Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid
President of Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations
The year 2020 will drop its curtain in a few days. There is no denying that the journey of history throughout 2020 is extraordinary, both nationally and internationally.
When the curtain of 2020 opened, a sense of euphoria welcomed it incredibly. Malaysia is envisioned with Vision 2020 laden with all hopes to forge the status of a developed country.
Although 2019 has signaled that the world scenario is not very positive, but the world community is excited about the year 2020. Exactly 12.00 pm on 31st December 2019 all over the world celebrates the celebration of 2020 extraordinarly. Expectations of growth, prosperity and progress are projected by economists.
But no one thought that 2020 would bring disaster to the world on an unusually severe scale. What is clear is that 2020 witnessed critical and uncertain face.
In the early part of 2020, the country’s political landscape changed unexpectedly. Hope turns into betrayal. It then proceeded to the ouster of the elected government. The victory of GE14 over cleptocracy changed dramatically after the 22-month reform was in progress. It was shocked by a political conspiracy full of drama. Jumping and pronouncing political party platforms resulted in the emergence of a new alliance that took over the government. The politics of the country turned into the squabbling of politicians for power. Politics became the battleground to retain and grab the seats of power. The rakyat observed the politicians bringing down each other. Finally a new government was established through the game of numbers and the people’s mandate was set aside.
No less significant is the world’s political dramas , setting the global scenario in turmoil. The United States (US) presidential election went full swing in 2020. For the first time U.S. politics is tensed and laden with internal issues (abuse of power, fierce clashes between Democrats and Republicans) to seize the White House. The issue of white supremacy sparked the Black Lives Matter movement in the US which saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets.
This year saw the US shaping the Middle East politics with the “Deal of the Century” aiming to strengthen Israel’s position. Even worse, 2020 saw the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco announced diplomatic relations (normalization) with Israel. The betrayal of the Palestinian struggle is witnessed in 2020.
Similarly, during 2020, the people’s uprising broke out in France, Greece, Lebanon, Russia, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Senegal. To the east, Thailand and Hong Kong continue to be turbulent. The same is true in Nigeria, Sudan and Israel. The politics of each country are in turmoil with the demand for the President, the Prime Minister and the government to be ousted for reasons of fraud, corruption and ammasing nation’s wealth.
In India, millions of people take to the streets to oppose the citizenship law and the law on the yield of farmers. From religious hate campaigns to enacting laws that questions the citizenship of hundred of millions of its own people, have destabilized the social fabric of India.
Several national elections in Africa were held in 2020 which saw the people streaming down to the streets in protest and rejecting the election results claiming the governments have committed fraud. Claims of democracy as the only political model to protect the rights of people turned into massive manipulation and deception.
Meanwhile, the issue of ethnic oppression continued to be the reality throughout 2020. The oppressed Kashmiris, Rohingyas and Uyghurs have not shown any signs of the possibility of achieving justice and freedom. The prolonged oppression, denial of rights and human rights violations of minorities is on the rise in the records of 2020. The UN has miserably failed to address the humanitarian catastrophe.
Meanwhile, devastation continues as a result of conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan. War broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The latest is the conflict between Ethiopia and the Tigray fighters.
Civilians are the most vulnarable victims of conflicts. The 2020 era witnessed hundred of thousands of civilians turned into refugees, risking their lives to seek safer grounds. Many parished in their desperation to cross the sea and rough journeys ending up in concentration camps and detention centers in alien countries.
Saudi Arabia got caught up in the war in Yemen and had severed its ties with Qatar and continued hostility with Iran. As a US ally , Saudi seems to put priority on the hegemony of the western imperialist power to ensure zionist israel expansionist agenda.
India and China created a tensed situation at their borders and India worsened the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. While Kashmir is denied of rights to self-determination, India ignored the UN resolution for a plebiscite rendering Kashmir at the mercy of the BJP rule.
Also this year witnessed a very harsh civil war in Libya amid foreign interference. Millions suffered from this war which was kicked off from an agenda of regime change just like Iraq .
While 2020 also staged a trade war between America and China affecting the world economy. This tension was further compounded by the tense situation in the South China Sea when China took steps to send warships in the disputed marine territory..
Then suddenly the Covid-19 pandemic exploded. Although the news of coronavirus began to be heard in China at the end of 2019, the month of March 2020 suddenly became the starting point for an outbreak. From an epidemic it turned into a pandemic. Its momentum was so huge that it dwarfed the casualties of a tsunami. It hit the world across borders in 218 countries within few days.
As of this writing more than 73 million people worldwide are infected with Covid-19, more than 1.6 million people have died. Starting in China, South Korea , Covid-19 spread with unprecedented speed to Italy, UK, France, Turkey, Germany, Portugal, Russia, US, Canada. The virus spread rapidly in Brazil and India to Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia. All countries are scrambling for vaccines. 2020 will be the worst pandemic year since the Spanish flu in 1918.
As a result, the chain impact could not be stopped. To remedy the crisis the borders of countries are closed. The movement of people limited. Daily livelihood was forced to change to restrain the pandemic. Consumption drops sharply. As a result of Covid-19, the world economy by 2020 is paralyzed. Millions lost their jobs. The economic downturn hit the world. Slow growth and country’s budget are affected. Billions of dollars worth of stimulus had to be spent. Domestic and foreign debt soared. The economy is expected to take a long time to recover.
No less worrying is the degrading quality of the environment throughout 2020. Hurricanes, poluted seas and rivers, large-scale fires, devastating earthquakes and floods as well as the spread of new viruses have sparked a world crisis. The environmental crisis worsens as climate change becomes more severe throughout 2020.
Much needs to be learned from the turmoils and the insanity in 2020. Arrogance and stubbornness have resulted in destructions on land, sea and the sky by the human hands. The abnormality commands the normal.
Tears and blood of millions have spilled which could have been avoided. Inhumanity and exploitation seems to reign. Dignity and human kind diminished. Crave for power and wealth concentration have been the agenda of the day. Political race has overwhelmed the deteriorating livelihood of the people. The deprived, marginalised and the disposessed have multiplied. Power overides the plight of the downtroden.
Will 2021 be more promising year for a sane future?