Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tumultuous Thursday

Just finished reading a few blogs and I see some of us are thinking along similar lines today.

Last night I completed a book I've been reading sporadicly over the summer : A Short History Of Progress by Ronald Wright. It was part of the CBC Massey Lecture Series a few years ago. But it is still very relevant today.

The whole premise of the book is that we should start learning from our past as humans and the impact we have had/made on this planet. Otherwise, he says, our civilization, as we know it, will end.

What we are doing to the planet environmentally, the things we are ignoring like world hunger, famine and the cause of violence in the world, have all occurred before and had devastating consequences.

'We' didn't listen then. Will we listen and do something now?

September 11th has just come and gone. The lives lost in that attack were devastating to us all and have forever marked our consciousness. But is anything being done to really prevent this and other atrocities from happening again?

Ronald Wright addresses this issue very poignantly towards the end of his book.

"Following the attacks of September 11th, 2001, the world's media and politicians focused understandably on terrorism. Two things have to be said here.
First, terrorism is a small threat compared with hunger, disease, or climate change. Three thousand died in the United States that day; 25,000 die every day in the world from contaminated water alone. Each year, 20 million children are mentally impaired by malnourishment.  Each year, an area of farmland greater than Scotland is lost to erosion and urban sprawl, much of it in Asia."

Now stay with me.....I know this is lengthy! But I hope you get his point.

"Second, terrorism cannot be stopped by addressing symptoms and not the cause. Violence is bred by injustice, poverty, inequality, and other violence. This lesson was learnt very painfully in the first half of the twentieth century, at a cost of some 80 million lives. Of course, a full belly and a fair hearing won't stop a fanatic; but they can greatly reduce the number who become fanatics."

The author doesn't 'pull any punches' in this book. He presents the historical facts from our past and draws a picture of where we are today in comparison to then. Very similar, he feels.

If the 'politicians' of the world are not aware (but I suspect some are) of these facts, then it is up to us to remind them! Time to get our collective heads out of the sand.

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