Fri, Nov 02, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Shifting paradigms and anomalies

By Jerome Keating

The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi stunned the world. It was not the first obvious recent murder or attempted murder, but its circumstances were the most compelling.

North Korean Kim Jong-nam was assassinated at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13 last year. Presumably he was seen as a threat to the leadership in North Korea.

On March 4, an attempt was made to poison former Russian military officer and double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. He had been freed on a spy swap with Russia and they were living in Salisbury, England. Was his “escape” from prison the motive?

The murder of dissenters and dissidents is not something new. However, under the current global village paradigm, any murder committed on foreign soil is equivalent to entering another nation’s home to murder a personal enemy. It displays a blatant disregard for that nation’s integrity, hence Turkey’s ire in exposing details of Khashoggi’s killing.

In addition, the brutality of Khashoggi’s case points to more. The horrific circumstances represented a crime not just against a person, but also against human rights and humanity, regardless of culture or nationality.

Khashoggi was apparently tortured before being killed and dismembered, and the shifting Saudi Arabian explanation spiraled from denial to eventual admitted premeditation.

Taiwanese have been down this road. They can recall how despite many murders in Taiwan’s then one-party Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) state, it was the 1984 murder of writer Henry Liu (劉宜良) in California that created the disrespectful anomaly that the US could not ignore and finally triggered the US demand for justice.

Such murders present anomalies that go beyond the global village paradigm; they express a wider message that speaks for human rights across the planet.

This is the issue. Today, with the speed of developing modern technology, news of such murders is instantaneously known throughout the shrinking global village. In turn, all this points to a newly emerging paradigm, that of one global home.

Anomalies are always the predecessors of paradigmatic changes and shifts; because of this, the concept of crimes against humanity in a post-World War II world is becoming a driving force.

All nations are realizing that they are interconnected on one planet, in one home, Earth, and they must therefore work out these issues, hence the growing realization that “we are all in this together.”

In The Concept of the Political, Carl Schmitt said that the specific political distinction for nations was “between friend and enemy.” That seemed to divide the world easily enough.

However, Schmitt was writing in a pre-World War II world, and the scope of that war would quickly produce the need for the UN (1945), the WHO (1948) and the revival of the international police organization that became Interpol in 1956.

The nations of the world now see that there are enemies much larger than the enemies of any one state or nation. These enemies have no respect for national boundaries. This is the gist of the newly emerging global home paradigm.

On the environmental front, a prime enemy is global warming. It threatens the planet and no nation can claim favored status with it. Many nations may even aid and abet this growing enemy.

Crime also disrespects borders. Drug trafficking, sex trafficking, money laundering, etc, are international problems and demand a need for joint police work.

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