The MA I’m doing right now is in development, which is why my posts are become more and more about that and less about Islam. I try to link the two when I can, but I hope you don’t mind a few posts that will be just about development and world politics in general.
I’ve spent the past 2 months reading about how the powerful countries and multi-national corporations have been screwing the rest of the world for centuries through colonialism, and now through development. We tend to think of aid and development as positive, because they are presented that way. Yet we never really think about who got us in this mess to begin with: the west. And now they are the same ones trying to get us out of it…shouldn’t that make us stop and think?
Most of the readings I’ve read so far say that the west has been advising the developing world to adopt policies that will not help them but rather exploit them even more. Privatization of almost everything, for example, has led to a state where millions of people do not have the right to water! The privatization of the prison system in America (the prison system!) has meant that it is all about profit…the more people they put in prison, the more money they make!
I just finished reading an article by someone called Peter Prontzos, and I think I’ve just about reached my breaking point. He points out that There is enough money in the world to get rid of poverty, disease, war, and other types of injustices.. The reason this is not happening is because the elites in the west are making sure that it doesn’t happen.
Almost 3000 people died on 9/11. Over $480 billion was mobilized to ‘fight terrorism’. Every year, more than 10 million children die from preventable diseases – 27,000 per day, more than 9 times the number of 9/11 victims. Every 5 seconds, a child dies of malnutrition. In that same 5 seconds, the world spends $125,000 on military forces.
In the year following 9/11, another 16 million children perished from easily preventable diseases and hunger – but there was no global mobilization to prevent this holocaust.
There are no longer any material reasons for scarcity in the modern world. Suffering and death that result from structural violence are neither natural nor inevitable. They happen because the rich need them to happen.
On top of all of this, I just read that 2 Israeli soldiers used a Palestinian child as a human shield and got 3 months in prison. 3 months!
I’ve given up trying to understand why the world is like this. I don’t believe it’s “human nature” because not all humans act this way when they are given power and money. I don’t believe it is a conspiracy theory, because it’s true that all the world seems to talk about is terrorism and the Islamic threat, instead of the very real threat posed by multi-nationals and the west, not only to the poor but to the environment.
Where do we go from here? What can we do? I think the worst part of it is feeling powerless, helpless, part of a system that can’t be overthrown. Capitalism, nation states and western dominance are all realities that are killing millions every year. The truth is, the way the system works means that it doesn’t matter which countries are at the top – they will do anything to get there and stay there. China is rising through the same channels that America used. Same system, different country at the top.