Will 2024 be any different from 2023? Little to cheer about

The world has learned nothing in the year 2023 from the miseries suffered by innocent people due to wars and conflicts.

N S Venkataraman Jan 09, 2024
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Russia-Ukraine and Hamas-Israel war

It is said that human civilization has been evolving over the last thousands of years and the process is continuing.  However, the question is whether the quality of the evolution of human civilization should be judged by material and technological growth or betterment in value systems.

If one were to consider the happenings in the year 2023, then one would inevitably conclude that whatever happened in the year was the growth of technology to some extent but not certainly in the betterment of value systems in the minds and hearts of men and women considering the global scenario as a whole.

In short, the year 2023 was marked by war clouds, terrorism, climate deterioration, and no better conditions for women in some countries, and finally, the year was marked by the fact that the world conscience has largely gone silent or impotent.

War clouds abound :

The Russia-Ukraine war was originally initiated by Russia on the pretext that Ukraine was likely to become a member of NATO which, Russia claimed, would go against its security interest of Russia. Russia mercilessly bombed and destroyed several infrastructure facilities in Ukraine and millions of citizens of Ukraine were forced to leave the country as refugees.  The fact is that Russia went ahead with its war efforts and ignored the world opinion, which largely considered Russia as the aggressor in the Russian-Ukraine war.

 Hamas tried to invade Israel, killing over one thousand innocent citizens of Israel. Israel retaliated killing over 20,000 people living in the Hamas-occupied region.  Israel turned from being a defender in the initial stage of the conflict to becoming an offender. While world opinion is appalled at the number of people who lost their lives due to Israel's attack on Gaza, Israel continues with its war efforts, ignoring world opinion.

China has continued with its occupation of Tibet region for over several decades now and any world opinion about China’s aggression on Tibet is ignored by China.

The above few examples clearly show that the war cloud in the world remains unabated and there is no change in the mindset of the leadership of several  countries,  that are different   from the mindset of Hitler during the
World War II.

The world has learned nothing in the year 2023 from the miseries suffered by innocent people due to wars and conflicts.

Climate crisis :

There are alarming signals about the continuing global warming primarily due to the use of fossil fuels.  Like a ritual, every year global climate meet takes place, which has ended up as a mere talk show without achieving any tangible results. The COP 28 Conference in Dubai, UAE went in the same way as the earlier climate meets.

The world is not able to sort out the climate issue due to the conflict of interest between different nations.

This indicates that self-interest continues to remain the primary focus of the governments as against the common world interest.

Oppression against women :

In some countries like Iran and Afghanistan, liberty for women is largely denied and in some other countries too, women do not enjoy full freedom.

In the year 2023, the leadership in the countries that treat women as if women are subservient to men did not care about world opinion expressing concern about the plight of women in these countries.

Acts of terrorism :

Terrorists, particularly Islamic terrorists motivated by narrow vision, continue to indulge in terrorism, resulting in the disturbance of peace and safety conditions in different regions.

The global efforts to root out terrorism are not making much headway. As a result, terrorist groups, and militant and separatist organisations seem to be going scot-free.

What is in store for 2024

In the year 2023, significant technological advancements have been made particularly about artificial intelligence.  However, there has been no change in the human mindset as a whole and the value system of individuals in private and public life.

Of course, there have been occasional events marked by compassion and clarion thoughts and speeches advocated by social and religious leaders stressing the need to promote a value system in society. But, they are too few and far between.

Everyone could not but note in the year 2023 the UN, the global forum for peace, has virtually become impotent and has simply become a debating club.  It seems unlikely the UN will be able to improve its functioning style and pattern in the year 2024.

The overall scenario in 2023 reflected conditions of restlessness, uncertainty, and conflicts. Nothing has been learned in 2023 from the events of earlier decades. There is no signal yet that the overall conditions and climate in the year 2024 will be any different. 

(The author is a commentator on current affairs and a Trustee, NGO Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai. Views are personal. He can be contacted at nsvenkatchennai@gmail.com)

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