The Awakening East

Mauritius Times – 60 Years Ago

Fence Sitting Comments on World Affairs

One aspect of the awakening of the whole of Asia is this: a strange herd instinct is binding them all together, in their economic struggle towards full economic autonomy

When Napoleon first assessed China’s potential strength, he said:

‘China is asleep — let her sleep, for God only knows what will happen when she wakes up.’

Today the giant is wide awake. In other words, 600 million people are awake!… And this is quite a figure to reckon with.

Until 1917, Russia was nothing but a nation of peasants. Backward, illiterate peasants. No one knew at that time that the economic doctrines of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx were to provoke revolutionary changes in USSR with far-reaching effects throughout the whole of Asia and the world at large.

Indeed, Russia is wide awake today! So much so that she is in no way afraid of America or Europe… It would be quite futile to speculate on the iron-clad bonds of friendship which bind together both Russia and China. The blunt truth is that Russia and China are presently doing quite well side by side in Asia. And they are quite determined to resist all forms of nonsense from the West.

And India?… Well, let the Indian Premier himself define the position of modern India: ‘The future of 400,000,000 human beings is of essential importance. These beings are no longer passive agents of others; they are active, dynamic, and hungering to shoulder the burdens of their own destiny and to shape it according to their own wishes.’ This is both a bold and courageous statement, pregnant with faith and goodwill.

Similarly, Indonesia, Pakistan, the whole of the Arab world, and Indo-China are all countries on the threshold of bewildering changes, all akin in their essence or their social or economic set-up.

One aspect of the awakening of the whole of Asia is this: a strange herd instinct is binding them all together, in their economic struggle towards full economic autonomy.

The recent Suez conflict has clearly shown that almost the whole countries of Asia are behind Nasser. And Nasser knows it and it is probably for this reason that he is deliberately trying to play East against West in his great gamble!…

 

* * *

Armageddon or a false alarm?…

On two occasions, General Douglas Mac Arthur said:

‘The whole epicentre of world affairs rotates back towards the area whence it started…’

According to certain Christian prophecies, the final act of the earth’s drama will be enacted in the area where human history first began namely the near in East, for the Hebrew word Armageddon, means ‘mountain’, and ‘Megiddo’ is but 60 miles from Jerusalem.

Are we slowly moving today towards Armageddon? Prof Joad, in his ‘Recovery of Belief’ states clearly: ‘The stage is set for it…’

Armageddon, from the Bible, will be a titanic and futile battle between East and West — and strange enough, the place of the battle is clearly defined in the Book of Books! Is Nasser setting the stage for it, in a near future?

Fortunately, despite the urgency of the Suez affair, the whole world does not seem as yet to be ripe for war. And we are all the happy for it. Despite a lot of sabre-rattling on both sides of the curtain, we do not think that we have come to the final climax.

* * *

And The Suez Affairs?

Public opinion in Britain is certainly against all forms of war or aggression although as yet Britain has been seriously provoked in the Canal Zone. Let us be frank about the whole issue: Nasser’s move was definitely undemocratic. Somehow, as yet, he has been cunning enough to get away with it.

And what will be the stand of Britain in the whole affair? Sir Anthony Eden originally meant to force a showdown on Nasser, but from all quarters in Britain except among some fawning capitalists, his policy was frowned upon, until he cooled down and consented to invoke the authority of the Security Council.

For the time being we do not think that the whole issue will flare up into a bitter and deadly war. Britain is too determined to stick to her moral code and Britain sincerely wants peace — to allow herself to go berserk.

We all hope here that a satisfactory compromise will be evolved eventually by both parties, with a view to achieving a peaceful settlement of the thorny issue.

Until then, let us all meditate upon the timely and solemn advice of Dr Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury:

‘In the field of international politics, everyone knows that war is no longer compatible with civilisation; that when nations dispute with one another, the appeal should be no longer to force, but to reason against reason.

‘But to change from one to the other is terribly difficult and risks disaster…’

But who wants to look at the Suez affair in the cold light of reason and common sense – incidentally, the most uncommon sense in the world?…


* Published in print edition on 25 January 2019

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