|2017 published by|
The clouds of war linger over the East and while some people there may suspect the hand of "Western powers", the people in the "West" are themselves harrowed by myriad problems, some of which are essentially similar to those elsewhere. Is it not the time for taking the first practical step towards a meaningful action based on the certainty that regardless of the odds, the intentions may not, would not and cannot fail eventually?
It is not possible for any individual to outline the course for such action, but the first step towards discovering it collectively has to be a common understanding about our past - a simple and optimistic overview of the recent history of humanity highlighting some ideals on which nations have already agreed and may cooperate in future.
This is the aim of this serialization of my recent publication, 2017, which will appear in weekly instalments on this blog on Fridays, so that input may be gathered from everyone as "comments", and possibly also related posts on other blogs.
The first instalment is just an attempt to raise the question: can we reclaim the goal of "an age of plenty" for "all the nations" that was a commonly held dream in a recent past?
Regards,Khurram Ali Shafique
On March 5 1946, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill visited Westminster College in Missouri, USA. In his speech, which later became famous for several reasons, he said:
The United Nations Organisation must immediately begin to be equipped with an international armed force… It would nevertheless be wrong and imprudent to entrust the secret knowledge or experience of the atomic bomb, which the United States, Great Britain, and Canada now share, to the world organisation, while it is still in its infancy… Ultimately, when the essential brotherhood of man is truly embodied and expressed in a world organisation with all the necessary practical safeguards to make it effective, these powers would naturally be confided to that world organisation [i.e. the United Nations].
…If the dangers of war and tyranny are removed, there is no doubt that science and co-operation can bring in the next few years to the world, certainly in the next few decades newly taught in the sharpening school of war, an expansion of material well-being beyond anything that has yet occurred in human experience… there is no reason except human folly or sub-human crime which should deny to all the nations the inauguration and enjoyment of an age of plenty.
Churchill may have been stamping his authority as a world power rather than making a prediction, but the dreams embedded in his words were being dreamt by so many at that time, even more ubiquitously outside the English-speaking world of the British Prime Minister. Less than seventy years later, those dreams not only seem to have failed but also to be forgotten. It was said that only folly or sub-human crime could prevent an age of plenty.
Instead, we now find ourselves to be in an age where even the remembrance of such promises seems to be sub-human folly, if not also crime.
The promised paradise may not have happened until now, but can it be reclaimed soon? Why or why not? Post your answers as comments.
- Complete recording of Churchill's speech (with text) as video on Youtube
- Text of Churchill's speech as web page