They were empires that had conquered their region and were installed for centuries. Then something happened and they almost disappeared. Egypt with its Pharaohs six millenniums ago, the Greeks who invented Philosophy, 25 centuries ago, the Persians who created the first basis of human rights, or the Chinese with their 40 millennium long history. During these periods there was hardly any development in Europe or in America. It is only after the Renaissance period that the West started to become a political entity. What happened to these empires that were influencing the populations of many countries? In most of the cases, they stopped growing when their leaders became greedy or distanced themselves from their population, or they were defeated by another leader.
Centuries later, these old empires try to regain notoriety, but the world has changed and the parameters which assess their powers have drastically changed. Somehow it is sad to see that all these empires that had created new ideas which changed the world, and which allowed the world’s populations to live in better environments, did not manage to survive. Unfortunately these creations and novelties are only visible in museums these days. See the works of Tutankhamen’s funeral mummies, the writings of Socrates, Plato or Aristotle and read the conquests of Alexander the great, or read the wordings of Cyrus’s cylinder in the French Museum. What has remained from those glorious days today? Hardly anything. China is trying and has almost achieved a leadership position as the most important superpower today with its largest world population. Egypt has tried to survive, but internal political issues have not allowed any proper development. The once important and powerful nation of Iran has become a ‘mullahrchy’ and its people are suffering from poverty in a country that has everything.
Meanwhile, the Unites States is trying to impose its views on everybody else and continues to increase its debt which has reached US$30tn. Europe is trying to show a unified continent but struggles to manage the issues of migration, of the taxation of its exports etc. What will it take to revive the earlier empires in this modern world? There has to be an in-depth analysis with long-term targets, taking into account the new technologies and making other countries become more dependent on what each empire can offer. The times of abundance of energy have changed. The world needs minerals like nickel and lithium, as well as copper to develop new technologies. At the same time, ecology is becoming more and more evident.
Most likely, the solution would be to develop an empire which encompasses all the countries and allows this planet to survive. Competition between superpowers is not a solution as history has demonstrated. We need one single but strong government because we are all on the same planet and conflicts do not solve anything. It is time for all of us to realise that we are in the same boat and need to be able to co-exist. Start this with ourselves and then a global movement will appear, but we have to be ready ourselves first. The changes are in our own hands and we need to realise that without a common global understanding, our planet will not survive. Let us avoid being selfish and think of our children and our next generation.
Saleh Miri, Musacat Daily columnist, is an architect who came to Oman in the early 1980s
The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Muscat Daily or Apex Press & Publishing