Monday 28 July 2014


Given the summer lull and majority of usual readers being on holiday, a shorter than normal conversation piece, intended to elicit discussion whilst lounging by the pool or lunching on the yacht. Take a break from taking a break… 

What betrayal lurks within the one word we pride ourselves on as separating us - the "developed" human species - from the rest of the animal kingdom…long considered primitive and purely feral? Since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, laying down the foundation for laws we witness and abide by today in much of the Western world, we have called certain variations of collections of humanity “civilised”. Even further back, from the Persians, Greeks and Romans, each moment of human structure and triumph of institution over chaos has been met with the same word. 

What lies are we imposing upon ourselves though? Would we look back in 50 years from now and honestly call the world we witness as a portrayal of civilized society? From the more light-hearted observations of American tourists in (present day) Rome literally being laughed at to their faces by quite gleefully cheating waiters (instantly reducing prices by 80% when confronted by a more savvy Lebanese traveller), to the everyday atrocities unfolding across the Middle East, lives being cruelly stolen by the blood-stained hands of revenge hungry militia, battling for a cause they likely barely understand…the fabric of what once constituted a civil society is being tested to its core. 

How can we call ourselves civilised when the world is in such disarray? Wars raging, children starving and dying from lack of basic human resources. Some will reconcile that we are doing the best we can in a cruel world..that at least large swathes of the global population live within borders defined by peace and (relative) prosperity. That is not enough. The West has done what it can to lead in the way it knows best..plenty have been left behind however. 

Technology is the double-edged sword both pushing us forwards as a collective society and tearing us apart as a coherent social people. The “hands-off” approach of venting anger and disgust at the goings-on in Gaza, or the ridiculous sums awarded to former oligarchs at the expense of Russian pride ($50bn to former Yukos shareholders), has de-humanised much of the underlying suffering. It is not enough to simply indicate your concern, what has happened to actually doing something about it? Should not a “civilised” society act with more vigour to protect its own, rather than simply stand in the tech-halls of our modern day equivalent of the Roman Senate, decrying the beastly behaviour of those outside of the social norm. 

It’s awful out there. We are all to blame. Pointing the finger at those that have been elected (as well as those that have self-elected in a benign dictatorship) is simply not enough. We have the means to do so much more than ineffectually comment and “forward via WhatsApp” gruesome images intended to shock and provoke a vigorous two minute debate. What happens when the tapping of touch-screens falls silent? Do the bombs and rockets between Israel and Hamas miraculously stop? Do disease-riddled Africans desperate for the most natural of earth’s resource – water – receive instant bottled spring water? When the phone is placed on “Airplane Mode”..does the loss of life also go offline? 

There are dangerous similarities to the end of previous great perceived civilsations…people far more concerned with the frivolous and aesthetically pleasing than the profound and weighty. When images of some unknown “photo-bombing” of an unimportant celebrity enjoys more attention than true destructive munitions falling from the skies onto innocent civilians, or more people appear interested in whether Usain Bolt will run or not rather than if John Kerry has been able to make a cease-fire last longer than 24 hours, something must be considered awry. 

As many of us (relatively deservedly) enjoy reclining out there whilst sipping a fine crisp Gavi, gazing across the crystal clear waters whilst biting into deliciously milky buffalo mozzarella off some Mediterranean coast, representing what we consider a civilised species, we really ought to be doing more to avoid looking far too similar to the very animals we look down upon.



Monday 14 July 2014


What a surprise! Zeee Germans overpowered a number of nations in a global battle to rise to the top and dominate (sometimes obliterate) through efficiency and strength.. Oh..and they also won the World Cup!

Now that the World Cup is over, the world will resume it's cynical overview of terrible human events taking shape all across the hot spots that are suffering from the likes of the 1916 instigated Sykes-Picot unravelling, continued belligerence in the Levant and rising China tensions. The dangerous and potentially destructive game of chess continues amidst the globe's top powers.

We shall explore, intermittently (we all need some time-off!) during the summer lull all this great world has to offer and, with some gladly received feedback, write shorter but more frequent pieces.

Watch this space....
Hani Kobrossi