Almost 20 years ago, I saw a car sticker on the streets of New York, and it proclaimed a very important statement about the value of education, the statement was rendered in a most poignant manner. Meant obviously for those who complain of the high cost of education. It asked a question and made a recommendation, and here it is; “if you think education is expensive, try ignorance!”
That declaration about education also juggled my mind about a similar statement posted on the office doors by a Nigerian police officer, who at the time, acted as police public relations officer for Lagos state. It was meant for those who he said, blamed the police unfairly, it declared, “if you think our police is bad, next time call an armed robber!”
In this same vein, I am moved to ask anyone who thinks that there is no money enough to eliminate poverty on a global scale, such person should try funding the American phantom war on terror. If you think there is anything worse than a poverty of ideas, try spending 400 billion dollars in Iraq without discernible results!
If you are against the war in Iraq, I urge you to add the waste of money as an additional reason for being against the war! This war has squandered lives, blood and immense treasures! Think of the needless waste of Iraqi lives, American lives $400 Billion dollars!
And if you are not already against the war, you have just found a new reason, wastes!
There is this abysmal news of death, destruction and waste emanating from the war in Iraq and the so-called pursuit of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These deaths, destructions and wastes are almost discreet and genteel and ignored by all, even by critics of the war and President Bush’s foreign policies.
Professor Jeffrey Sachs is a seasoned economist here in New York’s Columbia University. He is also a consultant to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs. This gentleman professor has taught economics in major American universities, including the so-called ivy leagues. He is passionate and dedicated to ideas, on how to eradicate and eliminate world poverty. Professor Sachs actually wrote about recently on how to end poverty in the world; it is titled The End of Poverty Economic Possibilities for Our Time
Some critics of foreign aids have in the past derided the usefulness of foreign aid, with what some of them derisively call, the donor fatigue and such. Even though some of us believe that foreign aids are often geo-politically motivated, instead of needs or the needs of the neediest! Some of us believe that foreign aids are too frequently, agenda driven, and inconsistent with the needs and desires of the aids recipients’ preferences. Such for instance, as the US adamantly promoting sexual abstinence and thereby denying aids recipient, tried and proven important prevention techniques, such as condoms.
Other cases about, whereby the politics of the Cold War era, determined who received aids, aids motivated by the conflicting interests of Easter bloc and Western bloc power tussles. This also informed, whether bread and grains were sent to famine struck Somalia, instead of ships loads of submachine guns and surface to air missiles, RPGs and should propelled grenade launchers to enable poor countries fight proxy wars for East and West.
This sorts of geopolitical motivation is being seen replayed again, now, as the US is speedily sending more than 12 huge plane loads of arms, ammunitions of sundry weapons to Lebanon, apparently to shore up the pro-US Lebanese government to enable it fight US’s proxy wars, in this case, against the hapless Palestinian refugees, who have found themselves stateless, abandoned and forgotten in Lebanon limbo for more than 50 years! Palestinians refugees in Lebanon are not allowed into the professions or business or regular ordinary life in Lebanon, the Lebanese laws makes sure of this.
So, in Lebanon, you have poor, desperate, abandoned, neglected and forgotten refugees of Palestine, being seen as those whose lives should be snuffed out with American weapons, wealth and might! And see how speedily the US send these weapons! By express jets!
America has so much wealth, might and resources to do so much good on earth! What a poverty of ideas it is, to direct these wealth, might and sundry resources to death and destructions of lives, again, and again and again! Give me education, give me trade and investments, give me bread, and keep your guns!
For the most part, it have been argued endlessly, by some individuals, institutions and governments, that the eradication of poverty is at best a daunting task, if an impossible one as well. Resources are limited, the needs are gargantuan. The competition for aids is such that some have deemed it impossible to meet the needs of the neediest, who are mostly in the developmentally deprived parts of the world.
Some, including myself, have always argued that the eradication and elimination of poverty worldwide, is quite possible and doable! Hence I am a big supporter and a fan of Professor Sachs great ideas. We live in a world, where, those with abundance and superabundance of resources, are frequently unaware and or, uninterested in the starvation of others on earth. Some would rather take their dogs to its manicurist and pedicurist, than worry about the nutrition of a neighbor or stranger in Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, not to talk of somewhere in India, Bangladesh and anywhere Africa! Self-consumed is the best way to describe some humans in relation to their lack interests in the welfare of their neighbors, and worse, the needy in far away places.
Hopefully, the world has become more informed and wiser? In view of recent events?
America and its allies, or the coalition of the willing, have spent more than 400 Billion Dollars on the invasion and occupation of Iraq, it has also spent a billion dollars a year since 2001, to support the government of Pakistan as an ally on the pursuit of terrorist!
As it has turned out, the spate of death and destructions in Iraq has increased most phenomenally. It is actually widely believed now, that Iraq has become festooned with terrorists and would be terrorists, adding flame and conflagration to the civil war there.
Does this not lead everyone to ask, what exactly are the end results of these wars? and these so-called pursuit of terrorists? And at what costs? Osama Bin Laden is still believed to be alive, and in, somewhere in between the hills and mountains or cliffs of Afghanistan. Iraq is more divided now, than it were before the Americans invaded and occupied it. Sunnis and Shiites hate each other more passionately now, than they ever did or showed, during Saddam Hussein!
But 400 Billions Dollars have been spent and sunk for what outcome then? Why? Could the world not have done a great lot better, if these unthinkable billions of dollars were ploughed into foreign aids, into trade and investments worldwide? To eradicate poverty!
I strongly believe that poverty, desperation and hopelessness are the precursors most of the evils that we see in the world. I believe that a hungry, desperate, hopeless person, who has no expectations of better or improved life, a person therefore, who believes she or he, has nothing to lose; May have no restraint to acting violently. Persons with nothing to lose are dangerous persons! Persons without hope and expectations, poor and hungry persons!
It is my view therefore, that all the troubles in the world, the bulk of it, stems from poverty
whether this is poverty of idea or physical poverty of means of livelihood, poverty it is!
What else could better epitomize poverty of ideas? than the invasion and occupation of Iraq? All of it made worse, because it is based upon sexed-up, erroneous and clearly doctored pre-invasion and occupation information on the false allegation of Saddam Hussein’s possession of Weapons of Mass Destructions? Now, where are the WMD and or biological weapons? How about Osama Bin Laden? Where has Osama Bin Hiding?
The warmongers must tell us why, this calamitous waste of lives through death and destructions in Iraq? Why this waste of 400 Billions of dollars and the continuing wastes of more Iraqi and American lives in pursuit of a clearly bankrupt idea from the start?
Why couldn’t 400 Billion dollars be directed and targeted into trade and investments and or foreign aids? Why couldn’t 400 Billion Dollars be used to fight global hunger, poverty and disease?
In my estimation, 400 Billion Dollars is great sum of money that has been squandered so far and the quagmire and debacles of Iraq is not even nearing an end yet!
This is a demonstration of poverty of ideas, of a monumental magnitude, it is 400 Billion Dollars worth, poverty of ideas!