Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Egyptian Spring and the Western Fall, part 1

As you can tell from many of my recent postings, I've been watching and following as global events have been unfolding themselves before our eyes. As we all know, Baha'is are encouraged to keep up with current events, but not let the news of the day distract them from the all-important work that lays before us all.

Some friends of mine have been asking why I am not more involved with the Occupy movement, or political causes, or anything else of that nature. The fact is, and this is all just my own personal opinion and nothing official, I don't believe they will, in the end, and by themselves, really solve the issues that are facing us. This past weekend, as I was re-reading the recent Ridvan Message from April, a few sentences leapt to my attention. They are at the end of the third paragraph, in which the Universal House of Justice describes some of the socio-political rumblings of recent days, the volume of which has only increased since they wrote this.
"No matter how captivating the spectacle of the people's fervor for change, it must be remembered that there are interests which manipulate the course of events. And, so long as the remedy prescribed by the Divine Physician is not administered, the tribulations of this age will persist and deepen."
The events linked to the so-called Egyptian Spring, and the more recent Occupy movement, are surely a spectacle that captivates our attention, but, as some of the elections in the Spring countries have demonstrated, they run the risk of being all show and little substance.

The language of many of the organizations looking to shut down and evict members of the Occupy sites demonstrate their desire to make these past months of demonstration nothing more than mere placation of the masses. They bring to bear the "inconvenience" of those who live or work in the areas near these sites, without ever mentioning the "inconvenience" of those illegally evicted from their homes, or deprived of a livable wage because of the billions of dollars spent on the salaries and benefits of just a few.

It is easy, as has been amply demonstrated in the past few days, to lose sight of the real issues at play when some few give ammunition to those who would use the media, and other tools at their disposal, to cast a shadow over the entire movement due to what can only be regarded as mere distractions. We have, of course, all heard the reports of those few who are using this movement as an excuse to vent their rage or "rebel against the machine", to express nothing more than a childish desire to run amok and engage in immoral activities. We have heard the reports of dangerous fires in some of the tents, the flagrant disregard for general modesty by some, or even the death by drug overdose in some of the camps. Surely such activities can serve no purpose except to give fuel to those referred-to "interests" and aid them to try and demoralize the entire campaign. This all highlights the importance of good moral, and just plain sensible, behaviour, for lacking that, it is just too easy to discredit an entire group.

All this aside, though, it does beg the question of what is that "remedy prescribed by the Divine Physician"?  What would constitute an effective action? How can we find that long-ranged vision that takes in the need for this Day?

(to be continued tomorrow)

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