The End of the World

Sometimes, when a global catastrophe occurs, the last to recognize and internalize the catastrophe is the generation that experiences it. Today, humanity is faced with a terrifying situation, defined by genocide, famine, the collapse of states, tyranny, kidnappings, and global piracy – all of which occur in various locations around the world, while the leadership bows its head and moves on to other items on the agenda.

For several years now, the world has been without leadership.The only leaderleft standingat the end ofthe 20th century, the United States, has resigned its role. The other great power, Russia,is farpowerfulstatusthat the Soviet Union wielded during the 20th century. Even China, which has gained great strength through intense economic development, has failed to acquire the top position in global leadership. The global order which attempted to bring to health the “sick patient” which was the Ottoman Empire, which ruled large parts of the globe for 600 years, has unraveled.

The European powers, especially Britain, France, and later, Russia, Germany and Italy, played a type of global monopoly, changing alliances and shaping coalitions according to the wishes of various patrons. The borders between various states in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, which attempted to include under one roof various peoples, ethnic groups and religions, have proven a failure, as such populations are not able to co-exist.

At the beginning of the 21st Century, the worldawoketo a political reality which was clearly unsustainable. Countries like the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and even Spain and Britain began to experience a disintegration of national frameworks. Africa faced tremendous shocks of conflict largely due to capitalist and colonialist interests who dipped their hands into the natural resources of the continent, with little thought of the human cost. War and genocide broke outon several fronts, as the world closed its heart and eyes to what was going on under its nose. The Middle East faced a new realitymistakenlycalled”the Arab Spring”, which instead brought about a winter defined by an end to rule of law and the structures that bind between people.

Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordanall faced new refugee problems. Egypt, Libya, and Yemen collapsed, lost their status, as the known structures of rule and power lost their relevance. Piracy, which was thought to be a phenomenon of the past, returned to the southernoceansof the world,as ships were captured and drowned with increasing frequency. Goods were stolen and humans sold into slavery, as the world looks on, without raising a finger. In recent weeks, no less than a Holocaust is occurringin Iraq, as Sunni Muslim extremists place scores of people before firing squads with unparalleled cruelty. Countries threaten one another, while others fund terrorism in other countries, in order to keep terror off of their soil, while the world accepts this in silence. The world is opposed to Syria’s President Assad murdering its citizens with chemical weapons, but has no issue with the murder of masses of civilians by throwing barrels of oil from planes.

In Israel, a murderous terrorist organization kidnaps children, not soldiers, as bargaining chips to be traded for releasing murderers from prison. The phenomenon we witness is human trafficking, one of the greatest crimes against humanity. And again, the world offers no adequate response. The kidnapping of children is not just another crime, but a symbol of the end of the world’s morality, which has learned to live with a new brutal world disorder, without doing anything. These alarms, despite their increasing volume, are not awakening publics, as such events become an accepted part of our daily lives before our astonished eyes.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center
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