Government and Beyond

Major events that affect an entire society or a large portion of it can show what a country is capable of or not. During a major crisis, societies become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses than at other times. For example, the recent catastrophic earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria demonstrated the importance of government and civil-political institutions. In Turkey, the local, national, and international reactions were much faster and more widespread than in Syria, as the media and governments paid more attention to Turkey due to its legitimate government and existing contact and information systems. Syria was also severely affected, but it was less noticed due to its illegitimate government, lack of media coverage, and a long list of other humanitarian crises. This shows that having a legitimate and active government can make a difference in such cases. Nations such as Syria and Afghanistan, due to years of war and lack of legitimate government, will suffer for years to come from such unprecedented natural disasters.

The earthquake in Turkey showed that the country had strong institutional and social capacities. The government quickly began a search and rescue mission, using all available resources, but social institutions such as unions, cultural, and social organizations also mobilized resources. It is said that the amount of aid collected in the form of food, clothing, and cash was more than the government could manage. This shows that even developed countries with strong economies and militaries that interfere in other countries’ internal affairs are unable to effectively distribute and manage aid when a crisis occurs. If the government tries to handle the situation alone, they will have difficulty managing the crisis. Even the richest and most powerful governments in the world cannot manage a crisis without the help of social institutions, opposition parties, unions, and people. Therefore, the more monopolistic the government is, the more it harms the people and prevents the utilization of the latent capacities in the society. In such cases, even if the national resources are used optimally and the government does not prevent their mobilization, they still are not enough and there is a serious need for international cooperation.

In the event of a disaster, the uselessness of false national pride, empty boasts of patriotism, and claims of self-sufficiency are all revealed, while the need for international cooperation increases. With the increasing likelihood of climate crises, the spread of diseases such as Covid-19, the threat of terrorism, and the access of governments to weapons of mass destruction and other potential global threats that surpass national capacities and resources, it is essential for humanity to empower entities beyond governments (social institutions, parties and unions that promote internal solidarity, and organizations and institutions that provide the opportunity for timely international action).