By Randle Loeb on Sep 11, 2009 | In Caring and Surviving, Citizenship and Stewards By Randle Loeb
Looking back nostalgically times were better for most people who were privileged in another lifetime. The horrors of nuclear war had been laid out clearly and people had bomb shelters, evacuation plans and rations. Some people were influenced by the confrontation of the Soviet empire and the NATO allies, but most people went about their business as though nothing ever changed. People who had been born to a world of opportunity and wealth felt safe from the distractions of the violence that engulfed many cities and the quality of life of people throughout the world.
Today is the ninth anniversary of the modern day threat to everyone who felt protected. Almost ten years later the earth still trembles under the weight of the threat of violence and the actual destruction that threatens people everywhere. The quality of life of everyone has deteriorated except for a remote splinter who live in isolation or extreme wealth and privilege. The threat of Iran having a nuclear weapon or Libya, or North Korea, or Pakistan is a small element of this perspective.
For years and years America acted as a deterrent to any effort to destroy our way of life for the privileged few. In the era of the 1960’s the streets were burning and children were denied access to school. In this century children are denied access to education because the costs are prohibitive and the health of people is in jeopardy. The environment is crumbling as well but that impact is not felt as much because it is hard to discern precisely. Wild fires are once again burning out of control especially in the western United States.
Yet, the people with plans and decisive efforts to go on living above and beyond what earth can sustain have been continuing without regard to the quality of life of three quarters of the world, who have never lived with any assurance that they would survive. There is no place on earth that is not affected by the ravages of violence and the intent to denude the planet of all life.
In 2010 there are two significant events that are matching people throughout he world. On one hand be are holding right here a seven week biennial celebration of cultural arts and the 200 year anniversaries of Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia. The themes for the biennial are related to technology and world economy, education, health, energy, environment, philanthropy, and transportation. The impact of this event will be that those who are privileged economically can continue to prosper. However, the other side of the coin is that the remittances that families send to their loved ones at home, mostly women will go towards the infrastructure and the economies of these undeveloped areas while exploiting the economy and life of the poorer neighbors, most of whom will lose their precious mothers. In some ways the juxtaposition of these realities is like a harlequin drama, whereby the actors are choking to death the world and the peasants. Hoe are we to rectify this age old discrepancy between wealth and privilege without asphyxiating and annihilating the world?
The wife of the mayor is about to publish a book following four immigrants and their successes as they age and become assimilated in the privilege of wealth and power. The truth is that power is not wielded equally and when a person is pushed up against a wall, before dying he lashes out at his captor. “The Wretched of the Earth,” a gross depiction of this violence against humanity was written by a French psychologist about the vagaries of control and wealth being used to destroy people and cultures. We are living in this perpetual myth that everyone is living in luxury. The truth is that people never were treated as equals anywhere on earth.
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