Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Why We Don't Help Each Other

There is no money in being nice.

If we could make money thinking about each other or the environment...we'd all stop driving cars today. And giving homeless a dollar.

But there is no money in being nice.

It takes a gallon of oil to grow a bushel of corn. (isn't the idea of ethanol ridiculous ha ha!) (or worse, eating corn!)

Where did the oil for your car come from?

Where did the metal in your wedding ring come from?

The World Trade Organization tells us to donate our food leftovers and clothing to Africa.

They don't need that shit. Give them your money.

Europe and America owe them back pay! Unfortunately, The World Trade Organization only speaks profit. Don't talk to them.


-poverty has been unresponsive to economic growth

-40,000 branches of international aid "work" in Africa

-things are shabbier and less hopeful than 47 years ago

-Africa didn't have steel, impossible to invent guns or ships without steel (unable to protect themselves from invasion from Europe and America)

-20 million Africans stolen for slavery within a very short time period leaving broken families and morale

-the borders within Africa were invented by non-Africans (and government was illegal under Apartheid)

Between 1995 and 2015, approximately half of the gold produced worldwide has or will come from the traditional territories of indigenous peoples, whose land rights are often not clearly recognized. Even when indigenous groups hold legal title to surface lands, some governments sell off the subsurface rights to mining corporations.

Perhaps the most depressing phenomenon is the situation of girls and women. Many African countries boast the most egalitarian protocols and regulations imaginable promoting the status of women. Rwanda’s parliament has a higher percentage of women members than any other country in the world. Africa has produced a significant number of powerhouse women as well as impressive feminist ngos. Yet the distance between this development and the reality facing the majority of African women seems unbridgeable. In many African countries, in fact, women have no rights at all — they are regarded by customary law as minors, their lives in the hands of their husbands. From legal status to education to manual labour to social obligations to family responsibilities to sexual victimization, life for many, perhaps most, African girls and women is truly Hobbesian.

The very notion of Africa as “the dark continent” — dark in skin colour, in obscurity, in primitivism — is a major distortion of historical reality. Over the millennia before colonialism, sub-Saharan Africa was home to a series of great civilizations. Mali, Bornu, Fulani, Dahomey, Ashanti, Songhay, Zimbabwe, Axum — all powerful empires that made their mark on the world. Here is Basil Davidson, the British historian who did much to rescue Africa’s remarkable history from oblivion and Western derision: “The great lords of the Western Sudan grew famous far outside Africa for their stores of gold, their lavish gifts, their dazzling regalia and ceremonial display. When the most powerful of the emperors of Mali passed through Cairo on pilgrimage to Mecca in the fourteenth century, he ruined the price of the Egyptian gold-based dinar for several years by his presents and payments of unminted gold to courtiers and merchants.” No one who has seen the underground churches of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia or the magnificent bronze and brass Ife sculptures of western Nigeria can doubt the extraordinary potential of African technology and creativity. For much of its history, Europe had little to surpass these achievements. We’ll never know the outcome had Africa been permitted to develop based on its own skills and resources, as Europe was, but it was allowed no such luxury.

- Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher had soft spots for the apartheid rulers of South Africa, who were, after all, passionate fellow anti-Communists;

- between Bill Casey, Reagan’s cia director, and key South African government officials, including its intelligence service. In Angola and Mozambique, the US came in behind Portugal and South Africa to train and arm rebel groups against African governments. To the satisfaction of Belgian mine owners and the US, Belgium conspired with Congo secessionists to murder Patrice Lumumba, the Congo’s first and only democratically elected president. France propped up an array of tinpot tyrants in nearly all its former sub-Saharan colonies, most notoriously the sadistic “Emperor” Jean B├ędel Bokassa in the Central African Republic. Virtually all researchers agree that the Catholic Church and the Belgian, French, and US governments bore some of the responsibility for the Rwandan genocide.

-Oil companies grow fat from the Gulf of Guinea

-American oil supplies come from African areas, while the citizens of half a dozen countries go without lights, clean water, good health, and jobs.

-The US colludes with the government of Sudan in the “war on terrorism,” while accusing that same government of orchestrating a genocide in Darfur.

- Democratic Republic of the Congo, has its roots in America’s thirty-year unconditional support for Mobutu in Zaire (which is now the drc)

-illegal for countries to implement thier own business plans for export or anything (they must have permission from World Bank or International Monetary Fund!!!

-those financial institutions will give money to war lord leaders in Africa? Why? We profit.

-in order to get oil, gold, minerals, timber...Europe and America has bargained with war lords and commited crimes against humanity including amputating arms to control behaviour among Africans, bribery and not paying taxes is common, become involved in local conflicts, and pay slave wages. IF.

-more than half of all Canadian aid to Africa is tied to the purchase of Canadian goods and services.

If we want to teach our children to do "the right thing" why don't we pay back the Native Americans we stole from and pay back the Africans we stole from? We forced the nazi's to pay back Jewish workers for their labour during World War II, let's take care of the slaves we use right now.

Is our lack of help for each other really because we can't afford to be helpful?

Look at your hand. Mail your wedding ring to Africa.

Can you imagine a museum that would draw tourists like the shoes in Dachau...but a room filled with wedding rings, diamonds and gold...

Look at your hand. Where did that gold come from? And ask your self, what kind of a person do I want to be?

How many families have suffered in Africa so we can be a happy family here? What does your ring actually symbolize to your children when they grow up and get wise?


Underground Baker said...

Now I remember why people wouldn't invite us to their parties!!


Man, that article put the fire in you today, go girl!!!

Candy Minx said...

I know I'm such a buzzkill aren't I?

(The Underground Baker is my sister and at one point we weren't allowed to talk about the novel Blood Meridian at parties anymore we would get so into it and depressed)

A more accessible idea is to replace the actual cost of wedding rings. Say someone bought their wedding ring for 10,000...well...probbly the ring to represent paying money to the people who actually own the land it is likely an outstanding cost of say 5,000 to 10,000 dollars.

So everyone who drives a car and buys gold could donate about 5,000 to 10,000 dollars to a fund which would be paid to a credit union or micro bank outside the jurisdiction of World Banks for local business grants.

Out of this kind of micro-bank would divvy out money for land and house purchases for every African citizen.

Every adult in Canada donate 100 dollars and the government tracks this donation and directly mails a cheque to every Canadian aboriginal.

Unfortuantely, money can't give back culture...but the money divvied out would potentially remove the aboriginal population from poverty.

Every aborignal in Canada would receive almost two million dollars. Maybe that might help their economic status in their own country?

A hundred bucks? We could do that, no?

Obviously there are a lot more lives at stake in Africa, but if all the car drivers and ring owners in America and Canada created a micro-bank in each African country...welll...maybe the regular people the NON-WAR LORDS could buy a house and create a small business with a grant system from our compensation fund?

5,000 dollars? Isn't your wedding ring worth that small price to have a symbol of compassion for the world as well as family values?

Gardenia said...

Some of the micro grants to women in 3rd world countries have been extremely successful! I don't have any jewelry beyond some costume pieces - can't see it - would rather it go to a better use -

money is good, but have found it better to keep a coupon book for groceries or fast food in car for homeless donations - most are mentally ill and addicted - also a card to refer them to where they can get help to get on their feet -
since the hurricane - I mean THE hurricanes - Ivan, Dennis, Katrina - there are lots of homeless here.

Danielle (one of my links) is preparing to go to Rwanda again.
See why I want to go to Africa, and feel its heart by putting my feet on its soil?)

Damn Politics, damn, damn, damn.

If my old boss and I were younger, and single, we wanted to go to third world countries, obtain grants, and use local labor to improve infrastructures. Ha, probably would have eventually gotten us killed.

If something happens (big money gift) and I do make the Africa trip - want to go?