Friday, January 23, 2009

Something to think about

The original text was written in Portuguese but the message was so striking that I thought it might be worth doing a version of it in English:

I'm going to present you a slideshow.
Are you all ready?
The topic is an ordinary one; you've probably seen these images before
And who knows have even got used to them
It begins with famished children in Africa.
Those with bones clearly showing under their skin.
Those with flies in their eyes.
The slides flick on.
Populations en masse fleeing.
Starving people.
Poor people.
People with no future.
For years, decades, we have seen these images
On Discovery, National Geographic, in photo contests.
Some have even become masterpieces, in renowned photography books.
Images of misery that compel.
Images that form government manifestos.
They create NGOs.
They create entities.
They create social movements.
Misery in any corner of the planet causes commotion, be it in Uganda or Ceara, in India or Bogota
Year after year, talks are held to decide what to be done.
Years of pressure to draw the attention of the infinitesimal number of leaders of the most powerful nations on the planet that come and go.
It is believed that it would take 40 billion dollars to get rid of the problem of global hunger.
Got it, "get rid of"?
Wipe away
No more will there be a terribly skinny and hopeless young boy on the face of the Earth.
I have no idea how they came up with this figure.
But let's say that this number is under calculated.
Let's put it at twice that much.
Or thrice as much.
120 billion would probably do the trick.
There was no march, political or philosophical speech to get people's attention.
No documentary, NGO, lobby or political pressure that would do the job.
But in one week, the same leaders, the same powers, waved 2.2 trillion dollars (700 billion in the US and 1.5 trillion in Europe) out of the hat to feed those who already had enough on their plate.
Banks and investors.