Three years into the third millennium and already a stride into the much-vaunted 21st century, the world is no nearer to its nirvana than it was a thousand years before.
While it is true that whole populations have been given access to the possibility of self-promotion through literacy, it is also true that the education systems which are supposed to provide the support for the literate individual to shine in his chosen career path are failing miserably, with an alarming number of children still dropping out of school before a basic education has been given and received.
One per cent of our societies are chronic drug addicts, a statistic which reaches a far higher percentage of the population in the knock-on effects of the phenomenon. Job security is a notion of the past as the monetaristic obsession which swept the world after Milton Freedman conjured up the theory in the United States concentrates more on the bottom line (profits) than any preoccupations about the welfare or well-being of the employee.
Public health schemes are becoming a nostalgic memory, as it dawns on people that if they want treatment, they have to pay for it, in a society in which citizens are paying more and more, for less and less.
Acquiring and maintaining a house is a drama, bringing up a family and keeping it together is a feat which requires considerable personal resources, which a decreasing number of people have. Finally, at the end of the day, the retirement pension is far from guaranteed for an increasingly high proportion of the population.
On an international scale, the have-nots have less every year and the haves have more, the only difference being the widening gap between the two at an increasing rate. The poorer countries have their economies strapped by the ties they have to international institutions of credit, while Washington pushes inexorably for a unipolar world centred on the White House and Pentagon, first, and the State department, second.
The arrogance and hypocrisy which is the force behind the foreign policy of the USA, controlled by a privileged clique which is the energy lobby, strangles the rest of the world like the tentacles of a giant octopus.
Tough as the tentacles may be, however, and unpleasant as the octopus is to regard, there is a soft belly which no quantity of ink can disguise. There is a growing wave of discontent against a unipolar world, a rising tide of support for a multi-lateral one, centred on Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow and Peking, among others, whose forum is the United Nations Organisation.
New giants awaken. Brazil, for years the promise of tomorrow, rouses from its lethargic slumber and takes its first steps towards claiming its rightful place among those who do not walk in the shadows of their true dimensions. The Russian Federation of Vladimir Putin is no longer the soft option or the push-over of Boris Yeltsin. Both countries are beginning a diplomatic and humanitarian offensive based on bilateral cooperation agreements of goodwill and mutual respect.
This is the way forward into the third millennium; this is the true spirit of the twenty-first century. The feudal world of the hegemony of the powerful over the weak belongs to medieval times and as such, is a thing of the past.
To Presidents Lula and Putin, A Happy New Year!
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
The bodies of two Russian women were found in Turkey's Bodrum. The killer tied the bodies and wrapper them in sheets before getting rid of them