[Editor's Note: A wise and impassioned voice from Malta.]
I WANT TO GO HOME...
BUT I HAVE NONE
(Part Three - Conclusion)
By Joseph M. Cachia
You (could this well mean also you, dear reader?) took it away from me!
The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine
"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."
Archbishop Helder Camara
There is no place like home, but...
Don't be shocked! Just admit it. We're all hypocrites from time to time. Obviously, none of us try to be, but it can happen to the best of us and, as it turns out, it's not our direct fault, but rather caused through our corrupted media and perhaps our way of living. But the thought hardly exculpates us from the injustices and hardships we are causing.
One would like us to believe that creating a world of 'free trade' will promote global understanding, justice and peace and thus various organizations are invented, claiming the scope. On the contrary, the domination of international trade by rich countries for the benefit of their individual interests fuels anger and resentment and definitely makes us less just and safe, while it tramples on workers' and human rights.
In spite of impacting all aspects of society and the entire world, the WTO (World Trade Organization) is neither a democratic nor a transparent institution, while its structure enables the richer countries to win what they desire and consequently they are the prime and only benefactors. Likewise, the ILO (International Labour Organization), in spite of highlighting that the era of globalization has made many aspects of economic insecurity worse, has done next to nothing in this regard and consequently today we are still in the same distressing situation.
It's no secret that our leaders are hardly perfect, but there's a difference between blundering and flagrantly violating international treaties, breaking your own laws and throwing morality out of the window all in the name of making a quick profit.
It has been estimated that corruption costs around 120 billion euros each year to the EU (European Union) economy and surveys show that the problem has worsened in recent years – and this in spite of the harsh financial regulations reining in Europe. So one can hardly imagine what goes on in developing countries, such as those in the African continent, where you have free-for-all exploitation. I can't imagine poorer chaps than you and I through our hypocrite outlook towards this situation.
The story of African immigration is a long one, but its newest chapters are still being written today. Migrants and refugees streaming into Europe from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia have presented European leaders and policymakers with their greatest challenge.
The International Organization for Migration calls Europe the most dangerous destination for irregular migration in the world, and the Mediterranean the world's most dangerous border crossing. Yet despite the escalating human toll, the European Union's collective response to its current migrant influx has been more focused on securing the bloc's borders than on protecting the rights of migrants and refugees or, better still, securing stability in their homeland.
The West responds to economic crises with swift government intervention, while it tells Third World nations to do the opposite. Third World countries were ordered to cut government spending, allow private companies to take over state functions (like providing water, electricity and education), and borrow at extremely high interest rates. Wealth was created, but only at the top, while the rest of the country crumbled. We may believe colonialism is dead, but our treatment of the Third World countries reveals otherwise. We may not govern their countries directly, but the results are tragically similar. It is only the methods that differ. While we are suffering the same imposition, we want to play gods!
For more than half a century the Alpine nation of Switzerland has built a reputation as the world's center for tax evasion, fraud accounting, money laundering, racketeering, and above all a staunch ally of corrupt third-world leaders and a great beneficiary of third world corruption. But Switzerland has had it both ways with its hypocrisy and double standards. Her politicians condemn corruption in Africa and the third world while her banks make fortunes off that corruption.
But we must also stop to think why resource-rich African and other developing countries have done even more poorly than countries without resources and if Africa will ever benefit from its natural resources.
Africans live on a continent owned by Europeans! Isn't perhaps 'Africa without Africans' the dream of the local predatory, supremacist white minority? A recent report came out to challenge the well-spread deceptive idea that the West is pouring money into Africa through aid, without receiving much in return. All in contrary, the report proved that Africa through has lost up to 1.4 trillion (1,400,000,000,000) in illicit financial flows to the West from 1980 to 2009. This amount is 233 times the 60 billions foreign 'aid' Africa supposedly received every year from the West.
In Nigeria, the continent's biggest oil producer, at least $400bn of oil revenue has been stolen or misspent since independence in 1960. Meanwhile, 90% of people live on less than $2 per day.
In 1991, the government of Somalia, in the Horn of Africa, collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since, and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump their nuclear waste in their seas.
At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish-stocks by over-exploitation and now we have moved on to theirs.
Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? “Why do I have to come to YOUR country to eat MY food?” they rightfully ask. And why did tiny Malta send its soldiers, not to help us, but to confront us for fighting for what is rightfully ours [Malta’s]? It is sincerely hoped that it will never find itself in our precarious position!
Not unlike the EU (European Union) exploitative maneuverings, much of the merchandise produced by U.S. companies and sold to U.S. consumers is manufactured by workers in third world countries who earn as little as 12 cents per hour, drudging away in harsh and even dangerous work environments, commonly known as 'sweatshops', especially common in apparel and shoe industries. But none are my relatives or friends and not close to me!
What is wrong with us? Do we not care? Are we so absorbed in our own lives or groups or in competition with others that pity for the less fortunate has disappeared from our souls? Do we justify our inaction by stubbornly holding on to weak excuses for our inactivity? How long are we going to continue to be misled by the media and by our governments as to ignore the glaring truth?
In all faith, we want to believe that possibly only perhaps 5% of the populace (mostly governmental) is responsible for these appalling crimes. But we can't help asking: Why are the 95% not doing anything or enough to stop it? Or worse still, abetting and aiding, though maybe unknowingly, these barbaric and cowardly dealings! Surely disgusted with this criminality, why don't you stop and think how you can change this predicament? Aren't you willing or brave enough to voice your protestation to make a change to all this?
However, environmental catastrophes yet loom on the horizon, and, even if the disasters can be averted, who wants to live in a world where inequality, manipulation, conflict, exploitation, alienation, and violence are so commonplace that we often hardly notice them? You may, but not this human!
Africans are now only guests on their own continent. The dream of [the] Europeans is to transform the whole African continent into an entire colony where a white minority owns and controls the local economy, while Africans are just like good consumers or their servants. If [it] materializes, it looks that, as the West would be occupying both continents, it won't make much difference where I, am immigrant, [end up] I'm always in your territory. Yes, you asked for this through your sheer greed, Europe!
It's not dependence; but colonization, because it's a situation where Europeans use brutal military force to maintain corrupted leaders who only will help them exploit the continent. Multinational corporations are the new colonizers in Africa. It is commonly known that various international business corporations, including those dealing in coffee shops, fast foods, shoes, clothing, toys and other similar products, continue to adopt a global policy aggressive towards suppliers and employees.
The Middle East hasn't fared much better. Beyond sanctions, the West's presence across the Middle East has had a negative impact on public perception both across the region and back home. This is owed to a larger pattern of hypocrisy, deceit, and meddling that has been done under various pretenses but for obvious self-serving interests.
Agreeing that child labor is wrong, and then not checking labels to see where your clothes are made! Ignorance is no excuse for this one since it is regularly reported by mainstream media that certain well-known brands use and abuse children to make clothing and other textile/leather goods. Who is not guilty of this from time to time?
Back home for most of us immigrant people there is only unemployment and underemployment, high mortality, little or no medical care, little or no schooling, poor housing, semi-starvation, rigid class structure and exploitation. It is undeniable that many, the high majority of well-meaning Western folk grieve for our sad predicament. But what is grief without wisdom, and what is wisdom without action? Wanting the latest technological gadget, even if it came from a country where people are oppressed? Do you know where your cell phone came from, who made it and how they were treated? Why should I care - it's the latest model!! So, this isn't necessarily you, although we suppose it could well be!
Pope Francis has created political controversy, both inside and outside the Catholic Church, by justifiably blaming capitalism for many of the problems of the poor. And this is totally refuted by our own Maltese government by pronouncing itself as 'pro-business' as if such ways differ. Pope Francis blames poverty on what other people are doing or not doing. Is our blame of 'omission'?
'What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? But wilt thou known, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?'
In his encyclical, the Pontiff said: "It is morally unacceptable, politically dangerous, environmentally unsustainable and economically unjustifiable for developing countries to continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future."
The West holds some tragic lessons for Africa concerning what happens when the sense of community is lost. News of old people dying in their homes, alone and with no one to care for them, undiscovered until months later, paint a scary picture of what happens when people forget one another.
We must heed the cry for justice, for natives' retrieval of lost lands, against violence, threats and corruption, for trampled human rights, against dire working conditions, slavery and human trafficking and the pollution of water, air and soil. We must acquire and cultivate the power of moral sanctions. Examples of moral resistance to injustice in the last millennium, and the associated lessons of leadership, are now examined for insights and essential truths we will need in order to keep our bearings in the next. Moral sanctions, however, are not expressed solely in words; to be made visible; they must be dramatized in deeds.
We face a defining choice between two contrasting models for organizing affairs. Give them the generic names: Empire and Earth Community.
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."
Joseph M. Cachia, Freelance Journalist
Vittoriosa - Malta (Europe) / Tel: 21807566 - 99866151