Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold war, when the world jointly commemorated the anniversary of freedom, liberty and democracy, it seems like we still have a long way to go before the walls of our time are in the past.
In the age of globalization, liberal ideas, and prosperity, the scourge of modernity
bites harder than ever. There is some sad irony in a world where technological advance and liberal democracies coexist with global inequalities, poverty, and misery. One cannot help but wonder how is it possible that polarized realities as these could be fitted into the
same political and social continuum. The inevitable paradox of our time is that the fall of one wall did not prevent the clash of ideologies, which are so intrinsically bound to modernity and did not erase the old time historic stereotypes. The paradox of our time is that with the struggle for universal values, cleavages get deeper and the differences – more oscillating.
In a multipolar, globalizing world, the orientalisms, to borrow the term from Said, are stronger and more captivating than ever before. The ideological struggle may not belong to the US and USSR anymore, but it has been transferred to a different, more dangerous level – between Western democracies and radical Islam, rich and poor, developing and developed countries, stronger and weaker ethnicities. These are dangerous, deep, scarring
cleavages, whose cunning intricacy is so disturbingly different from the convenient bipolar world of the Cold War. Two decades after the fall of the Wall, which divided the world for almost half a century, humanity faces challenges greater than ever – global diseases,
poverty, and striking inequalities. The old Cold War confrontations were replaced by new ones, stronger ones, more crippling ones – modern wars, global terrorism, the resurgence of the extreme right neo-fascist doctrines, cleverly disguised under political jargon.
Twenty years after totalitarianism was swept away and democracy resurrected, the international community has to bridge more than one civilizational gap, it has more than one society to repair, it has more than one dream to fulfil. In its quest for universality and
prosperity, the international community should not forget that globalization is a very uneven process, which benefits the strong countries and deprives the weaker ones, thus fostering global interdependence and a self-perpetuating abyss between the haves and have-nots. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, there are many more wars to be waged and many more battles to be won – the most important one is for world equality in the age of liberalism.
(c) 2009 G D