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It's best time to revisit Last Days of Humanity



Now is the time to stage a performance of The Last Days of Humanity. Written by Austrian satirist Karl Kraus during the peak days of World War I, The Last Days of Humanity is perhaps the most ferocious anti-war polemic ever written. It has never been properly staged or performed since it was written not because of the enormity of its size, but because "Earthly audiences could not bear it.  For it is blood of their blood, and its contents are the contents of those unreal, incomprehensible years beyond the reach of conscious memory, which live on only in nightmares where clowns act out the tragedy of man. 

The action, running through a hundred scenes and a hundred hells, is improbable, disjointed, and 'hero-less'. The events shown in this play, no matter how unlikely, actually took place; the words spoken in this play, no matter how unlikely, are true quotations."

In The Last Days of Humanity, consisting of 203 scenes, with a cast of hundreds, and stretching to 800 pages, "Kraus brought all his formidable satirical skills to bear as he excoriated the militarism, jingoism, war profiteering, propaganda and stupidity that had brought Europe to disaster."

Our times, especially past one decade and more, appear morbidly similar to the scenario Kraus depicted in his epic play — a wasteland rendered by "militarism, jingoism, war profiteering, propaganda and stupidity." Ours is the time when every evening as said by T.S. Eliot "is spread out against the sky, Like a patient etherised upon a table."

We know for certain "the morbid events of our times seem to elude not just the capacity of the satirist but call into question the value of making any kind of commentary at all, when it seems incumbent on writers not to try and understand events or come up with analyses and rational explanations, but simply to record things as they happen, like a secretary taking a dictation from history."

The futility of making any kind of commentary notwithstanding, we cannot remain silent to what the United States and Nato has done to Libya. They, especially the British Prime Minister David Cameron and former French president Nicholas Sarkozy, have turned Libya into another Afghanistan of pre 9/11 days.

Since long, particularly after the fall and murder of Muammar Gaddafi, we have been voicing our premonitions. We knew that the West's intervention in Libya was a damning mistake. We knew that the intervention would create serious security vacuum which would only be filled up by radicals, fundamentalists and religious bigots, armed to their teeth. We knew that these forces will only create situations which will become too dangerous not only for Libya but also for the whole of North Africa, Arabia and the world.

Militarism, jingoism, war profiteering, propaganda and stupidity that had brought Europe to disaster in the wake of World War I have returned. History will testify the fact that West and Western interventions have never furthered the causes of our (human) civilisation. They enslaved people, stole resources which never belonged to them, ruined civilisations, killed at will, wantonly shed blood only to establish their religious and racial supremacy and committed endless crimes against humanity for centuries sans remorse.

They are out again with their morbid designs; "set a time bomb of war in Africa"; started a fire in Libya they cannot extinguish and have bred crows which are now out to pull out our eyes. Arming the Libyan rebels was a blunder the price of which the United States has already started paying. Rest of the world too would have to pay dearly soon.

Russia has already blamed the West for the current turmoil in Africa. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, "Those whom the French and Africans are fighting now in Mali are the (same) people who ... our Western partners armed so that they would overthrow the Gaddafi regime." Lavrov was right and his contention was supported by the Emergency Director of Human Rights Watch Peter Bouckaert. Peter said that the toppling of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi led to "perhaps the greatest proliferation of weapons of war from any modern conflict." Michael Kelley's report in Stop the War Coalition referred to a senior Algerian official who told The New York Times that the militants who seized an oil field in Algeria bought their weapons in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

Lavrov feared that the "unrest across the Middle East could play into the hands of radical militants." In fact, the West was stupid not to foresee this inevitability before it intervened in Libya. Washington realised its folly sooner than Britain and France when its Ambassador and few others were killed.

The West and Washington may not have provoked the Arab Spring but they tried to control it, fanned the movement, encouraged the contagion to spread like virus and manage it to their political advantage. Did Albert Einstein foresee that his race would one day degenerate into a bottomless pit of stupidity? In all probability, he did and that was why he said, "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

Infiniteness of the West's stupidity is virtually telltale. They thought of profiting from the turmoil, arming rebels in pulling down dictators with whom Washington, Paris and London rubbed shoulders for too long and stepping into to fill up the vacuum. Their calculation has gone terribly awry. Their moves not only shattered the equilibrium created over the decades but have also pushed the entire MENA region and Arabia in general into utter confusion, chaos and into a spiral of violence.


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