Is there ever a right time to give up a struggle?

Ending a struggle is a recognition of defeat when nothing is gained by it. The end of struggle should be based on getting the maximum without losing face. It should be the result of getting what one was fighting for and not selling a cause cheaply. If the causes of a struggle like repression and domination aren’t dealt with, its seed will continue to grow.

As for the Dalai Lama to say he has lost lost for Tibet, he must feel frustrated by his long struggle to make China bow to his demands. If there is real democracy in China it doesn’t matter if Tibet is an independent country or an autonomous region of China. However as china has been successful in implanting one country,two systems with Hong Kong, the same should apply to Tibet. However it remains unlikely that the Chinese government will follow this step as other regions in China will ask for the same political rights.

It will also remains to see if China will end its struggle to have Taiwan back by recognizing its independence. That will also be a turning point in its policy towards this territory and the other neighbouring countries , like Burma, whose repressive systems it supports.


Is recession inevitable?

From the current news there is little to cheer up the markets. In the past months, oil producing countries were making big profits due to the unbearable prices paid by non-oil producing countries. Now all countries seem to be in the same boat as they are paying for the economic policies of the countries holding the bulk of the world economy.

It is likely the economic crisis will continue if there are no economic plans by which all should abide to save the world economy from sliding to a disastrous downfall.

The plunge of the financial markets is the result of the climax of the apparent irregularities in their dealings. Money kept changing hands from one bank to another; speculators kept putting all their assets at stakes like crazy gamblers without pausing to look ahead. It was all a mad race to get richer and richer as fast as possible. Anyone was seeking to get richer or the richest overnight.

Markets can redress themselves but not without leaving casualties behind them, especially those who were made redundant or have gone bust due to the current financial crisis.
It’s up to the leaders of the economically big countries to work out the means to stabilize the markets. There is one country, Zimbabwe, which has reached the highest record of inflation. It will be a doomsday for the rest of the world if inflation in the developed countries reaches at least two digits per cent. A disastrous slowdown in these economies will surely have disastrous effect on poor countries that will have to eke out a living, as the so-called rich countries will be fighting not to fall in the abyss of economic difficulties for a considerable time.

Poor people who live in area unaffected by the modern system can’t “make out” what it means to be under recession as they have a day-to-day life. They aren’t under the pressure to make more money to have more means for leisure and access to modern lifestyle.

In poor countries, people don’t have any financial insurance. They don’t make any saving at banks to get a pension in the old age. They depend on the support of their families once they’re old.

However, recession can be turned back if lessons are learnt and effective remedies are quickly found, especially those that will thwart the way for those who make too much speculation in the world of finance at the expense of market stability. The best way to save the economy is that there should be no panic on all sides, reducing confidence in investment and spending which will surely contribute to economic stagnation, with the inevitable results like an increase in poverty and unemployment.

As private individuals can’t print paper money and give it a value, so the market shouldn’t be excessively in the hands of those who make a mess of it. After all the economy isn’t a free game. There should be rules for it to be played safely. It should be like a field with well-marked areas, qualified players and wise referees that ensure that the rules are respected by all.

Does Afghanistan need a surge?

Afghanistan has always been a difficult territory for any military power trying to have a grip of it. Winning the war against terrorism in Afghanistan means winning the heart and mind of the Afghan population. Without the support of the locals, the terrorists won’t find hiding grounds in the face of the impressive number of troops and the equipments they have for precise surveillance.

If the Afghan population can’t see its livelihood get better and better many of it, especially those living in impoverished areas, will side with any insurgent group. This means international forces will have to stay in Afghanistan as ;long as possible as leaving it will mean the regrouping of the the terrorist networks to continue their challenge to the West and to the governments allied with it. As such the situation in Afghanistan will remain a vicious circle, unless there are radical changes in attitudes from all sides that can help all to live in shared peace.

Is it up to Muslims to solve Islamic terrorism?

It has become almost common to associate terrorism with Islam in view of the terrorist attacks launched by Islamists who see them as a form of legitimate jihad. But it’s time for Muslims to promote a peaceful image of Islam by restructuring their religious field and cleaning it from those who have extreme views legitimizing random killing.

To solve Islamic terrorism has to go hand in hand with promoting justice for all Muslims and narrowing the great disparities between the rich and the poor. Despair and hatred are a gate to terrorism.

Also, the most fundamental way to eradicate Islamic terrorism is to endow Muslims, especially the young, with an education promoting tolerance and open-mindedness. As long as there are Islamic schools in countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia teaching archaic views about Islam and considering anyone who isn’t Muslim as worthy of hell and fighting, terrorism will continue to have a breeding ground in Muslim countries and communities living in non-Muslim countries.

The problem with Islamic terrorism is that there are terrorists who live in inaccessible mountainous terrains as in the borders between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The US, despite its ultra-modern military equipments has so far failed to surround them and break their back. From their caves, these terrorists can spread their ideology and recruit potential terrorists thanks to the internet and other forms of communication.

Fighting terrorism isn’t just the job of Muslim countries but that of the international community. In other words, there should be aggressive intelligence cooperation between all the countries concerned.

There are many outstanding issues like the Palestinian cause and the invasion of Iraq that are used as a pretext to wage terrorism. There should be a solution to these. At least, the terrorists will have little ground to manoeuvre and the support they can get will drop to extinction.

Is old age assuring in relation to saving?

Old age has always been a moment to dread because of failing health and the spectre of finding oneself alone, face to face with the death clock ticking and the memories that are a summary of moments that depict one’s whole life as a success or failure.

But the most dreadful aspect of old age is to be then broke and in poor health, making it impossible to earn one’s living with a decent income.

Perhaps old age is an issue in Western society where people are more inclined to be individualistic. In traditional societies, people invest in their children, which they are the “big cash” when they get old. They get all the necessary material and moral support to help them pass away in peace and dignity.

It is perhaps the end of the extended family and the domination of capitalism that make old age a frightening period when all the savings almost vanish after youthful hardworking life that make the expected golden age a nightmare.

The effect of the financial crisis nationally and worldwide

The current financial crisis affecting the US and other European countries crisis is likely to have an impact worldwide even for countries not needing bailouts to save their banks and other financial institutions.

For Morocco, it is a country that depends on foreign investments, remittance from its migrant population which yearly channels billions of dollars as well as tourism and agricultural exports to the EU. In view of the current crisis, it is likely to be hit or to have many of its development projects at halt, not to mention the postponement of an increase of the workers’ salaries.

What can save Morocco is a rainy season, at least for those with a very limited income not to suffer further increase in food prices.
The good news for those with deposits at banks, they have little to fear as banks are semi-public sector. But the state is likely to feel the pinch as reduced investment means job cuts and a reduction of job creation in other sectors.

China is likely to use the current financial crises to defend its economic policies based on direct state interventions in key economic areas. But now as its economic activities are largely based on external exchange mainly with the USA and the EU channelling hundreds of billions of dollars, it is likely to have itself a slowdown in its economy.

This means giant economies from China, India and G8 should have common policies to deal with the current crisis. If each country tries to have its solutions, this can lead just to temporary easing of the crisis, but structurally, the economy will still be exposed to negative fluctuations.

If there is any good news for the poor around the world, it is that the rich can’t afford their customary luxuries they way they used to. Now they will have to think twice about them, they way the poor think twice about buying basic commodities to balance their dismal budgets.

Maybe it is time for the rich to consider their excessive greed and speculations are the fundamental cause of their downfall which will be catastrophic for all, rich and not so rich.

Are women their own worst enemies?

Women are practically their own enemies. They ask for equality, but at the same time they refute having a woman at the top to control them. Maybe inside they keep attracted to male power from which they get the pleasure of dominating and being dominated.

The fact that women in democratic societies make half of the population and yet key elected posts are held by men has significance. If Hilary wasn’t the wife of Clinton, but supposedly his brother, she could have had a chance to be the Democrat presidential candidate instead of Obama. In view of racism and sexism still prevalent in the USA, some had to choose the lesser “evil” by voting for a black candidate instead of a female one.

Maybe women aspire for admiration and comfortable life, leaving the stress of administration and hard work to men when it comes to decisive action. Women can be educated into believing there must be equality between men and women , but their feminine side itches them to enjoy life and not to have enduring headaches to take decisions. AS such, they don’t seek other women to decide for hem, but men with all prowess and virility that entails.

The point I’d like to make is that capable women are still fighting not to just convince men but also women of their capabilities. In an election, generally, men have the strongest chance to win an election against a women because the male voters prefer a man to represent them because of say their sexism. These male voters are joined by female voters who still find a woman still incapable for hard tasks.

I don’t mean women can’t be at the top of a position in their own rights but it is the macho world in which they live coupled with the lack of solidarity from other women that makes it difficult for them to have senior positions.

Palin is an example of the dilemma women have regarding women power. Should she be supported on the basis of her principles or should she be given encouragement to initiate a new page in the history of the US by having the first female VP.

Women still need more unity among themselves to form a bloc to put an end to male monopoly. This comes with strategy and not with emotional appeals as Sarah Palin seems to convey to some voters.

These are just mere thoughts which can be refuted by some women who think otherwise.


Does the media have an effect on election results?

The media can have an influence on the voters if they choose to campaign against or for a candidate. Although there are those who argue that the media not political leaders call the shots in the UK as there are those who Martin Kettle of The Guardian argues the media has limited sway .

There are the media that focus just on the errors or the ignorance of a candidate. This happened, for example, during the last presidential elections in France when the press cited the blunders of the presidential candidate Segolene Royal like her saying Afghanistan was still ruled by the Taliban.

In countries, where the media is state controlled, the opposition has limited access to radio and television to air its view. The voters are exposed to propaganda rather than to campaigning per se.

As the media has a great influence, the candidates should be careful about every word they pronounce and should be on constant alert to respond to articles and comments against them.

Now the internet has become a powerful tool for campaigning, the candidates have to be more aggressive in their approaches to counter-attack disparaging views. It’s all a matter of communication skills and strategies that can make a candidate look smart or dumb.

Should people be forced to vote?

Voting should be considered as a part of national duty. Not to vote means being unable to take a stand on issues or to be acquiescent about the policies undertaken by those in charge. It also means a sign of public protest when the turnout is very low.

However there is no way to force people to vote if they don’t want to as it amounts to forcing them to choose between candidates or policies they don’t care about. What matters is to have transparent elections reflecting the will of those who choose to vote. In any society, there are people who are born to lead and others who are born lo be led. There are passive as there are active citizens. There are those for whom whatever policy won’t make a difference as the system remains the same regardless of the apparent new approaches.

Making voting compulsory means forcing people to choose a direction among others. In dictatorial regimes, people vote out of fear of being persecuted and the percentage of approval varies from 99.99% to 100%.. In this case not to vote has more significance than voting because it amounts to challenging those who seek to stay in power by whatever means and elections become just a formality to “legitimize” their stay in power.

In some countries people aren’t forced to vote but they are bribed by candidates to vote for them. The one who can give more money is the most likely to win. In such a case elections become just a sham. People cast their vote out of “gratitude” for the “generosity” of the candidate and not because of a plan to serve them.

Elections can have credibility if they are carried out transparently and aren’t like a carnival season in which there are parades, dances and banquets or at worst, they are periods of violence. The most violent and intimidating party secures the winning votes.

In such a case, abstaining from voting is a way to stay clean and not to be embroiled in a corrupt system that legitimises its victory through mean methods that make fool of those who put their trust in the candidates only to find that they were used by them to secure a comfortable post at the expense of the deprived.