Some more equal than others ! | By Khalid Saleem

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Some more equal than others !


THE one thing that the Coronavirus Pandemic has brought in its wake is the realisation that
nature abhors inequality.

The Pandemic does appear to have brought home the truism that all men (and women no doubt!) are equally susceptible in so far as nature is concerned.

No being can, as a consequence, claim to be ‘more equal than others’.With all and sundry besotted with what they consider to be democracy, the time may be at hand to take a closer look at what the Man in the Street is in for.

But let us start at the beginning. The first principle that our favored democracy evokes is that all men (and women, no doubt!) are equal. But in the system that is held up for approbation is this so? Give it a good thought!

Browsing through some old books the other day, one came across the gem: Animal Farm by George Orwell. It was written a long time ago. Personally, it had been a while since one had occasion to go through this slim volume.

One was anxious, therefore, to find out whether this outstanding work of satire had in the meantime lost its relevance. So one scanned through it with, what one thought, was a more discerning eye.

One’s appetite having been whetted, one went through it one more time – this time at a more leisurely pace.

One’s effort did not go unrewarded. It is a magnificent piece of fiction; one that will never lose its relevance.

One can imagine that, ever since its first publication in 1945, generation after generation have found it not only to be eminently readable but also uncannily relevant to contemporary social/political conditions obtaining at any one time and in any given milieu.

Only an author having a profound and uncanny understanding of human nature could have come up with such a perspicuous piece. George Orwell is undoubtedly one such, if ever there was one!

For a long time, Animal Farm enjoyed relevance as a satire on World Communism. It was consequently long taught as a text book in Western schools as such. Seen in this perspective, the book should have lost its relevance with the virtual collapse of the old world order.

The funny thing is that it did not. Having gone through the slim volume at this critical juncture, one found it to be as relevant as ever.

So long as human nature stays what it is, Animal Farm is destined to remain as relevant as it was on the day it was first published.

The evolved motto, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” has a déjà vu ring to it. This happens to be a most profound observation because it relates to the bedrock of human nature.

Humans have long touted what they proudly project as ‘human equality’, but this is rarely, if ever, practiced, whatever the social/political system.

There have been historical campaigns in support of such issues as ‘racial equality’, ‘gender equality’ and the like.

But like the classical quest for the defence of ‘human rights’ these are lost causes and nothing ever comes out in the long run. The truism is that ‘inequality’ rather than ‘equality’ comes natural to human nature.

The world of today is lost in turmoil. This blessed land is no exception. With the clamour for ‘globalization’ and the simultaneous invasion of the Pandemic, the Man in the Street can hardly tell whether the world is coming or going.

Hack writers in this part of the world are having a field day. Anything by way of ‘opinion’ goes.

Open any newspaper and you will find a myriad of opinions on what is not right with the world at large and the region in particular.

Even the American media – that in calmer days rarely ventured beyond local issues – is, these days, concentrating on issues relating to the slippery slope of international affairs.

Time and again, public personalities in the West who ought to know better dwell on the dangers posed to their countries by terrorism and extremism emanating from abroad.

Makes the man in the street wonder why these persons choose to contribute to the paranoia that is already rather widespread around the globe? Should they not be more concerned with ways and means to tackle the root causes of what has come to be known as terrorism and/or extremism?

What is conspicuous by its absence in the topsy-turvy world of today is rational thought. History tells us that the world has never been an exceptionally peaceful place.

Man has ever been unkind to his fellow beings. Some people have always been more equal than others.

This is a situation man has to learn to live with, while at the same time ostensibly striving to redress the balance.

It is incumbent on all to make their humble contribution towards reducing tensions that humanity is suffering from, rather than extenuate them.

The same message should go to those leaders who are trying to take advantage of the aftermath of the nine/eleven outrage to push through their own little agendas.

This is the time to help cool down passions and spread the gospel of compassion and goodwill rather than fan hatred.

Wish old George Orwell were around today. He knew a thing or two about human nature. He would have known how to go about it! Or maybe not!
— The writer is a former Ambassador and former Assistant Secretary General of OIC.