What is Genius?
Not others’ opinions –
Learning and rainbows.
© Fiza Arshad, 2016 All rights reserved.
A small number of people control the world’s riches, and the rest of us are either below the poverty line, or very close to it. This gap between the poor and rich gets deeper and wider with time. Of course, there is a lot of reading material theorizing on the possible causes and solutions. There are also those, like me, who lament and philosophize its perils as well as the inclinations towards the opposite (in our heads and out loud for all or nobody to hear).
But, cry as much as we can, it wouldn’t change neither the certainty of its rise, nor the frequency of the likes of those secrets revealed in the Panama papers. Billionaires – and the lower ranked millionaires – will continue to sustain themselves through offshore companies. We have only to look to ourselves collectively for partial responsibility of the current situation for the following reason among others.
1. Our ‘corrupt systems’* – be it Asif Zardari’s possible money laundering or David Cameron’s supposed hereditary fiscal connection to tax shelters – encourage further evasive schemes in order to protect one’s materialistic possessions. People reason that if government officials are going to usurp their hard-earned money for their own purposes then why not save it instead for their descendants? Alternatively, some may also object towards using their money elsewhere towards extraneous programs and people whom they don’t support or particularly like.
2. High profile persons, including celebrities, politicians and entrepreneurs, persist in an understandingly considerate environment. Each individual is aware of the other’s activities, and is willingly to protect them in the wake of their own. Only in cases where such activities are publicized, such as those in the Panama Papers and Wikileaks , lead to world leaders promising new reforms (for instance as in the case of Cameron’s publicized action and its consequence). If the perpetrators and their supporters are amongst us, how can we hope to fight injustice in favour of equality and equity? Most of our time is consumed by the hard-earned realities of materialistic consumerism, and fear of institutionalized despotism, to foment against such wide-scale infractions.
Owing to the above observations (including others related to warfare and secularism neglected for the sake of brevity), deciding to lay blame solely on people contributing towards inequality is easy, inaccurate and unjust. I am sure the accused think the same of the masses, just ask Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball, or the Russian President Vladimir Putin, for example. Why am I on the hook? Everybody is in for the ride. On the contrary, taking responsibility as collective peoples is comparatively harder. We don’t want to acknowledge that we let such situations arise. Could things have been different? Yes, they could have been, if we terminated the unlimited authority such institutions possess or cease to hold them unaccountable.
Instead, we expect our politicians to hold themselves in check. To adhere to a moral code, itself malleable and subject to interpretation. Take, for example, Mossack Fonesca, who is suing Panama Papers over breach of privacy and illegal access of information knowing that it helped many sidestep the legal system, an act commonly referred to as criminal behaviour.
One of the main concerns is who to prosecute henceforth? The tax shelters, many of whom are inoperable, or the partners and stake holders, who can claim virtue by denying full knowledge of concurrent activities, especially those on the very negative end of the spectrum of illegal actions. Until the hullabaloo dies down, no one can know for sure. What we do know for certain, corroborated by Wikileaks (conveniently well-established to be the ultimate truth genie until proved otherwise), that other potential tax centres in the business will benefit. We also cannot be sure of the fate of the respondents in their respective careers.
We should, in contrast, be invariably free of doubt about the outcomes of the accused in economically unstable African countries. Our moral compass ought to concede to the inhumanity behind abrogating the rights of these citizens, who shouldn’t shrug off the continuous victimization of their persons. I hope this revelation results in a better quality of life for the people in Africa so they can afford food, shelter, education, and independent economy.
*Who or what is corrupt will differ depending on whom you ask. I hope consensus says that denying other peoples and nations the right to flourish is inexcusably unethical and immoral.
© Copyright 2016
A while ago I read a piece, “There goes the neighbourhood”, by Drew Nelles (in the Walrus for those wondering) on coyotes taking over and why. It delineates the evolution of two different types of coyotes – one is wild, and the other innocuous. The “barbarian” one is that way because of its good treatment by humans, which includes feeding, and attempting to tame it. These are the ones who have become used to living around humans, and have become sensitized to the cars and the gadgets. They know that the romanticized humans won’t harm it, whereas the fool-hardy ones won’t be able to catch it. The relatively harmless, and “primitive” ones don’t approach humans. They have their own habitats and wildlife to contend themselves with. Apparently, they like to stay out of sight. And then there are those who appear wild due to the inability to survive the harsh winters and cities – thin, gaunt, injured and with bald patches.
The different personalities of coyotes reminded me of ourselves, our nature and prejudices. Don’t we judge primitive people as wild, barbaric and uncultured? Regardless of what kind of a person he or she is, we plunder ahead with our first impressions and caustic comments. But are they really first impressions? Some of us don’t even find it relevant to meet such savages, and still write them off as so. Is that fair? Just because their culture is different from ours or yours or hers or his, is it then justified?
In any industry, be it science, business or entertainment, we hunt the other, gobble him or her, and come out the victor on top. And when someone else does it not so smartly, we call out the shots, and put out the labels of uncivilized, immoral and wicked. In our endeavor to idealize the natural, the human, and the wild, we decry those who do not fall into the expected categories in an expected way to satisfy our expectations. Indeed, as Voltaire said “Every man is guilty for the good he did not do”. Or so the perception remains.
The eternal question then is whether every man is beholden for the dishonest?
There are quite a number of things that are very bothersome: waiting in the long Tim Horton’s line; deforestation so humans can live; friends who text back an “ok” in response to a monologue etc. etc. But what bothers me the most to the point of a constant thorn pricking my side is the desensitization of human beings to someone else’s hardships, emotions, conflicts, war, blood and death. In these modern times, especially after technological revolution and witnessing the two great world wars of the last century, there has been an empathetic hush, partly as a protective mechanism. More and more people either uninvolved or misinformed about the contemporary local and global events presume to be prescient about the whys, the whats and the hows; meanwhile, discounting, for the most part, the psychological and physiological semantics of the parties involved, especially if it concerns a personal gain. We have only to look at the countless examples in history. One such momentous one was the testing of the nuclear bomb during WWII on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Did it not destroy thousands of lives?
It is sad to see people disregarding someone else to such an extent. What does that say about our society? About our future? Are we so captivated with this materialistic society and what it is able to provide us with? Have we become the very robots that we are creating?
Recently, the controversial conflict between Israel and Gaza has been an anomaly of sorts. It surprised and unsettled me a lot to read views of those who justified any action that would lead to the deaths of innocents, especially children, under any situation. Every life has its own worth. The protection of some lives at the cost of others is inexcusable. Drones attacks to catch a stray terrorist among all of the other civilians are humanely cruel and logistically impractical. If one is caught despite seven other civilian casualties, for example, then it is termed mission successful. On one hand, we criticize some for their appetite for power; yet, other leaders manipulate several variables to justify and expand power.
This constant struggle to achieve such an end with any means possible is unbelievably sad. Are we truly superior? Is this superiority over other species worth it?
I leave a huge responsibility on you. I need an opinion on the future of this blog. So most people named their blog after themselves or their motto. But, I, named it after my pen name “Sanaz” and because this name wasn’t available I added extra numbers/letters. So do you think I should change the name of my blog? Or are you used it to this weirdly unique combination? (I have been told that its weird and I should change it.)
Your options are: xoxosanaz, sanaz90210, sanazblog, Other (suggest one)
“The whole point was a different name, not versions of the same one!!” Yes, true. This is all I could come with. Got something better? Then let me know.
P.S. I hope it isn’t a lot to ask for but as readers do you like seeing sidebars with archives and recent posts?
My inner voice chants: “you won’t get any reply. Its your blog. You come up with the idea. Why would anyone care to give their own?!” I corrected her here. It is not just my blog for my own purposes. I write it for people to read so it is yours too as much as mine. They are my thoughts, opinions and my take on life. But, it is my belief that for every thought, idea or opinion, there are other similar people who think the same. Moral of the story (I could go on a rant sometimes!): Let me know your thoughts on the blog name on the comments section below. [Insert *emoticon* here]