As you know the topic is quite intriguing and almost hints at the proposition of a very deep dark conspiracy theory connecting ISIS, Brexit and Trump (we are using the word ‘Trump’ more as a phenomenon rather than a person). But, as much as it might disappoint you, I am not going to talk about any conspiracies here. Just plain facts and an observation which any lay man, or woman, can and I think should, make. It will be obvious once I state it. But it’s the obvious that eludes us. Articulating it and having a plan to address the obvious will help us be part of the solution. This is the objective of this piece.
Owing to the multi-layered and complicated nature of the topic let’s set some guidelines for this piece;
- What we are going to discuss:
- The underlying phenomenon of ISIS, Brexit and Trump
- The common modus operandi, SOPs if you like, of the three
- What can, and should, we do about it
- What we are not discussing in this piece:
- The right and wrong of it; it is important, but not covered in this piece.
- My opinion about these events / group; my opinion about ISIS is that it’s a group grossly misinterpreting Islam, demonizing it for the world and has no solutions for current problems faced by humanity and is a terrorist organization. As for Brexit and Trump, I think both have good stuff and bad, but the bad outweighs the good and by far in case of Trump I’m afraid. That’s about all we’ll talk about my opinion on these 3 phenomena. This piece doesn’t put forward arguments and facts in favour of my opinions, which may be catered in a later piece. Albeit, I have clearly stated my opinions to avoid confusion in the mind of the reader as there will be certain arguments presented which might push readers to form incorrect opinion about my opinion, but such arguments are only presented to aide better understanding of the complete picture. And if this was not confusing enough, let’s move on.
- Not much about statistics; these are easy to find, you can google them. Along the passage I will hint as to what you need to google. Facts, statistics, data bites are all too easy to get in this information age, what you don’t get is the complete story.
Generally fear, anger and distorted religious understanding are identified as main causes of Trump, Brexit and ISIS (some would argue the order). But if we look deeper they are just manifestations of the same deep, dark sensation; a perception of deprivation and injustice. I say perception not to say it is always unreal, but to say that it may or may not be.
So here is the modus operandi laid bare (just like the recipe of a homemade bomb, IED, which can be made from supplies available in the neighbourhood grocery store): find the target group you intend to mobilize for your agenda, inflate (this word is important, we’ll come back to it later) their sense of deprivation, give them a definition of justice, identify the enemy who is obstructing that notion of justice, wait for an opportunity (they always give you a grand entry chance on the stage) and then, call to action!
See for yourself (google it): ISIS found the people it needed to mobilize in Iraq and Syria. Inflating their sense of deprivation, all Gods will agree, was not at all difficult. War has a way of aggravating sense of deprivation on all sides, with the notable exception of arms’ suppliers. A definition of justice was easy to come up with; they hit us, they abolished our caliphate (some time back, most would say in 1924), they deprived (remember) us of progress through colonization and still exploit us, so we will hit back for justice. We will kill their civilians as they do ours, we will build a political system of our own where all will be just. Justice will be defined by (our interpretation of) Islam. Usually, you would have noticed, a justice notion prepared under these circumstances conjures up the ‘us’ and ‘them’ scenario effortlessly. Now all that was needed was an opportunity which was, as predicted, graciously provided by the mismanaged withdrawal initiations of the US forces from Iraq. Then it was call for action and as they say the rest is history. On the side-lines, humanity keeps suffering, justice is nowhere in sight and the perception of deprivation is shooting through the roof. And this time perception and reality do not seem to differ much.
Now focus on Brexit. Follow the same recipe. Target group identified as people struggling to benefit from economic prosperity, which is a common target. Their perception of deprivation ignited by showing how jobs and prosperity are taken away by undeserving immigrants and large multinationals benefitting from single market of Europe, all aided by the Brussel based and French (or some would argue German) controlled management dictating the great Britain’s policies. Justice was then defined; we should select sovereignty over prosperity if that be the choice. Further, we need not make that choice, as they (see the ‘us’ and ‘them’ thing) need us for prosperity not the other way round. We will have prosperity too. It is unjust to put our people second. In this light the enemy was simple to identify; the ‘other’ party voting Remain. Another case of a grand opportunity being provided came to light when David Cameron promised during his election campaign to put the Brexit issue to popular vote. His promise was fulfilled. About a dozen Nobel laureates in Economics cautioned that Brexit would be bad for British and European economic health. But the words of caution were too little and too late for a ‘deprived’ majority finally called into action to vote leave. How this will help the cause of the ‘deprived’ is yet to be figured out, but don’t hold your breath.
Meanwhile a target group was being prepared in the United States of America by increasing economic disparity (google it), a political system reaping almost all the problems of a two party structure and a sense that Wall Street (big boys) are running much of the show in and out of the country (through wars, banks, big corporations, media, etc.). Then came the right opportunity (it never fails you) in an election where the ‘status quo’ didn’t have a show-stopper candidate. Hence the Trump card was played. Inflating the perception of deprivation was child’s play. See this as a list: money going to health care not benefitting anyone (but some humans, perhaps), political system so clogged it even caused a government shutdown, jobs are taken away through outsourcing to third world countries, wars are fought in costly fashion (just bomb them and get rid of the mess in Syria, etc.), menacing Muslims are yet allowed to come into the country, Jews are manipulating the financial system to our harm (oh boy, we all love conspiracies like this one, and we almost feel proud to declare ourselves victims of it, or should I say we like to be called ‘deprived’), and so on. These wrongs had to be corrected. Justice has to be done. Justice is to make America great again by taking it back from the status quo, from Wall Street, from political elite, from immigrants enjoying a not-for-them American dream, from races who do not deserve the privileges available only to the white man. The ‘other’ party in this case was manifested in the person of Hillary Clinton, a symbol of status quo, a presidential candidate on Wall Street payroll (as declared by Michael Moore when he was supporting Bernie Sanders against Hillary. Michael later on became a vehement supporter of Hillary against Donald Trump. He even made the movie ‘Michael Moore in Trumpland’ to convince voters against Trump.).
There was a call for action, to vote. Caution was sounded by all and sundry. But potent perceptions of deprivation trumped rationality. The majority that mattered (which is not the popular vote in US elections) favoured Trump. Some because of his racism and misogyny and some in spite of it. They saw a saviour who could challenge the status quo to ease the plight of the ‘deprived’ just as a saviour was seen in ISIS to restore caliphate along with the lost glory of Islam, and in Brexit for the return of greatness to Britain.
What should we be doing about it?
Charity begins at home. Take guard against the persistent enemy in your head; perception of deprivation. Remember my emphasis on the word ‘inflate’? It denotes that the perception is almost always there, just needs inflating not creating. Its human psyche, I think. Someone greets us and says we are looking healthy and good, and we instantly start thinking, ‘what is this guy up to?’ But if the same person walks up and says ‘you look a bit down today, everything ok?’ and we can come up with all the horrible things we have been ‘suffering’. Get the idea? We like to have self-pity, even if you prefer to play strong, somewhere deep down under we really feel bad for our deprivations.
I am not saying this is always fiction. But, fact or not, it gives others an unreasonable power over us. It makes us vulnerable, likely to fall for a strain of thought we would dislike under normal circumstances.
So the step is to take care of yourself in this regard. Can’t pour from an empty cup. Second is to help others. More on this later. Keep in touch.
Your feedback is valuable, please share.
For a video talk on the topic refer below (in URDU, first 23 mins):