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C’est L’Halloween, C’est L’Halloween, Hey!

Posted on October 31st, 2006

Anyone remember that little jingle from French class? How about the one about Bonhomme Carnival? Oh… such good times.

Anyway, onto the post. During a period of downtime at work today, I browsed through some of the news that was getting fed to my terminal and I spotted “Bono” in one of the headlines. Naturally, I was curious and what I found was very interesting. Here is a link to the article, for those who would like to read it before I make my commentary on it.

Prior to reading this article, I was a big fan of the things Bono was doing for global poverty. From the Make Poverty History campaign to the cancellation of debt by the G8 countries, he has been making a big splash in the world of foreign aid. And based on what I had read and heard, the conditions under which aid was given were fairly well-defined; for example, only governments that demonstrated a lack of corruption were given debt relief. So it seemed to me that it was being done responsibly. That said, I would have to disagree with the author when he suggests that Bono is doing more harm than good when he petitions for more foreign aid.

I will agree, though, that extremely lofty goals have been set. And some of them are misguided. Obviously, those of us who are more fortunate cannot solve the poverty issue in one foul swoop; things need to be done incrementally and we need to be realistic with the objectives that are set (and their timelines). This whole situation reminds me of Kennedy’s pledge to send a man to the moon. The goal was astronomical (pun half intended), and I think that it was a miracle that they actually landed in the 60s. I mean, think about the (lack of) technology that they had then. It is still unbelievable.

We can’t expect the same kind of luck this time around. Even though there is all of this talk of our “global village”, this village of ours is fueled by capitalism. It is, in general, all about the almighty dollar (or yen or pound or Euro or…) and the idea of helping other people out barely registers unless there is something offered in return. (And before I sound all high and mighty, I should say that I am very much guilty of this awful mentality.)

The solution to this is as complex as the problem… perhaps more so. As a society, we have little to no experience doing this, so that could explain why efforts, to date, have seemingly faltered. We do, however, know a two things:

1. Handouts do not work.
2. The longer we wait, the worse things will get.

The second of these points can explain why there are so many agencies trying to do so much all at once. It seems that there is such a rush to eliminate poverty that an insufficient amount of time has been spent on thinking about the way to do it.

In a very general sense, I think the solution is, as the author suggests, containment. It doesn’t really do the world a lot of good if we are healing a bunch of people while others are being infected. The first priority is to keep those who are healthy that way. I know that it can sound awfully cruel and inhumane to give preference to the healthy over the ill but, with limited resources and the long-term goal in mind, I don’t really see any way around it. (And don’t pull the “What would Jesus do” thing out… if Jesus were walking the earth, I could fully see Him healing everyone at once in the miraculous event that I contended probably wouldn’t happen.)

I am rather disappointed that the capitalistic approach to the poverty issue is the one with which I am siding. The reality, however, is that we have to make the most out of the money being poured into this cause. Not only that, but we have to pay attention to the invisible problem that affects the world in the long term as opposed to the terrible, visible problem that afflicts the world now. Don’t get me wrong… I completely value human life and my heart really aches for those who are suffering of extreme hunger, malaria, AIDS, and God knows what else around the world. I just don’t think that we can get the best of both worlds here.

It sucks. It totally, totally sucks.

5 Responses to “C’est L’Halloween, C’est L’Halloween, Hey!”

  1. Keith Says:

    My sister was singing that song all weekend when I was home. 😛

  2. Jasmine Says:

    I vaguely remember that song. Do you remember Louie la Grenouille?

  3. Rodney Says:

    I remember Louie la Grenouille!

  4. ktmac Says:
    -check it out friend

  5. Justin Says:

    I don’t think I remember that song… which, I guess, means that I don’t.

    Katie: Interesting link; I’ll have to take a good look around.

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