Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Make Poverty History

The 'Make Poverty History' campaign is a concerted effort by campaigners, aid groups, politicians and celebrities and all people of good will to work for trade justice and debt relief. Every three seconds, a child dies of poverty somewhere in the world. And yet, Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to UN Sec-Gen Kofi Annan has worked out a plan to end poverty in our lifetime. This is outlined in his book 'The End of Poverty'. The fact is that, with the will to end poverty, we can!

Imagine my chagrin this morning to read about a Tory shadow minister who said: "If we reward failure, we encourage the idea that the West can keep bailing everyone out." I was flabbergasted by his sheer ignorance and arrogance.

Perhaps it is not too indelicate to point out that more often than not, and historically, the West has contributed or brought about much of the poverty that the world suffers from! But even if one were to discount that factor, as Sachs points out:

"The key problem for the poorest countries is that poverty itself can be a trap. When poverty is very extreme, the poor do not have the ability - by themselves - to get out of the mess" because there is no savings. The very poor are on subsistence or sub-survival incomes! Or in cases of 'debt overhang', (as in the Philippines), "debt from the past crushes the prospects for growth in the future. In such circumstances debt cancellation may be the only way to give the country a fresh start on the path of economic development." Finally, "when countries get on the ladder of development, they are generally able to continue the upward climb... The main objective of economic development for the poorest countries is to help these countries to gain a foothold on the ladder." This is what 'Make Poverty History' is all about.

But while millions die of poverty, the facing page of the newspaper reported that some women spend as much as 1100 Pounds Sterling on face creams made from "4000-year-old sea water from Hawaii"... and they buy this every 3 weeks! And here was I thinking that all sea water was as ancient as the planet and free!

It's obscene and unjustifiable for people to spend so lavishly when millions struggle to even put food on the table. The photo above shows children diving in the polluted waters of Manila Bay looking for mussles to sell in the hopes of helping their families to survive... but in doing so, they fail to receive even rudimentary education thus remaining in the cycle of poverty. But if they did not do this, they would starve to death. What choice do they have?!

We can stop poverty now and make it history. Put a face on poverty and realize it is not the poor and innocent who are to blame or failures in any sense. The failure falls on us and the likes of the insecure filthy rich who purchase con-artist creams to help when we can!


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