Thursday, August 10, 2006

chaos! at the airport

i am so glad that i had not planned to travel today. even on the trains, i would imagine they might have been a bit congested. i understand why they are being extremely vigilant about carry-on bags but i hope by the time i am taking my transatlatic flight they allow laptops, ipods, and water bottles or i will have a very long trip. the two facts about the people arrested that the news talked about here was that they were 'of pakistani origin' and 'british born.' big deals in a country fearful of asylum seekers and homegrown terrorism. i have got to say that the way the british politicians handled it seemed quite respectable. then bush said something like 'we'd like to thank the u-nited kingdom for busting this' or something equally as inarticulate.

things i have learned from the reading i have been doing these past few days...

if the us wanted to stop the crisis in the sudan it easily could, as it is supporting the rebels in the south against the islamic government that once harboured terrorists. but it cannot support the rebels enough to end the conflict because it would upset their other allies in the middle east (like egypt) so instead it contains the conflict as it is and hundreds of thousands of people die. and oxfam is trying to convince you that if you just care enough you can change this.

the make poverty history bracelets are not going to move the world any further away from poverty. i always had a sneaking suspicion but i read a recent journal article that really spelled it out for me and explained it clearly why it is a useless cause. the campaign made people believe that by doing something small and easy like wear a white bracelet they were helping a greater cause. but they weren't. they were supporting a fashion statement, clever marketing, but did not raise enough revenue to actually implement change. and besides, you cannot implement change significant enough to make poverty history without uprooting the entire neoliberal system on which the world economy depends. and for that you need the us government, but you can be sure that the number of white bracelets worn had no influence on what bush did or did not do since the programme's inception. vanessa pupavac (the author of the study) calls it a 'trivial fashion statement masquerading as commitment.' when it is out of fashion to wear a white wristband, there will be very little lasting commitment.

sometimes relief workers in crises purposely damage aid supplies, but this is a good thing. it decreases the market value of an item so as to render it less attractive to thieves. so when the red cross tears a blanket in two and a refugee has to sew it back together, it actually leaves them better off because they might actually get to keep it.


lu said...

another (fun) international development fact:

israel is a high-income country and yet was the second largest recipient of foreign aid in the 1990s.

but i suppose if you are counting weapons and military aid, it makes perfect sense...

Majid said...

i liked this post very much. It seems that getting into the root is sometimes a depressing reminder about the helpless status of affairs. Things are not as simple as they seem to be.