(Picture-making a contribution at a naming ceremony)
I am writing, once again from The Gambia, a now familiar window on the world for me.
One could become quite cynical about modern society when you look at the greed and corruption in politics, business and those with wealth. It appears that there is race on to see who can destroy society, our environment and the world we inhabit most quickly.
There appears no end in sight and many have already given up on many aspects of society and life. To most there is little that can be done to arrest this slide; much less correct it.
It appears to be everywhere as politician’s, corporate and financial CEOs and others vested with positions of prestige abuse their responsibilities and the privileges they been provided.
The current scandals in the Senate and Prime Minister’s Office in Canada are just windows on a wider world of similar dishonest practice. It is an international phenomenon and not only in those countries considered most corrupt.
The world has been taken over by technocrats and professional politicians all of whom appear to have an infinite sense of entitlement.
Corporations continue to destroy what little of the environment that remains with their singular focus on larger profits. This is all supported by the politicians from whom they continue to buy influence.
Governments in the developed world seem intent on recreating the third world in their own countries by cutting back the safety nets and worker protection legislation that wiser leaders developed a few decades ago.
Most seem bent on destroying democratic governance, acting as pseudo dictators accountable to no one and nothing but their own ideologies. Their responsibility is only to their corporate contributors.
Many people are now asking what anyone can do to stop this destructive process; others have already given up and are without hope.
The real answers lie not with the wealthy, the powerful or those who think they are in control. It can be found among the poor, the marginalized and the destitute. This historically has always been, and still is, the repository of human spirit that is the hope for human kind. It is the last bastion of humanness.
One only has to look around their own neighbourhoods and cities whether it is Canada, the United States, and Europe and other countries in the so called developed world. There is no shortage of those poor, many are destitute and homeless, and their numbers are growing.
It is within these communities of those with the least that you will witness kindness, care and support. This is where you can witness the basis of human spirit and humanness that still exists. This is not to deny that you also find criminal and abusive behavior that emanates from such deprivation.
People find ways to survive in the harshest of conditions, many after suffering endless abuse from institutions, governments and religions alike. In Canada, one only has to reflect on the endless scandals related to aboriginal children and adults alike.
Not to be forgotten is the abuse of power and privilege being attributed to churches and other supposedly caring organizations and institutions throughout the world. Little, if any of this abuse, is targeted towards the wealthy; nor would it be tolerated.
The poor help and support each other, because of necessity; most of them appreciate any help they get. Theirs is a very difficult life, but they continue to struggle and survive.
It is with the poor you really see how people will do what it takes just to survive. There you will find the heart of humanness as acts of kindness and goodness abound amongst the often devastation and death that surrounds them.
By example, about two weeks ago a woman from another African country left her 6 month old baby at a very small local restaurant near my residence, and went back to her home country. The locals who operate it didn’t call the officials, social welfare or anyone else, but gathered some money from their friends and neighbours, none of whom had anything to spare, and just adopted the baby.
They were unhappy with the woman, but the child needed care so they did what came natural. Children are important and are considered the responsibility of everyone.
In many of the poor countries we are seeing revolution after revolution as people fight those in power who have abused them for years. They have decided that enough is enough and that they will take no more, even when guns and major armaments are being used against them.
But, it is not the rebellions; albeit they are significant. It is about how people come together, despite many differences and beliefs and support each other when times get tough enough.
There are many lessons for those in the developed countries that can come from those considered poor. Their wealth can be measured in a different way and their societies have a richness that can provide much guidance to bring the developed world back to some degree of sanity and humanness.
Written by Bill Pardy
June 09, 2011