I have been struck of late by the contrasts and contradictions I am seeing with regard to the incredible world refugee crisis at present, combined with the UN millennium goal to end poverty.
Looking at the refugee crisis first, bought about by terrible conflicts in so many countries, forcing desperate people to flee their homelands in order to survive. The images of desperate people, of young children drowning and being washed up on beaches, of people being attacked by police or dieing in overloaded lorries or boats moves a lot of us to want to help. We send money, we open our homes, donate goods or volunteer. There are marches in the street to support refugees, petitions and Angela Merkel opening the border. This is an uplifting show of support showing human nature at its best.
But not all feel that way. Many do not want those people in their countries, seeing them as just wanting to steal their jobs or their women. The right is on the rise in countries throughout Europe is really worrying. These people want to kick out foreigners and are ready to blame them for all the ills they see as hitting their countries. They are too scared to have compassion, they just want to protect themselves. They are protecting themselves from all sorts of imagined crimes and injuries that these “dirty violent foreigners” will inflict upon them.
They are so scared they cannot see the individuals in the numbers, the scared people running for their lives. They do not realise that if the tables were turned, they too would be running, and they would hope to be rescued.
So with the rise of the right, and right wing politicians and media feeding their fears, pandering to them, how can we hope to show our true humanity as a species? For that is what we will need to do if the UN millennium goals are going to be achieved.
To achieve it we all have to help. People need their countries to be safe for them to live there, they need food and shelter, they need education. Those in the West cannot only buy the cheapest thing meaning in the developing world they work for slave wages. The West cannot send its rubbish to developing countries so that their own markets are overwhelmed by the cheap imports and cannot survive. The bankers and commodity brokers have to stop speculating with foodstuffs. Businessmen have to stop thinking only of the bottom line and their bonus. It is never ending. We have to think globally and act locally. We have to think about someone other than ourselves.
And this is where I see the paradox with the rise of the right with their selfish nationalistic tendencies, compared to what we need to do to really make any impact on the problems of the world in a sustainable manner.
Maybe that is why we still are working towards these goals, even though they were first set way back at the turn of the millennium and 2015 was the deadline for them to be achieved. This was a brave ideal, and progress has been patchy, and so the dates are moving to the future, perhaps because as a human race we still have not really progressed as much as we should have, and as long as those with the power act out of fear rather than love, we will need another millennium to achieve them.
But if you are one of those who still has compassion, then you can find out more about the millennium goals by clicking on the picture above.
More of us need to start speaking up and out, and getting angry. There is too much selfishness in the world. Here in Switzerland we are voting this coming week for our politicians. The right wing party SVP is out in force putting a lot of money into the campaign, which is based on foreigners and that they are a threat to the very nature of Switzerland. I of course am a foreigner, now with Swiss nationality. I believe in an open and tolerant society where all can contribute. I will not be voting SVP. They are doing well in the polls though. I just hope that enough fellow Swiss people will get out there and vote this week, and not for them. Switzerland is bigger than that. I just hope people realise that in time.