Rethinking diplomacy

 
November 24, 2020

Over the years, social media has no doubt created its own importance not just in our lives but also in our politics and even in foreign policy. But there is always that little pitfall of too much of...

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Over the years, social media has no doubt created its own importance not just in our lives but also in our politics and even in foreign policy. But there is always that little pitfall of too much of something having a boomerang effect. Which is what may have happened following a tweet by Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari, likening French President Emmanuel Macron's policies regarding Muslim children to Nazism. The French immediately objected to the tweet, which Dr Mazari has since removed (clarifying that an article on which the tweet was based may have got the facts wrong). In a normal individual setting, this could easily be something easily resolved. But when it comes to international ties, there is a reason diplomacy is called an 'art'. And tweeting impulsively may not necessarily be included in that.

While Dr Mazari's handing of the matter may not have been the most sophisticated in terms of international diplomacy, it does reflect the anger felt across the world by the growing Islamophobia in France. Clearly, the issue is a sensitive one, as France well knows. Macron could have handled the matter with greater delicacy and more sensitivity towards a group of people who have been discriminated against again and again in France. This began in 2011 and has grown since then. In that year, Muslim women were barred from wearing veils on the grounds of security. At the same time, there has been discrimination against Muslims settled in France, including those from Algeria, Morocco, and other Muslim countries.

All things said, we must remember that social media is perhaps not the best place on which to approach delicate diplomatic matters. Such issues must be taken up among officials at the higher levels and in a diplomatic fashion. A more sensible approach would help point out to the world the situation in France and the degree of anger it is causing among Muslims. Let the art of diplomacy not be disregarded.



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