13.05.2011We must react

“How is it possible that men are not happy everyday just for the pleasure of being alive?,” the poet Kenko asked himself in the 14th Century. Ueda Miyoji said, “Let us find time for leisure! And let us live each day as if it were two days!” Life only occurs in the present. As long as we ignore how to live each instant as if it was unique, we will not live our life fully. Kenko repeated, “People who fear death should love life intensely.”
Something must be wrong when life becomes a constant wait.
What about the pleasure of creating, of participating, of knowing that one is responsible for others in our solidarity? It is the pleasure of tasting silence and of facing the encounter of those who stretch their arms for us so that we listen to them with attention, because encounters only take place once in a lifetime. That is why farewells are eternal: repetition is not possible.
The positive news of developing countries do not find space in the media of developed countries. However, rich countries neglect that they could not sustain their style of life without the contributions developing countries make in the form of raw materials.
For that reasons, more than thirty wars are being waged. Weapons are sold to poor countries. After the destruction, money is lent in the form of “funds for development,” which are used for reconstruction.
Is it necessary that 2 billion people live under the shadow of poverty without access to food, to health care and to a basic education to be self-sufficient? Is it necessary to pollute the environment of which we are part, turning many poor communities into cemeteries of our nuclear waste? Is it necessary that that millions of children work 10-hour shifts for a bowl of rice, that three million children are forced into prostitution? Is it necessary to maintain nine soldiers for every doctor, or for half a teacher; to turn crop fields into mine fields of death? Is it necessary that two million dollars are spent on weapons each minute and that 1,500 children starve to death; that the economic system increases the foreign debt of developing countries by 75 billion dollars?
It is not necessary.
Along with the loud protest, let us propose ideas to share the cause of developing countries and of many impoverished citizens in rich countries. Poverty and exclusion are not natural; they are a consequence of an unjust inequality.

José Carlos García Fajardo
Profesor of Contemporary Social and Political Thought. CCS Director