As journalists and historians sit back and write down about the highs and lows of this decade, I sat back and reflected over this long Christmas weekend to come to single most critical aspect of this decade which is suffocating us, making us paranoid and fearful and above all putting us into a death spiral of human societal DNA. It is changing all of us at a subconscious level. We may not sense it and may be totally unaware of it but it is changing the direction of our human society. We need freedom from its shackles and stranglehold. We need freedom from Terrorism. It is in my view the fight of the century rest alone the coming decade. It is more significant than peak oil issue and equally pervasive if not more than the issue of global warming. We are slowly becoming slaves to its dictates. Our lives are being changed to accommodate the perils and the consequences of this phenomenon and we need to fight for our freedom. The whole world is experiencing this in some form or another. Unfortunately our approach to fight and attack this issue in my humble opinion is misplaced. We target nations or organizations but fail to acknowledge that it is a mind game. If the youth of today in different societies is being brain washed, how do you intend to fight that with the latest drone aircrafts. In fact if the education system is being polluted with all the events of today, rest assured the coming generations are going to be less accommodating and less patient. It applies to both the worlds (if there is a bipolar world of west and non-west, since China is going to be facing this challenge in this century). As Thomas Friedman put it in his article that the real challenge is to combat the vastness of internet media reaching out in every home with the same message of hatred, eye for an eye, use of violence for every wrong etc etc. I think the answer does not lie in more troops or for that matter remote controlled deployment of forces to avoid physical causalities since the damage is done mentally and at a subconscious level. Now the next time, we board the plane, everyone who takes a blanket during the flight is going to be stared at, we are going to be subconsciously make our judgments and place people who look different in to typical stereotypes. Responding acts of terrorism with force and violence (where ordinary citizens suffer and the issue is dusted under the term of collateral damage) actually creates a more long term mental damage in the minds of the people which in return comes back in form of terrorism. If we continue down this path( in fact the current events are a result of similar approach for decades) we are sure bound to further erode our basic fabric of human race. We will become another animal type who could do no better but killed each other to survive. Is there an answer? I don't know but all I can say is that success stories like Mahatma Gandhi gives us a hope. In his case acts of aggression were met with a smile and peaceful rebuttal. This could be an antidote to all of this. He gave Indians a way to undo the British where one seemed unlikely. Yes there had been numerous freedom fighters who had individual acts of heroism but he fundamentally altered the rules of the game.
We need to ensure that we have a strategy to address the health of minds of our next generation on both sides of the world. Today, it is being overly influenced my the internet media, the current acts portrayed as righteous and hence create an impression that world is filled with hatred or violence which is very damaging to the long term future of our society. But we as a society are not doing enough for the future since we are too occupied in winning the next battle and as a result we are loosing the war.
PS: I am an Indian, sikh by religion who is settled in USA for the last 10 years. I have had my share of experience when the Sikh community was attacked in 1984 by heinous acts of hate crime by its own fellow citizens