This is the surest path to no more Afghan-like debacles
- Kamran Mofid
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A Reflection on a World in Crises, Imbecile leadership and the Failure of Education to Educate and Inform
After two decades of pain and destruction and trillions spent, to export western hubris, Taliban fighters take control
of the Afghanistan presidential palace after the president Ashraf Ghani fled the country.-Photo:AP
Debacle after Debacle! Humiliation after Humiliation! Defeat after Defeat!
And the consequences of people’s collective failure when they keep electing imbeciles
However, the fundamental question is: Why do the imbeciles keep winning?
This is the gist of this posting
The defeat in Afghanistan is, like that in Vietnam, a turning-point.
But what is a turning point, without learning the needed lessons!
The debacle in Afghanistan has proved that lessons are not learnt. This is why I firmly believe that, this time, we must heed to the lessons of this tragedy, and see how we may be able to avoid making the same mistakes again, creating tragedies, pain and suffering everywhere.
“My life is my message.”
The Maestro of humanity and the champion of non-violence , Mahatma Gandhi, was once asked,
“What is your message to the world?”
Gandhi responded by jotting down on a piece of paper:
“My life is my message.”
When I first read this statement, I was truly struck by the universality of this, but profound sentence. I realised that if Gandhi’s life was his message, then, of course not daring to compare my self to the Great Man, I, too, releasied that my life is my message also, a message that I am delighted and honoured to share with you.
Sometimes I surprise myself on how many gems we have now collected and posted on our GCGI website.
The other day whilst writing up about the Afghan debacle and the magnitude of western hubris and psuedu values, I came across the following posting:
Forty Years On: Remembering 9/11, 1973, The Butchering of Chile, which I thought was extremely relevant to what is going on in Afghanistan today, as well as the rest of the Middle East, or indeed, wherever the colonisers and imperialists are present and active.
If we are serious, if we really mean that we are shocked by what we are witnessing, then, with all honesty, the time is now to ask WHY all these crimes against humanity all across the world?
For sure, there are many reasons for this. But to my mind, the main culprit is our dishonest, values free education. I have been blessed to have been involved in education for over four decades, not in one country, but in many places in the world.
Our education, teaching and learning environment in the western world, has obfuscated the truth, especially the historical truth:
Where in the curriculum, or in the classroom, is there any sign of a meaningful attention to TRUTH and HONESTY when it comes to addressing and a better understanding of subjects such as:
Colonisation, slavery, racism, imperialism, pseudo democracy values, poverty, inequality, plundering of other nations and peoples' land and wealth, plundering of land and natural resources, everywhere, causing environmental degradation and disasters, all in the interest of a pseudo economic ideology (neoliberalism), profit maximisation and cost minimisation, socialism for a few and capitalism for the many?
Why is that the great majority of the population in the west are totally unaware of what crimes their governments have been up to in other people’s land?
Why is it that hardly anybody in Britain knows anything about the history of their country’s actions in my land of birth, Persia, the modern Iran, for example? An example, amongst many I could have mentioned!
Why is it that hardly anybody knows anything about perhaps the most well known oil company, B.P (British Petroleum), the former Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, and still further the former Anglo-Persian Oil Company?
Why is it that nobody knows anything about the riches that Britain got from Iran, in what Churchill had termed, ‘Pennies from Heaven’, enabling the British navy to rule the seas, maintaining, and nourishing the British Empire!
And then, as a token of their thanks to the people of Iran for all Britain had made from Iranian oil, Britain with the help and support of their former colony, the US, staged the first CIA/MI6 coup d'état against the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. A crime against humanity and international law that has pushed back the dream of democracy in Iran, if not for ever, but at least for generations to come.
To my mind, in contrast to what some people might argue ignorance is a bliss, for me, it is a very destructive vice that seeks to destroy humanity. Ignorance imprisons the mind and makes one vulnerable to exploitation and humiliation. This is why I strongly believe that unless we discover the key to truthfulness and total honesty in our schools, high schools and universities, and teach accordingly, then, nothing will change. Crimes after crimes will be done in our name, again and again, as they have been done in the past.
And now, friends, please come with me and read the following excerpts from what I had written not long ago on the role of a truthful and values led education to build a better and fairer world
…’So, what has gone wrong? Why are we falling deeper and deeper in despair? Why are we allowing this comedy of errors every couple of years? Why are we not rising to claim our moral and spiritual compass, sending the clowns packing?
My answer is simple: Our education system by and large has failed us all, with hugely tragic consequences. When education is designed, controlled and implemented by narcissistic political and business elites, who have become prisoners of a reckless ideology-neoliberalism- drunk on market values and market forces, all morally and spiritually objectionable and intellectually bankrupt, when education is not for the pursuit of wisdom, virtues and beauty, when students are called customers, and education becomes a commodity, when universities become service providers and centres of business, trading in “commodities” buying them cheap and selling them to the highest bidders, when teaching is not a vocation, when learning is not a sacrament, when education is all about the rankings and targets, when it all becomes about running low quality courses, with no heart, spirit and meaning, just to get ‘bums on seats’, taught by stressed, fatigued, overworked and not-valued faculty, when it is all about delivery at the lowest possible costs, and exam results are hugely inflated, to keep the customers happy and not complaining; then, we have opened the doors to the destruction of all that makes life good and worthwhile.
In due course, the consumerist citizens, now fully materialistic and not able to find the happiness that was promised to them via consumption and shopping, become fearful, insecure, hopeless, helpless, frustrated, angry and in despair. In popular culture, social media has become a pithy substitute for real life. Virtual friends overtake the real friends and comradeship. Trivia and amusement supplant substance and meaning. The citizen becomes sinister and complacent, easy prey, prone to acts of indifference, voting against their own self interest, allowing caricatures to lead them, making decisions for them, deflecting their attention from a much needed social critique; from questions of substance. Questions, like what it means to be a human? What is the purpose of this journey we call life? How can I lead a meaningful and worthwhile life?
All in all, the citizens then become the spitting image of the narcissistic leaders, and all is lost.
This, in a nutshell, is the tragedy of our time, and nothing, but a sea change, a moral and spiritual revolution in our education system, model and values, can bring the vital changes we need to reverse the bad with goodness, ugliness with beauty, to enable and empower us to build a better world, many of us are hoping and dreaming for. Carpe Diem!
So, what the solution might be: Very easy, I say, should we have the wisdom to see it: Values-Led Education in Pursuit of Wisdom as if People Mattered
I Have a Dream
I have a dream that one day every school, college and university will become a place of Values-led Education to Enable us all to Expand our Circle of Compassion and Wisdom, to Empower us to take Action in the Interest of the Common Good to give rise to Hope, to Build a Better World, Valuing the entire web of life
If you, too, share this dream with me, then, please see the links below. Many gems out there, to discover, to enable and empower us to build a better world. Built by us, we, the people, we, the citizens.’