Can power shift to powerless nations?
Reza Hossein Borr, London, 20.7.08
Do the powerless remain powerless forever? Do the helpless remain helpless forever? Do the nations who do not have their own governments will remain stateless forever? Do the powerful remain powerful what so ever? Do the strong remain strong forever? If this is the case, what has happened to the Persian Empire? What happened to the Pharaohs of Egypt? What happened to the Roman Empire? What happened to Islamic Empire? What happened to Mongolian Empire? What happened to the Ottoman Empire? What happened to the British Empire? What happened to the Austrian Empire? What happened to the German Empire? What happened to the Soviet Union? What happened to Yugoslavia?
These powerful Empires seemed invincible at the peak of their time. But all of them are gone and they are part of history. If it was not written in the books, nobody could believe that there was a Persian Empire looking at the present situation of Iran. If it was not written in the books, nobody could believe that there was ever a Roman Empire looking at the present situation of Italy and Greece. If it was not written in the books, nobody could believe that there was once the Mongolia Empire that ruled half of the world. If it was not written in the books, nobody could believe that some nomadic Arabs from the centre of Saudi Arabia had demolished two of the greatest empires of the world. This is the case with the rest.
More important than all, nobody believed that one small country like the United Kingdom could form an Empire that the sun did not set in it. And yet it happened. Nobody could believe that one State of Israel could defeat 22 Arab countries and 300 million people. But that's what happened. At the same time, nobody could believe that the same State of Israel was defeated and frustrated by the small organization of Hezbollah.
The fact of history is that power shifts from one country to another country and from one nation to another nation. One nation which is great today will be impoverished tomorrow and a poor country of today will become a great country of tomorrow. This is the rule of history. If it is understood by the countries that are powerful now they will act in a way that when they lose power they will be treated more humanely. The way today the great powers are treating the small nations will be remembered if not by all but by the oppressed nations. It is the oppression that creates intensive feelings for building power from within. This inbuilt and self-built drive for accumulating power becomes more intensive when the oppression on them becomes more extensive.
The Israelis state never dreamed that one day it would be frustrated by the smart strategies of a small organization that has accumulated power from within and without. The Hezbollah members have been suppressed and oppressed for centuries. They have been humiliated by many governments and rulers. They have been subject of discrimination and destruction. They have always been waiting for the right moment to grab to recover their strength, to rule out submission and generate sufficient sustainable ambition in themselves to create conditions in which they can stand firm in the face of an enemy which looked invincible. They could not convince anybody before they engaged in the war of attrition that they could last for 33 days instead of five or seven days. At the end, the Israelis did not achieve their objectives and were not able to destroy Hezbollah and its capabilities as their defined objectives.
It is true that Hezbollah received enormous support from different countries but it had unlimited inner strength too. The same case is true of Israel. When the Arab states could not defeat Israel, the Arab people did. Israel defeated Arab governments, not the Arab people. The Hezbollah opted for a people's war, for a war that people wanted to fight. In the war against the people, it is difficult to succeed. When you oppress people, you press them to summon their oppressed powers and open their horizon to new prospects. The globalization has spread power and divided it among different peoples and governments. Power is not concentrated anymore in one place and in one centre; it is generated everywhere. Because of their sheer persistent devotions and dedications, some people can acquire power through knowledge and skills. The fortunate thing is nobody can stop anybody from acquiring skills and knowledge for achieving a goal if there is sufficient drive behind it. Having knowledge is power but applying it with skill and wisdom makes it invincible.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Milosevic of Yugoslavia concentrated the state powers in his own hand and in the hands of state of Serbia. He never thought that he could be defeated by an assembly of nations. Several nations seceded from Yugoslavia one after another just because Serbia could not understand that what was powerless now may be powerful tomorrow. It is true that the world is extremely ruthless and merciless; but at the same time the world has become smaller than ever and globalization has put people near each other. They can feel each other now. The people and the governments of the world could remain silent if the powerful dictators begin to exert ruthless genocide and ethnic cleansing in certain areas of the world but if the target nations can continue their resistance long enough, there will be other people and other nations who withstand and support them. Yugoslavian government never thought that one day the American and European aeroplanes and armies would bombard its bases; yet they did as the international community observed unbelievable resistance of the peoples who had decided to pursue freedom.
When the British decided to politically occupy India, Britain had 10 million populations and India had about 100 million populations. The British technology empowered the British soldiers to defeat the Indian army and destroy their freedom and independence. Two hundred years later, India is emerging as a prosperous, strong and powerful nation. The fragmented India lost war against a very small but powerful country. Now the power is shifting from America and Europe to Asia where it was originally developed. To be able to compete with India and China, the European small but powerful countries decided to create European Union. They are expanding that regularly and continuously but yet, its population is less than India and its power is likely to be less than India in the next decades.
To enable themselves to continue their power, European countries are seeking alliance with other countries. The French president's initiative for forming Mediterranean Union is a great example. There are 44 countries that have borders with Mediterranean Sea. They have both similarities and differences with the European Union but they are closest to European Union geographically, historically and culturally. There are already millions of people from Mediterranean area who are living in Europe, building a possible bridge for the extension of European Union into Mediterranean Union.
Instead of all these initiatives, nothing is certain of the future. The weak countries of Asia are becoming aware of their identity and historical background. They are searching their souls in history to look for new guidelines and searchlights for their newly found power of emergence. Search for power is essential when your survival is at stake. The people, who are finding themselves at the brink of extinction, can invigorate now their will for seeking new strategies which can make them successful in retaining not only their identity but also getting the opportunity for a comprehensive resurrection.
The Baluch people like the Kurds have been subject of ruthless policies by several governments whose only point of similarity is their desire and will for breaking the will of these people for self-government. The more the Baluch and Kurds receive oppression, the more they become determined for searching for new ways of acquiring sufficient power to press for their national rights. A nation cannot allow itself to gradually disappear from the face of the earth because its enemies have forced them into that situation. Every people, every individual and every class now have different viable options for fighting constructively to regain its lawful rights. As the oppression spreads, more individual become aware of their oppressed status and seek new ways of asserting themselves in international community. Whatever the ruthlessness of the oppressive governments may be, the determination of the oppressed will double and triple to rise over the capabilities of the opponents.
The powerful will not retain their power forever. The powerless will not remain powerless forever. Power shifts from one country to another country and from one person another. The ruthless governments make the powerless feel the intensity of pressure. The intensity of pressure forms the scale and volume of will for actions. As the pressure becomes more intense, the natural resources of the oppressed for survival open up widely and flow in all directions to attract support and substantiate reasons for survival.
Intensity of the oppression also brings with it the intensity for personal, tribal and national awareness in the oppressed and forces them to know the ingredients in their identity that bring oppression. These phenomena will move the oppressed beyond the limits of consciousness that has been imposed on them. The new level of consciousness begins to grow. Along with the consciousness, a series of higher level of instincts wake-up to generate the kind of skills that are needed at the crucial times in life. The intensity of will for survival along with the extensivity of skills takes the individual or nations to a new level of creativity in which solutions begin to flow. The moments of death and life may happen for one individual in normal conditions very rarely but the moments of life and death are the most generative moments in life and happen in the life of the oppressed regularly and therefore, multiply his thinking and action power to a level where success becomes inevitable.
Nations like Baluch, Kurd, Pashtun, Chechen and few other nations are going through this extremely generative moment and process of life and death. This is the reason that we see the Pashtun nationalists employ Islam as a cover and a shield for promoting their nationalistic ideas of having their independent state. The intensity of oppression has created the intensity in the ideology they have brought in to rescue themselves. Intensity in the feelings of Islamism is directly related to the pressure on them from different sides. If we look at the history of Taleban and Alqaedah in the region of Baluchistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, you will see that the people of the region increased extremism of Islam to match the pressure coming from the West and the governments of the region. At the beginning, Alqaedah and Taleban movement were limited to a small region. No doubt it has spread in a wide region in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The main soldiers of Taleban are the Pashtun, the Baluch who look at Islam as their way of salvation. Radical Islam is roaming in the region which has major problems beyond Islam.
If the oppression of the Baluch and Pashtun continues, radicalism and extremism in Islam and nationalism will continue to grow to match the forces of the other side. Islam is not any more an objective and the struggle against the West and the governments of region is not a jihad against the infidels. It is their liberation movement that is seeking the liberation of some nations that are spearheading Islamic movement as the goal although it is for accomplishing other tasks beyond Islamic principles.
Keeping in mind that power shifts, the shifting of power requires certain tools and means. These tools and means are employed to attain some objectives that are not clearly defined in the public field. The idea is to do something but to achieve something else which is not publicised. What is publicised is an objective which is acceptable to the wider range of people who can help in materialising the hidden agenda. If they use the original goal and promote it, it is unlikely that they will receive international support. Certainly the cause of the people of Pashtun, Kurd or Baluch is not the concern of many nations. Talking about Baluch oppression and nationalism obviously will not give them the natural response that they expect from the people of region. The Pashtuns use another effective mechanism which has already been deeply felt in the hearts and minds of millions of people and it is Islam. They are using Islam to acquire national independence.
The Taleban were seeking the support of the regional governments to promote Islamic radicalism as a tool for liberation of Pashtunistan. When they did not receive positive responses from the governments of the region, they directly resorted to the masses and what was very dear to masses and that was Islam. If the governments could not support, the people could; and therefore now these are the Moslems all over the world that are challenging support for the Taleban and Alqaedah.
The Afghans used Islam to capture India and rule it for several centuries. They have employed Islam also for capturing Central Asia territories and ruling them. It has worked in the past and it may work now and in the future. The perseverance is the key word.
Reza Hossein Borr is a leadership consultant and the creator of 150 CDs and 14 Change management models. He is also the author of Manual Success, Manual of Coaching and Mentoring, Motivational Stories that Can Change Your Life, and a New Vision for the Islamic World. He can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org