Sometimes it is necessary to say the unspeakable. This is one of those times. Almost everyone is haunted by their own private, and often quite large collective, nightmare scenarios. While some of these may be rational, no doubt others are paranoid. But as long as we allow them to lurk, unscrutinised and festering, in our inner psyches, they will continue to wreak havoc with our willpower and sap our strength for effective action to ensure they never materialise. So here is my list of some the catastrophic things I am afraid could possibly happen in the fairly near future unless the world’s most powerful people make a conscious and concerted effort to change course:
MORE WIDESPREAD WAR - especially nuclear war.
NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROLIFERATION. Not just by more countries, but also the obtaining of nuclear weapons or material by non-state terrorist groups.
INVASION OR INTERNAL INSURRECTION in the
INTERRUPTION OF IMPORTED OIL AND GAS SUPPLIES causing
POWER CUTS which would disable communications and transport, disrupt food supplies, and rapidly cause near-total civic chaos, suffering, disease, and death.
EXACERBATION AND PROLIFERATION OF RELIGIOUS HATRED.
PERMANENT EXTINCTION OF CIVIL LIBERTIES AND DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS.
THOUGHT CONTROL AND CENSORSHIP.
A common factor of all the above is that their avoidance depends upon a far wider and more urgent recognition of humanity’s global interdependence, and an active commitment by world leaders to safeguard the extended survival of our species by concerting and implementing measures to reduce the levels of violence now occurring and to promote peace.
I realise that this begs many issues – not least that posed by Sam Harris in his book Letter to a Christian Nation: “It seems profoundly unlikely that we will heal the divisions in our world through inter-faith dialogue. Devout Muslims are as convinced as you are that their religion is perfect and that any deviation leads directly to hell. It is easy, of course, for the representatives of the major religions to occasionally meet and agree that there should be peace on earth, or that compassion is the common thread that unites all the world’s faiths. But there is no escaping the fact that a person’s religious beliefs uniquely determine what he thinks peace is good for, as well as what he means by a term like “compassion”. There are millions – maybe hundreds of millions – of Muslims who would be willing to die before they would allow your version of compassion to gain a foothold on the