was partly created, and continue to be nurtured, by our own failed foreign policies. Yet we continue to pursue those same flawed policies, expecting a different outcome, and as Islamism continues to strengthen in response we just ramp up our authoritarian national security legislation and the same flawed foreign policies. A vicious and self-feeding cycle of global idiocy.

Religion appears to be at the root of much human conflict. This is a curious situation as there is a lot of talk of love and forgiveness by religions. Unfortunately, religion in its purest form requires blind faith. And blind faith leaves no room for reason. And where reason is suffocated, humanity cannot exist. This leaves religion, and the religious, vulnerable for exploitation by those who thirst only for control and power. The combination of blind faith, lack of reason and unscrupulous manipulation can make for a lethal combination.

Liberty, equality, fraternity?

Sadly, we are nowhere near achieving this timeless ideal. We are actually getting further away from it, thanks to a combination of our hapless political class, an uninterested citizenry, corporates chasing the next short-term profit, persisting mindless political and religious ideology, and our inherent human savagery, which we seem unable to shake as a species, despite the beautiful evolutionary gift of compassion, intelligence, love and reason.

Which makes me wonder whether those evolutionary gifts were completely wasted on us …

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