The Age of Crises described by Ahmet Keeler in “Rethinking Islam,” has indeed become the truth which was not clearly seen until this year of succeeding horrors.
Our year commenced in Australia with terrible drought, followed by ‘unprecedented’ bushfires which created our very first climate refugees.
Then came the floods and we thought it could not get much worse.
The virus afflicting the great industrial conglomeration of Wuhan seemed far away and of little relevance until it began to hit South Korea and Italy.
As it began to spread into Australia from China and then from the USA, lockdowns and border closures commenced.
Analysis of the rates of hospitalisation and deaths showed that those inadequately protected by healthcare systems and low paid frontline workers, alongside the aged, suffered most.
Australian state and territory authorities worked hard to protect the indigenous communities from the virus, locking down borders and in WA, regions of the state.
The world watched as the USA produced more infections and deaths than any other country.
Then the murder by police of an Afro-American man in Minneapolis, arrested over a suspected $20 counterfeit banknote, brought the simmering frustrations of the world’s superpower to the surface.
All across the United States huge demonstrations went for over two weeks in every major city, demanding justice for George Floyd, a change to the culture of policing and the end to the centuries old denigration of black Americans.
As these demonstrations were tailing off, another Afro-American, Rayshard Brooks, was shot in the back by police over a dispute from his falling asleep in a drive-by at a Wendy’s Restaurant. Wendy’s went up in flames within hours.
This series of crises has served to expose the very fragile nature of political authority in many of the countries affected.
It has exposed the fragility of Little England and its drive to Brexit, as Northern Ireland, Scotland and even Wales reject the brutality of the Tory leadership in England.
In the USA it has not only exposed systemic racism in law enforcement but the tin ear of the Republican leadership, from the Whitehouse down to state level.
As the infection rate and the death rate in Oklahoma zooms upwards, we have the President, “masks not obligatory” rallying thousands in the city which was devastated by white supremacist thugs, including police, in the 1921 Tulsa Massacre.
The incompetence and racism of the Administration has led to a mighty reaction and the emergence of a compassionate leadership in major cities all around the country.
CNN recently ran a program “Mayors Who Matter,” interviewing the four female Afro-American mayors of San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington and Chicago.
They were impressive.
Such leaders represent a new rising political force in the country, taking an unequivocal stand on social justice and enjoying massive support from their communities.
The Episcopal priests and the bishop who spoke out in dismay at the brutal dispersal of peaceful demonstrators so Trump could parade before St John’s with an unopened bible in his hand, had a deep impact across the world.
Even Colin Kaepernick, condemned by Trump for his ‘taking the knee’ during the national anthem as an insult to the flag, has been restored to presidential favour.
A new culture is beginning to emerge.
Here in Australia, the deaths of indigenous people in custody have become a major focus of demonstrations and an issue which politicians will no longer be able to ignore.
The ability of the national government to adequately deal with the impending economic crisis is already being questioned by millions.
As in the USA, the racial and ethnic divide is being crossed in response to injustice.
The next crisis may well be the second wave of Covid-19 infections as the lockdown eases and state borders opened.
It might also be the impact of an economic depression worse than the 1930s.
Whatever it is, a new leadership, motivated by compassion emerging from the horrors, is one of the silver linings we can already see.