Light and Night: Gandhi and Assad

Einstein reminds us that there is no such thing as darkness; just the absence of light.

This guest article was written by William Laraque who is the Managing Director of US-International Trade Services

Gandhi said: “Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.”

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In history, the demise of good men is much more predictable than that of evil men. So it is with Isis and Assad. The decapitation of Isis’ leaders and the incessant wars fought in the Middle East do not solve its socio-economic and geopolitical problems which are summarized in the inability to achieve economic growth to the benefit of all in place of indescribable violence aimed at sects, cultures, tribes and religions, to the benefit of no one.

We are reminded of the purposeful and meaningful life with Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night…”

Elie Wiesel writes of “Night” and reminds us, as does Simon Sharma, that the history of the Jewish people is infused with a paranoia confirmed by history. Einstein reminds us that there is no such thing as darkness; just the absence of light.

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We in the US are equally in need of being disabused of a dark and absurd delusion. We somehow assume that building walls will somehow separate us from an inevitable encounter with the needs and suffering of those who are not yet here. The last ones here wish to be the last ones here. This vein of privilege for ourselves and deprivation for others runs throughout US history.

Stiglitz: Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, wrote a terrific book two years ago, “The Price of Inequality”, which is a shorter and easier read than Piketty’s book. In it, he notes: “Much of America’s inequality is the result of market distortions, with incentives directed not at creating new wealth but at taking it from others.”

The words of Stiglitz today remind us of those of Lincoln in yesteryear.

Lincoln: (From his Second Inaugural Address):

“It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered.

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”



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