ENDY JAY

Given the number of scourges that are presently striking the globe, with every one of us invariably getting our fair share, we may be tempted to focus only on things in our immediate surroundings, enough to send wild our stress level.

While events happening on the other side of the planet, often, admittedly, of no direct concern to us, or which even escape the comprehension of the common man, cannot be uppermost in our minds, understandably so, we can ill-afford to limit all our attention to events within the frontiers of our small island state, and focus only on happenings near to us – the more so now that our frontiers have been reopened to the outside world – and not pay heed to events that are hitting the headlines elsewhere, but only, at best, treated as ‘faits divers’ in the media here.  But certainly soon to be given the attention they deserve given their bearings.

For the purpose of this note, I have limited myself to a few events now underway, albeit unrelated in any way. First I am inviting attention to the major clashes between Democrats and Republicans in the States over the debt ceiling, reviving the shutdown stalemate that has been ongoing at regular intervals but so far narrowly avoided. This is, manifestly, outside the comprehension of the common man, even high-calibre intellectuals, and at first sight of no direct concern to us. Nevertheless of interest, given the accompanying remarks by people who matter. First the U.S. Treasury Secretary has warned that a U.S. debt default will cause a catastrophe, while top economists and politicians are inviting attention that such a default will cause problems to the global economy.

Secondly, and here I am grouping two events, although unrelated but with one common point I’ll explain hereunder. To start with, the onslaught of a whistleblower, one Frances Haugen, on her former employer Facebook. It would be a tedious task even to summarize everything she said, but suffice it to say her accusations were staggering, to say the least, against that social media giant. Facebook, it is worth reminding, has been under close scrutiny both under Trump and Biden, by U.S. Senate ad hoc committees, albeit in so far inconclusive probes. Then, we have the no less interesting ‘Pandora Papers’, a formidable task undertaken by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and reportedly a more important cache that the ‘Panama Papers’ of 2016, which must have sent some leading personalities on a scramble with some well known figures named. Expectedly, some have already reacted, be it in relation to Facebook or Pandora Papers, but with unconvincing rebuttals, invariably innocent as lambs. Affaire à suivre…

P.S. For ease of comprehension, and not to jam the gun, I have limited myself to a few events, nevertheless crucially telltale.