On killing an idea

In view of more recent murders linked rightly or wrongly to Islamism, and responses thereto…

It is impossible to kill an idea. However many people subscribing to an idea may die, the idea lives. In fact baked by the sun of martyrdom and watered by the tears of loved ones and family members it will likely flourish.

It is, however, possible to reduce the appeal of an idea. This is done neither quickly nor easily. It must be done slowly. It must be done neither directly nor forcefully. A frontal assault fans the flames. It is done by creating circumstances and structures that supply hope. Not false hope, designed to deceive. But hope of a better life and fulfilment in this life and if not now then in the foreseeable future. Hope here means a chance. Neither a certainty nor a distant prospect, but a real opportunity. A “better life” has no technical meaning.

Capitalism and democracy are the suppliers of hope. Each in its respective sphere offers a chance. Each offers something good (power or wealth) which is possible to obtain only by playing by the rules. Each offers something good but only by means of positive, determined action. With respect to politics, the loss of an election does not inspire revolution (to extend the metaphor, turning over the chequer board) because the hope subsists that in the next game defeat may give way to victory. With respect to economics, poverty can as it sometimes does lead towards criminality and violence born of despair and desperation: the absence of hope. However capitalism and the prospect of self-betterment and prosperity re-channels energies away from destruction — towards wealth creation.

Whatever the relevance of the above observations to IDRAK Limited and its subject matter is or is not will be left for another day…

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