A conference was held yesterday in Lisbon to discuss the latest report issued by UNICEF on the dramatic situation of the world’s children. Angola, a former Portuguese province in Africa and now torn by civil war, is near the top of the black list, with a figure of 29.5% of deaths in newborn babies. The UNICEF report states that 80 billion USD (2,240 billion roubles) would be enough to guarantee that all the world’s children could grow with their full capacities developed, giving them as high a chance as possible to reach their full potential as adults. The horrific figures released by the report are more than shocking : 11 million children die every year from diseases which could easily be treated ; more than 7% of children die from measles ; 177 million children are under-nourished ; more than 10 million have been orphaned by AIDS ; 33% of babies born are never registered ; in the developed countries, more than 20% of children do not go to school and 100,000,000 children worldwide have never entered one. When one views the astronomical figures being spent on arms and drugs, only a small proportion of which would be enough to solve the problems of millions of children, one sees that something is seriously wrong and the imbalance needs to be redressed. Why is it that NATO and its allies are the first to enter into costly (and illegal) military aggression against chosen sovereign states but do not take any action whatsoever against Africa’s bloodthirsty dictators, some of whom lead regimes so evil that even Hitler is made to look like a saint in comparison? We know that the arms trade stimulates the economy and we know it is worth billions of dollars and we understand that when a lot of money is at stake, morals fly out of the window. After all, if a regime is buying lots of weapons, and paying in ready cash, why bomb it? The “new world order” so often quoted when invoking demons against “rogue” leaders is no more than hot air and hype. When the world’s children are fed, medicated and educated, speak about “new world order”, not before.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey Pravda.Ru Lisbon

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