Friday, June 19, 2009

Just read Anand Giridharadas "Once Clear thoughts..." post published in today's NY Times. As always his words resonate with the heart and soul of a country - (surprisingly a democratic country) which has lodged itself forever in my heart and soul. "Why is more culture flowing in than out of India now" Giridharadas asks. My answer - to Anand and others of Indian parentage who have commented on his article - "Because you are too humble to realise that India has it all, has always had it all. And the world needs what it has, more than ever! The rest of us are yearning whether we know it or not, for what India has. The world's most magnificent, most opulent country at every level despite and because of her poverty, disease and, yes, her filth, India is brilliant, sparkling, radiant, grand. From her harsh but colourful northern deserts to the majestic Himalayas, her beautiful coastlines and lush tropical centre, her sacred rivers, from busy villages right to the midst of her teeming, vibrant cities - everything is grand scale. From villages to urban centres one sees 'filth' if that's where one's perception lies - just on the outer fringe of consciousness. Our eyes will see that if they are only observing, not feeling, not engaged, not truly conscious. It's the physical view. And India is so, so much more than that. She infuses every level of one's being - material, emotional, intellectual, spiritual! Most of all India's magnificence is held within her people, who wear their hearts and soul on the outside. They can't help it! No matter how hard they try to fit what they think is some standard 'international' or 'world-class' behaviour, they just are how they feel. Indian people embody all the opulences of her grand history and ancient Vedic culture, yet remain so humble as to think they have nothing to offer the world. I think democracy was always meant to have a soul, like the people it is supposed to serve. Like India. I so hope she doesn't lose that soul but perhaps one day share with us in the West the depth of an ancient civilisation we can only imagine, and her take on today's democracy. In return, western style democracy will not exploit her further, but will repay her by helping lift millions out of poor health, illiteracy and starvation."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Peru: Exploitation of people and resources...will it ever end?

All over the web and especially throughout social media I find sites and pages and followers and friends seeking to bring about a pure world, a conscious world, a world where there is no exploitation of any living beings or of nature itself. There is activity everywhere, there is belief and there is hope. It is inspiring. But the rough reality remains. We are all talking of change and a new, more compassionate world, but perhaps no-one is listening? Or we are all just talking among ourselves, oblivious and ignored. Because there is no true change in how the world works. No change of heart, anyway.

Looking at the situation in Peru this week it seems that global corporates and the world's wealthy nations have ignored the lessons many of us hoped would be by-products of the GFC. Wasn't it all about greed and exploitation of people and resources? So if it's all over for greed in developed nations, and destroying the environment at home is not good for the share price, then it looks like targeting third world nations and their indigenous populations is the new greed. So far the Peru story is not making mainstream news headlines.

If you search Google news - but you need to search - or you follow an environmental group on twitter, you may have caught up with the uprising of indigenous Peruvians and their supporters in the last ten days or so. They are protesting about the exploitation of the Amazon's resources by global corporations and investors. They are protesting because their own rights are being trodden to the ground. All cards are, as usual, in the hands of the first world players. If the Peruvian government tries to protect its people it will cross swords with the big powers who will seek for a ruling on unrestricted free trade (GW Bush!). Foreign investors could have the power to stop the Peruvian government legislating on behalf of its own people, as well as on behalf of its own resources. The latter is the norm in the 3rd world - think Timor Leste! In the meantime, blood is being shed and lives are being lost in clashes between Peruvians - government troops against indigenous groups, students and environmentalists. The usual.

Will there ever be another consciousness? What ever can we do?