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2023 marked by restlessness, uncertainty, conflicts: No lessons learned from past

By NS Venkataraman* 
It is said that human civilisation have been evolving over the last  thousands of years and the process is still continuing.  However, the question is whether the quality of evolution of human civilisation 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 arrive at the  conclusion that whatever happened in the year was 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 cloud, terrorism, climate deterioration, no better conditions for women in some countries and finally, the year is conspicuous by the fact that the world conscience has largely gone silent or impotent.

War cloud around

Russia Ukraine war was originally initiated by Russia on the pretext of Ukraine likely to become a member of NATO which, Russia claimed, would go against the 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 own 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 20000 people living in the Hamas occupied region.  Israel turned from being a defender in the initial stage of the conflict to become an offender. While world opinion is appalled at the number of people who lost their lives due to Israel attack on Gaza, Israel continues with its war efforts , ignoring the world opinion.
China   continues 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 totally.
The above few examples clearly show that the war cloud in the world remain unabated and there is no change in the mind set of leadership of several  countries,  that are different   from the mind set of Hitler during the World War II. 
Obviously, the world has learnt nothing and forgot nothing in the year 2023 from the past miseries  suffered by innocent people due to war and conflicts.

Climate crisis

There are alarming signals about the continuing global warming primarily due to the use of fossil fuel.  Like a ritual, every year Global Climate Meet take place, which  has been ending up as mere talk show without achieving any tangible results. COP 28 Conference in UAE went in the same way as the earlier climate meet.
The world is not able to sort out the climate issue due to the conflict of interest between different nations.
Obviously, this indicates that self interest continues to remain as 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 are 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 the 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 disturbance of peace and safety conditions in different regions.
The global efforts to root out terrorism is not making much headway. As a result, terrorist groups , militant and separatist organisations seem to be going scot free.
What is in store for year 2024?
In the year 2023, significant technological advancements have been made particularly  with regard to artificial intelligence.
However, there have been  no change in the human mind set as a whole and with regard to 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 value system in the society. But, they are too few and far between.
Everyone could not but note in the year 2023 that UNO, the world forum for peace, has virtually become impotent and has  simply become a debating club.  It seems to be unlikely that the UNO would 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 learnt or forgotten in 2023 from the events of earlier decades.
 There is no signal yet that the overall conditions and climate in the year 2024 would be any different.  One has to keep the fingers crossed about the likely developments in the year 2024.
---
*Trustee, Nandini Voice For The Deprived, Chennai

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