Archive for the ‘Global Issues’ Category

Chaos. That is the word that comes to our mind when we look at the condition of the world. The proliferation of crime in today’s world astonishes many a people but is it really a reason for us to be astonished? Haven’t we witnessed year after year a dark side of humanity that we never knew existed before? From the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the riots in United Kingdom, one of the most developed countries of our time, mankind can testify to such ignorant deeds occurring on almost a monthly or even daily basis. However, it is a bitter irony that the only the “significant” people matter and not the common ones. This fact really unsettled me when I came across a joke that goes like:

US Army Head in Afghanistanreporting to a media channel, while in the presence of his deputy:

Army Head: I am afraid to report that there has been another attack leading to casualties.

Media: What casualties?

Army Head: Several buildings have been damaged, cars were destroyed, 200 Afghans dead along with one US soldier.

Media: Really, only one US soldier? *in awe*

Army Head to his deputy in an undertone: See, no one bothers about the 200 Afghans….

 

Naturally, the focal point of this news turns out to be the one dead soldier and not the two hundred locals that met their fate. Our daily lives are full of such atrocious acts that go unnoticed as we grow accustomed to the Dr. Hyde side of humanity. Examples of such deeds, acts that matter little to us but affects someone deeply, are scattered over in tight little corners in the papers but never catch the common eye and I will enlighten the viewers briefly about such happenings across the globe.

 

Starting off, we have the more talked about Egyptian revolution which led to the trial of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian President. The mass civil disobedience and strikes started in late January have resulted in the resignation and prosecution of the Egyptian president.

 

Another Muslim country faces unrest as Syrian president sends tanks into cities as security forces opened fire on demonstrators. The military action taken by President Assad has left 1700 people dead and over 10000 are told to be missing in custody. It seems as if deploying tanks and armed vehicles is a popular choice among presidents…

 

Meanwhile,Somaliasuffers from a disastrous famine that threatens over 3.7 million people. It is considered the worst drought in nearly a century and high prices have crushed poor people leading to violence. Prices inSomaliahave risen considerably and it is not the only country on the brink of disaster when it comes to food insecurity. Countries like Pakistan, where two thirds of the people spend almost 70% on food, Tanzania, where half the population is in poverty and even most of Russia where the average food basket went up by as much as 30% this year, are also suffering a food crisis.

 

An isolated tribe inBrazilseems to have vanished from the face of earth. The tribe only discovered three years ago to the world seems to have been lost again. It is said that Peruvians drug dealers overran the land and could have wiped out the entire tribe or worse it could be a case of human trafficking.

 

These are some little occurrences that seem to be happening at the same time in this world which has nothing to talk about except theUSdebt issues and the British riots.

 

Author’s note: I handpicked examples which might many of the readers may already know about. This is no attempt to undermine anyone’s awareness but a meagre attempt to spread awareness amongst many of us.


The world is engaged in a continuous battle today to advance in technology, a thing if deprived of mankind would sink into the same Stone Age from which it once evolved. However, where the progress has been remarkably swift it has led to many intricate problems. How does this technology affect us? How does it make our lives better, that is, if it does at all, one wonders if its advantages really do overcome its flaws.

The proliferation of internet technologies has both advantages and disadvantages. The capabilities for information retrieval and communication are infinite but children can be exposed to illicit material, individual privacy is threatened and it is a virtual medium rather than a physical one. Where its uses can be as diverse and beneficial as the person who uses it, its delinquencies also extend to the user’s creativity. If one of use can create an online bank account then it remains just for another more accomplished user to break into it. As it goes, nothing comes without a catch and this so called technology too has strings attached to it.

Internet may have been the cause for a lot of crimes these days, but there are ways of preventing them. Antivirus software such as McAfee, Norton and AVG are easily available in the market and off the internet. However, one does not have the luxury to surf the net with that feeling of total security that the user is completely safe from any cyber-attack.

The examples are numerous when it comes to cybercrimes and hacking is done almost on a daily basis. While some regard it as a serious offense, sometimes it is coined the term “heroic by the general public such as the FreeMe program (2001) which allowed Windows Media users to strip digital-rights-management security from music and video files.

The chances of internet crimes such as ID theft and child pornography are reduced by online monitoring agencies such as the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) in UK and America Online (AOL) in the United States. Where such agencies exist to protect the general public, we are also dependent upon them, a thing not many people like to be.

A new type of cyber crime, “Phishing” has become very common over the past few years. Bank customers are receiving emails which are apparently from their banks but are actually a fraud. These emails have website links which, when opened, require people to reveal personal information and bank account details. This information is then used for illegal purposes. But now, these activities are also being monitored and the NHTCU on May 5th, 2004 arrested 6 men and 6 women involved in “phishing” in Russia. Even with this surveillance, such scams continue to operate at a large scale.

The evolution in internet technology has contributed a lot to national security. Online surveillance agencies such as the National Security Agency in America decipher encrypted emails and scan them for messages which may be scam or related to terrorist activities. What makes it easy to defend a nation also makes it easier to destroy another. A hack into the defense system or the nuclear department could easily lead to a nuclear war. One is scared to think that all it needs is just a computer to access such codes.

Surveillance in the major cities of the world has become easier due to the advancement in technology. If you live inNew York, you will be photographed at least 20 times every day and if you walk throughManhattan, you will be followed by 2 security cameras and about 5 rooftop and window snipers.

Advanced home security systems have also lowered the crime rate. Home alarm systems use infrared radiation to detect the heat radiated by a person. The alarm goes of if a person crosses a detector’s path and another alarm is sounded in the police station. The police are thus able to reach the crime scene in time to make an arrest.

Along with its many advantages, technology has brought about a lot of cyber crimes which have badly affected people all around the world.

Cyber crimes have become a big problem for multinational companies. 83% ofUKbusinesses have reported internet crimes such as viruses, hacking, phishing, ID theft and theft of company data. Credit card theft has also become a major problem for credit card users these days.

Cybercrime on the rise!

Virus attacks are the most common cyber crimes for home users. In December 2002, a 22 year old hacker, Simon Vallor, admitted affecting 27,000 PCs across the globe with viruses such as “Goker”, “Admirer” and “Redesi”. These bugs gave him control over other people’s PCs and access to their personal information and email contacts.

As internet technology is advancing, many people have started buying stuff off the internet form websites such as www.priceline.com and www.eBay.com. People have taken advantage of this innovation by selling items that do not even exist. In October 2007, a 17 year old fromSouth Wales appeared in court after offering ₤45,000 worth non-existing goods for sale on “eBay”.

Halifaxis the main target for email scam. The highest percentage of phishing has been reported inHalifaxwhere bank customers are receiving emails asking them to reveal personal and bank security information. These emails are actually scam and the customers end up losing a fortune. This crime has hit retail banks including “Barclays”, “Lloyds” and “Natwest” inUSA,Australia,New ZealandandEurope.

The second stage of this crime is of acting as bank agents and asking random people to transfer money. 2000 online bank account holders inUKwere targeted by this scam and they ended up losing a total of ₤4.5 million.

Mobile phones have become a necessity these days. Everyone has one. This has increased the percentage of street crimes, mainly mobile phone snatching. InKarachi,Pakistan, every third mobile phone owner has had his phone stolen at gun point.

As technology is progressing, the quality of weapons and ammunition is improving and more lethal and disastrous weapons are invented. These weapons, if used for rioting or in civil wars, can wipe out generations of people.

Where using cameras for security like close circuit television (CCTV) is very efficient it also leads to a risk of privacy invasion. The extent to the devastation and havoc that technology can do is only limited to the human mind and in the wrong hands, one fears what would happen.

Today’s society is in technological boom. It has indeed become a necessity. Our lives are dependent on it and if deprived of, we would be once again, the savage barbarians that lived in the caves. Man continues to explore and innovate and where it reaps benefits of its creativity and curiosity it also invents more ailments that the human race could suffer from. All I can think of are the words written by J.K. Rowling in her bestseller Harry Potter, “Curiosity is not a sin but once must be cautious.”

This article would not have been possible without Wajeeh Uz Zaman Adhami, the inspiration and source behind this idea.

The world as we see today is a very sad place indeed: The Middle East burns with the blood of a few misguided fundamentalists who consume up lives of innocent people as they envisage performing a noble deed ordered by a divine power; Japan is struck by a series of jolts that leave the whole country on a verge of economic collapse; Europe sees themselves engulfed in chaos as heavy snowstorms make it impossible for any air travel to take place; Civilians take up arms to break free from Gadhafi’s regime in Libya; poverty and famine leaves hundreds dead in the deserts of Africa and still an economic crisis prevails in North America that leaves thousands of people unemployed without any source of incomes.    
But none of it is our concern, for we sit in the luxury of our homes where we keep turning the thermostat up of the air conditioner so that we can chat comfortably in a forty degrees Celsius weather. A delicious four course meal awaits us at lunch hour and we satisfy our hunger without having to go out of the cool air conditioned room. Except that a power cut leaves us cursing out, for the cool atmosphere diminishes slowly leaving us sweating. We still have a roof on top of our head; food in the larder; clean water in our taps; clothes in our wardrobes and yet out tongues vehemently abuse the government for they just took away from us the elixir of life. Granted, electricity is a basic need and its shortfall will always be a huge issue, the point on which to focus is that man has been born to be ungrateful. We shall always complain about what is missing in our lives, what more we want out of life and what more we can gain in life. No one considers the amenities that have been provided to them, they are taken for granted as man naturally screams for what eludes it.
Money is said to be the root of all evil but what derives the need for money; it is the dissatisfaction with what a person currently has. No one seems to be happy with how they are. There always is a struggle to achieve something. The world moves rapidly as if in a hurry to get somewhere and when they do finally get to their destination, their destination changes to keep them going once more. Man desires never end hence never does man sit and ponders over what he has achieved. There is always a pursuit of happiness that deprives man of bliss itself. The urge to achieve something must not be suppressed indeed yet one should never forget what he already has achieved, what he has gained in life and that he has something that he treasures in all conditions. If man gets content with what he has, he will find happiness in all conditions. Even in the worst of situations, a person who sees a glimpse of hope can find something to be cheery about.
Socrates said “He is rich who is content with the least; for contentment is the wealth of nature”, an example that contentment does indeed lead to happiness. One who is content with whatever he has will lead a happier life than many people who fall to the vices of greed and envy. Gandhi simplifies how contentment leads to happiness in a simple phrase, “Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.”
Humans desire are endless so are human troubles. But if we choose to be content with what we have regardless of how little man can find happiness in every state. A person who is jobless in North America can still be content that he has at a source of shelter and food as considered to the wandering famine struck people of Africa who strive everyday looking for a source of clean water. If man pauses to consider, he can find so many examples of people who are in far worse circumstances however we choose to look at people who have far more things than us and are never content with what we have, rejecting God’s every boon to us. Happiness is what life is all about, what drives us in doing everything that we do and it is not so difficult to attain it if we try to be content with what we have for contentment does indeed lead to happiness.

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