A CHALLENGING TIME

The Presidential impeachment procedure in the United States is not the only kind of challenge the citizens of a country face about the governing of their particular country. America's closest ally the United Kingdom is facing its own version of difficulty. For nearly two years it has failed to decide whether it would stay within the European Union or leave. The existing situation continues which has forced a new election there. Both the United States and UK have a vibrant democracy, one with an elected president and the other with a Constitutional Monarchy.

To the east, Hong Kong right now is boiling over. At the turn of the last century it became a part of China. However, having been under the British rule for so many years, it has developed certain traits that are different from the people of China ruled by a Communist Government. At the time of merger, there was an agreement among the Crown, the people of Hong Kong and the Government of China that the people of Hong Kong will retain certain privileges. Now, the Chinese Government wants to abrogate them. As usual, students of Hong Kong have been on the forefront of protest against losing their special status. This has been going on for the last six months. At this point, who will lose or who will win at the end, does not matter. The contest is between a rag tag army of volunteers against a powerful government with all the weapons at its disposal. One can't help but think the popular movement against the Soviet Government in Russia a generation ago.

While the United States, the United Kingdom and China are going through their share of difficulties the Middle East is simmering in sweat. It is not the heat of the land that is causing this but the social, economic and political situation. Upheaval is taking place in almost every country in the Middle East. A decade back, there was the Arab Spring. It uprooted dictatorships such as that of Hosni Mubarak and Mao mar Gaddafi. Many in those areas had thought that something drastic will happen and the lot of the man on the street will improve. It did not. The popular movement's result in many cases became hijacked by the religious zealots. Instead of economic and political development people saw another form of suppression. And they have not fully recovered from that yet. At the same time social oppression, poverty and war have remained a constant in the Middle East. Citizens in droves from different Middle Eastern countries are fleeing their tortured land. By coming next door to Europe they find themselves unwelcome. By adding to the upheaval that already exists there they are doing no service to themselves or to their hosts.

Countries in the Southern hemisphere are not faring any better. Evo Morales, the President of Guatemala abandoned his post as he faced challenges from the legislators. A new group of elected officials are getting ready to move in. After 14 years Morales became unpopular and for the time being is being replaced by Jeanine Chavez, the speaker. Argentina has seen a change in its government where the Peronists are back in power. Venezuela's leftist President Maduro is not gone yet. However, he is expected to be replaced by a pro- America, pro-democracy element. Saying something and actually doing it are two different things.

India's situation is unique. Religious tolerance and Secularism have bitten dust. They have been replaced by Hindutva, pure and simple. The Supreme Court's decision on Ajodhya has been a boon to this sentiment. Although in many areas India has made progress, spectacular progress at times, the anemic condition in the field of economic development continues to persist.

In the face of all the changes that are happening, climate problem caused by an overheated Earth has become really worrisome. While we, humans are at each other's throat, a rising tide from the expanding ocean is ready to drown us all. It is a challenging time no doubt.



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