Gefira 52 concerns itself with the question of what has gone wrong with our society. Things that at least superficially are generally regarded as beneficial have turned or are being turned into their opposite. The dream about a society where differences are based on merit and merit alone and where law is the same for everyone has degenerated into a fantasy about not merely equality of chances but equity of outcomes! The farther we progress as humankind, the more numerous calamities afflict us. It is not only racism, xeno- or homophobia; these have been supplemented with such alleged ills as objectivity, paternalism, ableism, ageism, mentalism, perfectionism, power hoarding, individualism, microaggressions, and so on, and so forth, the list has no end. Some of the items enumerated above (ableism, ageism, mentalism) are words that you will have difficulties finding in a thick dictionary; the use of others, those positive words that we are all familiar with (objectivity, paternalism, perfectionism, individualism), inverted in their meaning and applied to describe social drawbacks, perplex us in their new overtones and render us dumbfounded. All these phenomena very often ending in ism are said to be ubiquitous, pervade all human activities not excepting state or social institutions, from school to government, from family to community. We all are believed to be psychologically flawed in one way or another without having the slightest awareness of it. Especially white people are a sitting duck for all manner of attackers and their detractors. White people are held to be responsible for all vileness, malevolence, iniquity and baseness of social life. Conversely, people of colour are without blemish: the eternal victims of white racism, vehicles of moral high ground. People of colour are to be elevated and placed on plinths and apologised to, genuflected to and adored. Conversely, traces of white people’s grandeour are systematically obliterated.
Non-governmental organisations, too, once conceived as auxiliary organs which would step in where governments proved to be absent or ineffective have been taken over by the world’s movers and shakers. Now NGOs are implementing and amplifying the agenda of the powers that be and, indeed, at times so brazenly and unashamedly, that state authorities are beginning to see things through and bridle or ban these organisations.
Why are social ills piling up and multiplying? Why, despite so much effort to the contrary, all the isms that we have listed above (and many more!) allegedly persist and metastasize? Are these isms natural phenomena or instruments with which a group of powerful individuals are attaining their goals through creating manageable chaos? Are the people who commit themselves to the combat against all those isms (and many that have not yet been invented!) in their right senses? Are they useful idiots, misty-eyed individuals, well-meaning trendsetters or cynical careerists? What has gone wrong?