On the nature of politics
The Minority Report
While I was staying with relatives in Jordan last summer, a new family moved in next door to our Amman home. They had an energetic little boy named Adam, who did not let the harsh Middle Eastern sun deter the playful adventures he’d have in the neighborhood. We could always hear his bold laughter, whether it was lulling its way through our window curtains or chasing after us down the street. No wall was too tall for him to climb, and no deserted path was too scary for him to explore. Whenever I saw him, he was always sprinting toward some unknown destination at high speed, but would stop just long enough to look up at me with his bright, sea foam green eyes and ask me if I’d like to join him for some ice cream. No older than five years old, he was already fearless.
Maybe his fearlessness had something to do with the fact that his family was one of Jordan’s newest refugees from Syria. Forced to flee from the relentless violence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against his defenseless people, they had to leave behind the home and country they had always known to safeguard a future for the little boy whose spirit had no bounds. Assad’s forces kill dozens of children every day in the deadly struggle for power. The aspirations of freedom and democracy are finally clashing with long-seated rule and opportunistic modern-day politics. And while our young generation has stubborn faith in the former, it is becoming harder to realistically foresee which force will win in today’s geopolitical climate.
To the humane person, it would seem unnatural and frankly abominable to tolerate the loss of an innocent life, yet it has become clear that many leaders running our world are anything but humane. The United Nations’ Security Council considered passing an Arab League-backed resolution a few days ago that would have called for Assad to immediately relinquish his power. While 13 countries obviously agreed to this resolution, which would — again, to any humane person — seem unquestionable, China and Russia used their veto power to stop it from passing.
Why could any country possibly be against the suspension of reckless wide-scale murder? China simply remains consistent with its long-held adamancy against humanitarian intervention and its hyper-protection of national sovereignty, lest it one day be held accountable for the many human-rights violations of its own. In Russia’s case, on top of having an army base in Syria, the tanks and weapons that Assad uses against his own people have “Made in Russia” written all over them. In this day and age, civilian blood is far cheaper than imported bullets.
While this brief moment in history reasserted the UN’s complete defectiveness because of the Security Council veto — which I will certainly rant about another day — this occurrence will have serious repercussions in the global arena. Not only will this decision prolong the halt of Assad’s violence, but it also sent a clear message to him and his forces that they can continue — and even escalate — their oppression of the Syrian people. He is being protected primarily beneath the wing of Russia, and the more civilians he kills, the more money the Eastern power makes. More importantly, the sound of those vetoes was heard loud and clear the world over. For anyone who had any doubt, innocent lives indeed come only after power and money.
The governments and politics of today’s world revolve around garnering as much wealth and influence as possible, only to be distributed among the corrupt and chosen few that are in charge — even if it means having to kill the very populations that their purpose is to protect. This behavior only upholds and wildly emphasizes not only the illegitimacy of such governments, but of the need for a global shift in power back into the hands of the people.
This is not an issue on the backs of individual populations, but rather an international threat facing our humanity. The fact that several governments can collaborate and unite on continued injustices is a red flag that all peoples must respond to.
Mahatma Gandhi stated, “Every ruler is alien that defies public opinion.” If that’s the case, then world power is overrun by entities that are more foreign than we thought.
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in Middle Eastern studies and political science with a minor in French. Her column, “The Minority Report,” normally runs on alternate Wednesdays.