From Farce to Tragedy

If the world has the feel of amateur hour, it could be a reflection of its leadership.  One can always start with the U.S. president, who is off to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt for Cop27, this year’s (Nov 8-16) climate change conference.  The Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg now sums these meetings up as ‘greenwashing’.

The conference itself has a feel this year of schoolboys bringing homework to school with a key difference.  There is no school master and unlike the characters in “Tom Brown’s School Days”, the mid-19th century novel, he certainly does not carry a cane.  What a pity?  Who wouldn’t like to have a go at the plump backsides of certain politicians and so-called leaders. 

The news is filled with their antics.  Kim Jong-un, the antics prone North Korean leader never fails; he is letting loose his missiles again, and flying his air force jets just a little too close to the border.  Always interested in improving economic and trade relations with South Korea and Japan … he does not want to pay the price of greater freedom at home.  But why now after five years?  Perhaps he is losing patience, perhaps things are worse there than they appear, or perhaps he just wants to impress people both at home and abroad.

The comedy of errors that is Ukraine continues with the on-again, off-again, and now on-again grain deal permitting Ukrainian wheat exports, via the Black Sea, mainly to Africa.  Russia had accused Ukrainians of using the cover of grain ships to attack their Black Sea fleet.

In Australia, five lions escaping boredom sneaked out of Sydney’s Taronga zoo.  Let’s hope for the sake of all the pets and people their agenda wasn’t a change of diet.  Anyway the city is in lockdown while fearful residents are terrified of unwelcome guests at dinner. 

Yes, it’s Halloween all right.  In Peru, police decided to dress as Superheroes for a drug raid.  Captain America, Spiderman, Black Widow and Thor arrested four suspects and seized cocaine, cocaine paste (over 3000 packs) and cannabis, all without firing a shot.

And in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro was defeated by the center-left Lula da Silva in the presidential election reversing the latter’s earlier defeat.  Bolsonaro’s promise of trickle down economics remained a promise only and the people turned back to Lula’s progressive policies.

In South Korea, thousands of young people funneled into a narrow alleyway were crushed as the crowd behind continued forward.  In the narrow alley, people would have to speed up for everyone to get through if those behind did not slow down.  Quite inadvertently, the latter were causing the former to speed up.  Some tripped and fell and were crushed.  Over 150 died mostly young women and many were injured.

The tragedy in these incidents is that the people behind seldom realize what is happening up ahead, and simply continue to walk at their regular pace.  The death of those so young and barely commencing working lives is heartbreaking and South Korea is in mourning.  

So it is that farce to tragedy would be an accurate description of these recent events. 

Dr. Arshad M. Khan
Dr. Arshad M. Khan
Dr. Arshad M. Khan is a former Professor based in the US. Educated at King's College London, OSU and The University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. Thus he headed the analysis of an innovation survey of Norway, and his work on SMEs published in major journals has been widely cited. He has for several decades also written for the press: These articles and occasional comments have appeared in print media such as The Dallas Morning News, Dawn (Pakistan), The Fort Worth Star Telegram, The Monitor, The Wall Street Journal and others. On the internet, he has written for, Asia Times, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, Countercurrents, Dissident Voice, Eurasia Review and Modern Diplomacy among many. His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in its Congressional Record.