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A Khan from history
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-02-09 10:30:15
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During the Cold War there were often scientists and academics who had given very critical scientific discoveries and works to the other side and with that I don’t only mean the Soviet scientists who managed to escape to the west but I mean western scientists who gave basic scientific secrets to the Soviet Union including some very critical. A lot of them did it for money, there is no doubt about it but the odd thing is that most did it in the name of peace.

I know how crazy that might sound but remember that it was back in fifties and sixties; the entire world had seen what a nuclear bomb can do and all knew that the two superpowers were building an unbelievable arsenal of nuclear bombs and the dogma was that this terror balance was protecting peace. And they were building more bombs and more advance weapons. Some scientists feared that one side might get more advance and living in the era of constant fear and threat they might press the wrong button and then …nothing, the end of earth and humanity. Under this fear these people voluntarily gave critical secrets to the other side.

There were too many excuses because you see they didn’t give secrets only to the other side but there were some who gave secrets to others in the name of this balance of horror and I’m not trying to excuse them I’m just trying to say that politics with terror had confused people and they did the wrong decisions. You see these people didn’t know what we know today, for them the other side with all the force of the propaganda looked like the paradise of the worker, were everybody is equal with equal chances and they had to compare it with poverty and unemployment. Don’t worry; the other side had the same issues.

Why I thought about all that, is because I read on the news about the Pakistani scientist, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan who was released from his home arrest. The man gave or sold national secrets involving the creation of nuclear bombs to Iran, North Korea and Libya and the question is, was he a traitor or a hero? The man when he came out of his house after this long house arrest the first thing he thought to say was that he doesn’t care if George W. Bush and Dick Cheney consider him as a criminal he feels right and obviously nobody told him that Bush and Cheney belong to history anymore just like his confusion should. But it doesn’t unfortunately and this confused man is another example of the new era of confusion we live and we might have put names like Soviet Union in the history books but fear is back with a new name, actually too many new names.

How can you say that is not his fault, the man was fully aware what he was giving to the other side and probably he was fully aware of the kind this other side is but he still did it because inside him he was feeling that he was helping the less evil and in countries like Pakistan the west, meaning USA and EU is the pure evil and this is not rationally based on religion but on long way of mistakes from both sides. Pakistani leaders for example based for long their survival to their anti-western feelings like it is the west’s mistake that the people of Pakistan have to deal with an endless corruption, not health, education or security system and a destroyed economy. It is the media that live and breathe through their anti-western coronas and it is the west that cannot be an example of tolerance and democracy. How can you be an example of justice and democracy when you proven use torturing exactly the same way the countries you accuse in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in Guantanamo? Apparently history will tell us in a few years how many Guantanamo really exist.

How can you demand obedience to The Hague International Court and put it as a term for participation in the international community or different alliances that will help the prosperity of your people when you refuse to be a member yourself?

I don’t know if I make sense, I just think that we live again really confusing times and what makes me worrying is that in exactly these times the dark side of ours finds the chance to come out and Dr. Khan might represents the one side but there is another side equally dangerous, the McCarthy side for the older ones and the mail control, the fear of the bearded men and the fear of the unknown and often not understand. What we need now is to make everybody understand, understand beyond prejudice, beyond religion and definitely beyond arms. We have to make everybody understand and respect and then they can accept democracy. And then Khans of this world will know that George W. Bush was just one man and the world is made from too many man most of them wanting nothing more than peace and justice.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-02-09 11:24:32
“What we need now is to make everybody understand, understand beyond prejudice, beyond religion and definitely beyond arms.”

Thanos, I beg to respectfully but profoundly differ from the above statement in an otherwise insightful article, in as much as it refers to religion. As I attempt to elucidate in today’s accompanying article on the nexus between religion and inalienable human rights, it is exactly religion which can make us better understand because it gives the best notion of the “beyond” or in more theological terms the “transcendent.” Without the notion of the transcendent that of inalienable human rights is inconceivable and is invariably confused with that of civil rights as conferred legally by a state and which a state can violate and take away when it best suits it. That word “inalienable” is inconceivable outside the Judeo-Christian ethos which admittedly has important elements of the Greco-Roman civilization, but neither ancient Greeks nor Romans had it, but its roots and origins are not there but within Judaism and Christianity. As I mention at the very beginning of the article, unfortunately and all too often religion and theology are treated nowadays as clichés and caricatures accompanied by an assumption: that they are not appropriate for the enlightened secular relativistic times in which we live. I submit, as maintained throughout the above mentioned article, that such an assumption is not only not fair to the historical record, it is in fact misguided and may eventually lead not to the strengthening of human rights but to their weakening.

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