Dr Akbar Ahmed Sees a Glimmer of Hope

In the midst of the global turmoil, the murder and mayhem that seems to be everywhere, we saw a glimmer of hope as Palestinians and Israelis once again began to talk to each other about peace; as the international community began to reassess policy and strategy for the war-torn nations of Iraq and Afghanistan and as the lawyers and human rights activists of Pakistan stood up to a military dictator.
While in themselves, none of these initiatives quite achieved their objectives, they nonetheless gave us what is perhaps the greatest gift in the face of despair - the human capacity to hope. Take the last example of Pakistan. After almost a decade of military rule, the country has run into the ground with widespread anarchy now affecting many districts of the country. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, quickly followed by others, demanded the restoration of full and open democracy. We suddenly saw how ordinary people could stop a military juggernaut in its tracks and create genuine optimism in people. Democracy in itself may not solve the problems of Pakistan, but if fair and free elections are held, it allows ordinary people to participate - and that process keeps the hope of a better tomorrow alive.
So, in the face of the great challenges the international community faces in 2008, all of us, especially our leaders, must exhibit wisdom, vision and compassion. It will allow us to live in hope in otherwise trying times.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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