Malaysiakini News

A masterpiece in danger of going up in smoke

Phlip Rodrigues  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | In the beginning, there were no countries, no boundaries, no races, no religions. The whole earth was in pristine condition.

Then troubles began as humans became the supreme overlord of all that they saw, and started conquering and slaughtering their own species.

The rampage and destruction were carried out in the name of whatever nation they had carved out from the vast, empty Mother Earth.

Down through the centuries, distinctive countries were born, all characterised and identified by the boundaries around them. Divisions in this once-peaceful world appeared as language, race and religion took firm roots in human consciousness.

Humans became mortal foes to their own kind as they fought savagely without the light of reason or compassion. They worshipped many gods and every life snuffed out was a sacrifice to their gods of war.

Scenes of appalling carnage in ancient times were largely battles fought with swords, bows and arrows, spears, and on horses that rode on the swift winds of death and in ships powered by sheer physical exertion.

Villages were burned to the ground, and all living souls massacred to the last person. The world became a no-holds-barred playground for warriors, barbarians, adventurers, and hordes of rapacious tribes.

Most of the crimes perpetrated against humanity in the old days were the handiwork of bloodthirsty rulers who took on various names: kings, emperors, pharaohs, tyrants, despots, and a host of other unholy titles.

Life on Earth became more complicated as man became more refined in the art of war and more greedy for wealth, power and influence.

With the passage of time, they developed more advanced and deadly weapons that were often used against one another in civil strife or on campaigns of conquests and subjugation.

Large empires were created or destroyed at the cost of untold number of lives – all for the glorification of expansionist ambition and martial prowess.

The lust for hegemony – whether local, regional, or international – continued unabated into the modern era, this time in the name of diverse kinds of isms.

Carnage on an unprecedented scale in the form of two cataclysmic world wars shook the earth – all fought under the banner of sturdy democracy, or abominable Nazism, or fiendish communism, or whatever tempting set of beliefs being championed.

The horrors of modern-day wars were brought home in even more frightening details with the detonation of the Big Bombs and the incineration of thousands of lives in a country that had committed horrific cruelties in the first place and had suffered horrendous retaliation.

Ever since then, the world has been living under a dark cloud with the mushrooming of more sophisticated weapons of mass destruction, poised to strike at just a press of the button.

There was no peace with the advancing years. Instead, misery, suffering and pain kept multiplying the world over in ever virulent intensity.

Religion could do little to douse the wildfires of violence wrecking the world. In fact, with the triumph of monotheism, religious intolerance became a way of life. It gave birth to the horrors of fanaticism and extremism.

The wars of the Gods – pitting one religion against another – saw the world bleeding because millions of followers were willing to die for their respective faith.

Politics, too, had messed up the social environment as a result of the misdeeds of leaders who now styled themselves as prime minister, president, chairperson, the great leader, the supreme leader, brotherly leader, and any number of impressive but hollow titles.

Many of these leaders have crafted ruinous policies that have brought great hardship to the masses.

At their command, there were rampant abuses of human rights, ethnic persecution, extrajudicial killings and indiscriminate attacks on civilians. Under their rule, the wealth of the nations was plundered.

From antiquity to the Middle Ages to modern times, the pattern of irrational behaviour had been the bane of human existence.

God's masterpiece, Mother Earth, is rapidly spinning out of control and is in danger of going up in smoke – becoming barren and void as it was at the beginning.

PHLIP RODRIGUES is a retired journalist.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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