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2017! The year of phobia

Dec 24,2017 - Last updated at Dec 24,2017

If you ask an ordinary news addict to name the most important events of 2017, he or she will point to elections in major countries like Germany, Japan, Austria, Iran, etc… . He may cite the rise of young people to power in Saudi Arabia, Austria, France other than Canada. You may have events like North Korea’s nuclear and hydrogen bomb tests, the Chinese change of economic paradigm, the Fed’s raising of interest rates, and the impressive economic revival of the US, Japan, Canada and China.

The list can go on inexhaustibly. The defeat of the Daesh terror group in Iraq and Syria was only neutralised by the rise of terror action in some European countries, the US and as far as Australia. Natural disasters were rampant causing unprecedented havoc in the US and Asia. 

One may cite the separatist movements in Spain, the UK, and other countries like Iraq and Syria as the main serious threat to many countries. Such a tendency was further buttressed by the strengthening of far-right movements aimed at foreigners and immigrants.

Economic boycotts and protectionist trends rendered the World Trade Organisation (WTO) less important and strengthened the   role of financial organisations like the IMF.

Regional polarisation and quick alliances have also distinguished 2017. Such a quirky situation has entrapped many countries of the world in the quick sands of having to choose new allies who may soon change. Big countries can cope with that, but small ones find it fatiguingly laborious. 

One can point to the great advances and challenges posed by the ever-expanding virtual world. Cyber security is gaining greater attention. New (IT) products, programmes and services like the cloud are taking over. A world without paper currencies is closer than ever to becoming a physical reality, and new currencies (bitcoin) are commanding markets to the edge of bewilderment. 

Yet, the world is basically motivated by fear. Xenophobia, Islamophobia, atonic phobia, agoraphobia and even delusional phobias like triskaidekaphobia (fear of number 13). Fear is the enemy of peace and security. It reduces human beings to their jungle mentality of killing others because we take their fear of us as sign of threat to our existence.

This is an over-crowded world. We need to cooperate to survive. This globe which is expected to provide livelihood for 9 billion people in 2050 and about 11.5 billion in 2100 may implode.

Yet, in Jordan nothing has topped the issue of Jerusalem. The Trump decision to move the US embassy there and recognise the holly city as the capital of Israel prompted a collective spirit which changed Jordanian priorities from mundane issues to sublime ones.


The year 2018 should mark the beginning of the proof that the process leading to our collective destruction is reversible. 

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