When this is over, if ever it is, they will mark the long-awaited day with televised displays of emotion and solemnity. Ministers, in their dark blue suits, will congratulate themselves on having won the war.
The pandemic that has hit the planet must make us realize that nothing will ever be the same again. There was a pre-coronavirus. There’s now going to be a geopolitical and geostrategic post-coronavirus. Today, several factors are cause for concern in Western chanceries: An American withdrawal from world affairs, especially in the Middle East, leaving the field open to Russia and Iran; China’s all-round offensive and divisions in Europe.
Emile Habibi, a Palestinian writer from Haïfa who stayed on in Israel after 1948, had coined a great word to describe the state of mind of those individuals who experience ambiguity on a daily basis: peptimist. It is a mixture of hope and weariness, somewhere at a juncture between optimism and pessimism. This is a most fitting word to use these days in light of the consequences the epidemic is having on religions.
A recent US Department of Defense report submitted to the United States Congress concludes that though the US and Taliban representatives signed an agreement on February 29 as a move to end the conflict in Afghanistan, a number of subsequent events has raised questions over whether the peace process would take place.
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was launched nearly 5 years ago with much fanfare. However, over the last few years, the progress of the CPEC has been hampered by questions on the economic viability of these protests for Pakistan, China’s increasingly intrusive presence in the country and huge environmental concerns.
The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic differ from one region of the world to another. They are most keenly felt in conflict areas where public healthcare systems have collapsed or are severely compromised. The greatest risk is that existing tensions and conflicts, such as those in the Middle East, might be heightened. The stability of this region, that stretches from the Persian Gulf to the Maghreb, is essential for economic and security balance in the world.
Some time ago, I stopped buying Nutella. Because of palm oil, deforestation and orangutans which are primates from the Hominidae family. No one ever told me “Strange, you’re not an orangutan, are you?”. I also worry about polar bears, which are marine mammals from the Ursidae family, which splash around on ice packs, and for whales, those marine mammals from the Cetacea infraorder, which are harpooned day and night by the Japanese and (I think) the Norwegians, and for elephants which are mammals from Proboscidean order… Yet, no one ever told me: “That’s odd, you’re neither a whale, nor a bear, nor an elephant, are you?”.