Message to the Children of the future: Don't let them kill your dream
I address this open letter to the children of the future. Those who read it too soon may laugh, those who read it too late will have cried their last tears away
I had intended to write this letter on the International Day of the Child, June 1 in 2018 and I apologize for being two days late, but then I was too depressed to write it, too overwhelmed by the reality of what our world has become. Demoralized, demotivated. True, I am two days late by the Christian calendar, by some other calendars I may be 4,576 years early.
And it is from this question of perspective that I ask you to read these lines carefully, hoping that this survives somewhere on the Net and that you read it in time and take it as a historical document, having the hindsight of History as your witness.
When I was a child, growing up after the most horrific war this planet has seen, I was led to believe in people, in a happy and safe future in a world of plenty, as peoples from across the globe came together and met in the aftermath of the Imperialist times, as colonies became countries, as universal healthcare and education became a reality for most and as development was one of the mainstays of foreign policy.
As I have written recently, we had the ability to travel for next to nothing, we had the freedom to roam around Europe, across Africa West to East or North to South, across the Middle East to Asia. We went by train, we went backpacking, we went hitch-hiking. Friends of mine did the Magic Bus to Kabul crossing Iran; a cousin of mine went back to Pakistan where he was born and hiked in the mountains; friends of mine did the Tangiers to Cape Town by truck and others, Egypt to Morocco; an acquaintance meandered across Syria and Iraq; a few friends spent the Summer in kibbutzes in Israel meeting up with people from half-way across the world; another used to wander around West Africa is his holidays finding villages with three pots of corn beer in the center of the village with a plastic cup for anyone to drink from, one pot weak, for the women and children, another stronger and another so potent it would blow your head off. The evening was spent sitting in a circle sharing stories and songs and food. He returned year after year to the villages he discovered and to new ones, sowing and reaping friendship.
These days, many of these places are teeming with terrorists, who would blow your head off or cut it off.
Personally, I did not have the finances to engage on such trips, so I had to use my imagination and hitch-hike, placing myself at the mercy of those who stopped to give me a lift. I did many such trips and invariably, the first or second car would stop and ask where you were going, many would go out of their way to take you to the nearest city; hostels and hotels would let you use a bathroom to freshen up, many of the people giving you a lift would thrust some notes into your pocket and insist you kept the money. To eat. Everyone, except for a nymphomaniac middle-aged lady who tried to kidnap me, wished me well. I am sure she did too in her way.
Young people used to come together in city centers, in public squares, in the desert under the stars, in the shade of a moonlit tree, on railway station platforms, chatting, sharing experiences, talking about religion, about politics, playing songs and singing together, sharing what food we had. "In my country" was the start of many a statement, uttered with pride and received with smiles as people nodded as they drank up the knowledge they were receiving.
My twenty-first birthday was spent in a foreign country in Southern Europe, first alone in a bar, then joined by two Germans, then a Japanese as we started a massive bar crawl around the city, picking up people as we went, ending at four o'clock in the morning gloriously drunk dancing on the bar-top with my trousers rolled up to my knees with some sixty young people from some thirty-plus nations - black, white, yellow, red, brown, or whatever - clapping and cheering. Having fun together.
Sunni and Shia in those days used to go to their respective Mosques in Baghdad, it was not an issue...Moslem prayer groups prayed for Moslems and Christians and Buddhists in the mountains of the tribal areas of Pakistan, Serbians and Albanians shared food and families and marriages. Kids played soccer together, kids painted together, kids played together and they grew up to share the experiences I have mentioned above.
This was not yet half a century ago but how it has all changed. Do you want me to point you in the right direction? Pinpoint the years 1989 to 1991. That was when the Social Model ceased to be a counter-balance to the Capitalist Model and that is when they destroyed my dream.
The Capitalist Model started off all right when the mercantile class started to claim individual rights over the Establishment, namely the Church and the Aristocracy who used the Church to keep people in their place, like a caste system. Protestantism arose out of a disenchantment with the Establishment, abuses of the Church and the desire to read the Bible in the vernacular and not in Latin. The onus was on an individualistic approach to God and to life, not a collective top-down, have and have-not system of control. As capital became available to the mercantile class, the system was one of freedom to set up a business, employ people and contribute to the kitty through taxation in a society which valued voluntary work. It functioned.
The Social Model arose out of the socio-politico-economic theories of Mark, Engels and Lenin, among others and was implemented with success in the Soviet Union, then exported to other countries. It was a perfect model for development of backward societies, bringing countries into the front line of development, focusing on literacy, education, freedom of knowledge and establishing a society where public services were provided for all for free. Education was free, higher education was free, housing was free and guaranteed, healthcare was free and excellent, including dental care, a job was guaranteed, profession training was available, the streets were safe and clean, the State was secure and there were numerous travel opportunities to work abroad. Food was distributed for free, and even alcoholic beverages were rationed and free. Electricity, water and gas were free, public transportation free or subsidized, communications subsidized. It functioned.
What happened around the mid-1970s was the globalization of the theory of market-oriented capitalism, which quickly morphed into Corporatism, the control of the economy and government by corporations operating through the BARFFS, the $inister $ix $isters called the Banking, Arms, eneRgy, Finance, Food and drugS/Pharma lobbies. They closed ranks around the government of the USA and quickly spread their tentacles around the world, setting up base-camps in Israel, the UK and France, later most of Western Europe, Australia, Canada, Colombia and so on.
The BARFFS started to operate using NATO as its battering ram, a military alliance whose collective military spending (globally) is some one point two trillion USD each and every year (1,200,000,000,000 USD) and these days use the FUKUS Axis (France-UK-US) as their arrow-head. They have no intention whatsoever of implementing a social policy, in fact their aim is to make money through policies of social terrorism. Firstly, energy costs and a mortgage (if the family can get one) take up a huge slice of the household budget to the point where families are not free to pursue their dreams but fight harder and harder to survive.
Next, education and healthcare have become a business, so you have to fight to get your kids into a better school or pay for it if you can. If you want a degree course you have to pay for it or come out of University with a massive debt, if you want decent healthcare you have to pay an insurance company which then haggles and denies you what it implied you had the right to precisely when you need its services to survive. If you want a master's course or an MBA or a doctorate, check out the price tag.
Dental care is a luxury and extremely expensive, spiraling out of the reach of most, job security is non-existent, these days you get the notion that they are doing you a favor by providing you with work, forget a pay rise, salaries have flat-lined since the 1990s and all the time costs are rising. The streets are unsafe and you dare not step off an aircraft in most places around the world. Brazil, like other countries, is out of control, going to the market has become almost an operation in logistics, Sunni and Shia are at each others' throats in places where a few years ago they were having meals together; Israel acts with impunity as it shoots across the border murdering young female medics striving to save lives, being actually backed by the USA and UK; Iraq and Libya have been ruined by the BARFFS/NATO/FUKUS cartel and ask anyone anywhere if the world is a better place than forty years ago, and the answer is no.
On that we can all agree. So there you have my report on Planet Dearth 2018. They know more about the surface of Mars than the bottom of the Ocean, into which they have poured so much plastic debris that marine life is choking to death, they have placed toxic chemicals at the bottom of the sea, which are now leaking out; they are destroying the habitat of animals which have lived there for thousands of years to plant palm oil palm trees or to create arable land instead of forests; countless species are dying out, many before we have even discovered them. The air is polluted, the sea is polluted, the land is polluted, space is polluted.
So I apologize for being two days late or 4,576 years early and I apoligize for the craphole that my generation has left you as a present. I am utterly ashamed at what our world has become, although I have fought since an early age to create networks of goodwill, friendship and knowledge sharing, I have spent my entire life trying to help people and continue daily to speak out and stand up for what is right. But I have tried to do my part to no avail.
It is your job to make something of this planet before we destroy it. It is your job to find ways to clean up the mess we have made while ceasing to dessecrate and pollute Mother Earth, who cries tears of unbearable pain as we write and read these lines. It is your job to find an economic and social model, marrying the inherent greediness and selfishness of humankind (capitalism) with the need to provide a social platform (social model) through State interventionism. If at least you create a system which delivers public utilities and accommodation for free, people will only have to spend their salaries on food and cultural/leisure activities, creating full employment, zero homelessness and zero hunger. It is your job to find a way to rekindle our dream, which was a world of brothers and sisters living in harmony with our Planet, with our cousins its animals and with each other in friendship, multiculturalism and celebrating diversity, not hating it.
If you can do that, my generation and I will thank you. If you cannot, please preserve these words somewhere, somehow. Don't let them kill your dream, don't let them kill your dream...
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.
Photo By Nils Ally - Personal trip in 2010, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14730037
In Bolivia, at least seven people were killed at El Alto State University on Tuesday, March 3. The tragedy took place during a student meeting on the fifth floor of the building