Thursday, June 24, 2010

G8/G20 obsolete, fatuous, self-indulgent and ineffective...bury it!

There is a disconnect between the language of the political leaders meeting at the G8/G20 and the "street people"whose lives their decisions impact.
First, there is the abstract notion that throwing billions (at least in promises) at any problem like hunger, poverty, disease especially HIV/AIDS, or even maternal health will bring about the kind of results that "ordinary people" would like to see. It wont and doesn't partly because those leaders pictured in the photo-ops do not deliver on their word; partly, the notion of a tonne of money thrown at a problem, without the appropriate infrastructure (delivery mechanisms, monitoring systems, research before during and after the infusion of the money, political will and co-operation of the recipient countries, the peace and security of those recipient countries, and a fourth estate to keep the leaders' feet to the fire for the whole world to make them accountable) is like throwing a box-car-load of feathers at a wind storm...much flurry at the front end, and a little 'sweeping up' at the back end, and no real change.
Second, the level of understanding, comprehension and political literacy around the globe has so significantly grown in the last decade that no journalist, and certainly no politician worthy of the name, would or could continue to perpetuate the "faux" presentation of "action" in the face of clear lack of both commitment and follow-through. Hypocrisy simply will not "sell" anywhere in the world, and the global media's job is to guarantee that it doesn't.
Third, the real action is not with the governmental leaders, but with the NGO's whose people know the people on the ground, and the nuances of how to get co-operation between the donors and the people with the real needs.
The level of patronizing of the people in the third world by the leaders of the wealthy nations is so heinous it is insufferable. The old premise of these conferences, that the rich have the money and the answers for the problems of the poor, no longer holds true. It is the rich countries that are verging, many of them, on bankruptcy, so they cannot even afford this facade of benevolence. As is always the case, the agent presuming superiority is never able to sustain his case, since it is based primarily on hubris. To humble the mighty would be a far better raison d'etre for such meetings.
Truly, there is an obvious obsolescence to these fatuous, self-indulgent and play-acting charades known as "summits" that begs their death and burial, for the sake of the "suits" playing the roles, and the starving and dying around the world who really do need our attention and commitment. Even the security budget would save thousands of lives, if spent on the need, and not on polishing the egos of the 'mighty.'
P.S. Monday Morning after the event(s)
Leaders came, ate, talked and reported through a press conference. Protesters came, walked, talked, burned cars and trashed some Toronto businesses with their bricks, sticks, hatchets.
The President of the U.S. handled his questioners with a professionalism, including detailed, balanced even nuanced responses to each question, and they came from all fields, international, domestic, security, and although Peter Mansbridge thinks "he likes to talk" so his answers were long and detailed, ( a fatuous and undeserved sniping), he still was the 'star' on the block for this listener.
However, one very sad note: the Canadian government's withdrawal of "abortion" from its maternal health initiative is one of the sadest days in Canadian history, given the comments of an African doctor, that whatever healthy means is needed to support women who are struggling to raise a family, without support and without financial assistance, whose carrying and delivering another child would merely reduce the chances of the other children from survival...such a woman needs to have the option of abortion. Also given the fact that three-quarters of all hospital beds are occupied by women who are suffering from a "back-street" abortion...there is no logic or sustainable justification for the Canadian government's position...except a possible clinging to an ideological dogma that pleases some of its supporters.

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