If you want a definite sign that love is conquering the world, look to Africa. This must be real because it has started in Africa. By now everybody with internet knows that the people of Egypt made their voices heard, forcing a symbolic gesture of resignation from their President last week.
Human beings first emerged, out of Africa. So it is only fitting that the next stage in the evolution of humans begins here too. Impoverished, hungry, thirsty, oppressed people everywhere are showing us that despite their hardships, the spirit of love remains strong within them. Love is the force that allowed Egyptian protesters to remain peaceful, becoming the world’s darlings as they remade their own future with grace, dignity, and power.
Love permeated Cairo, as the citizens undertook their own clean-up operation in the midst of their celebration. Love drives Iranian citizens to demonstrate, at this moment, on Valentine’s Day, documenting their actions using YouTube and Twitter, defying power, putting life and limb at risk for the future of their children.
Love has kept the people of Tahrain peaceful as they take their turn to show us their spirit in the face of severe deprivation and hopelessness. All we can do is watch. The sheer determination of the world’s poor to take advantage of this momentum towards love, has confounded professional and amateur pundits everywhere (including yours truly).
What may be unfolding here, today, is a new dawn lit by the fires of love all over the world. Love prompts us to cooperate with one another, even while we gracefully compete. The human spirit enjoys competition but we also love to be helpful too. There is room for both in a new unfolding global trend of “cooperative capitalism”. We exhibit both competition and cooperation whenever we play sports in that friendly spirit of fierce respect for the other team.
Of course, they have known about the power of cooperative capitalism in Italy’s Emilie Romagne region, a stunning example of a robust economy grown from the spirit of cooperation, for decades.
One question remains: if the world is to rebuild itself in the spirit of love and respect, where will the money come from? Where will an impoverished Arab with a business idea find the start-up capital? The answer to that question is complex. Muslims do not subscribe to the idea of paying “interest” on loans, on principle. I found myself wondering why this is so, so I pondered the concept of “interest” payments. I think that the most basic reason that a lender charges interest is to compensate for the risk that they would not be paid back. Maybe Muslims find this idea to be basically insulting – “What do you mean, you want to be paid for that risk? Of course I am good for it, I told you I would pay you back – so I will. Where’s the risk?”
So the issue of funding for a new economy is a tricky one. We westerners should never assume that we understand all that we need to know about other people of the world. Perhaps a redistribution of stolen wealth would be more fitting for some populations then. This is, of course, as everything is, completely up to them.
The IMF won’t like any of this, of course. Can the fires of love conquer the plan that the IMF had for our planet? Arguably, that plan has already failed as those who have been selected for poverty are rising up all over the place and saying, “No thanks! Love peace dignity and respect instead.”
We live in truly amazing times – uncharted territory. The genie is definitely out of the bottle …