What are governments to do when an economic crisis hits, causing an already disproportionate number of poverty-stricken people to massively enlarge their ranks – to the point where they take to the streets to protest over their lack of basic necessities? Well, they repress and kill them of course.
For a brief period yesterday, this article appeared on the main page of the BBC. It’s gone today, replaced with more important articles like ‘What the way you hold a glass says about your personality‘. After you’ve figured out who you are by the way you hold your cocktail, perhaps take a little time to read the former link – where you can read a BBC summary of the latest of Amnesty International’s annual reports (the 424 page document you can download below) on human rights abuses worldwide. It makes for sobering reading. The situation is being described as a ‘powder keg’ and ‘time bomb’ that threatens security worldwide.
The world faced a grave danger that "rising poverty and desperate economic and social conditions could lead to political instability and mass violence," the rights group’s secretary-general, Irene Khan, wrote in its annual report.
As governments struggled to resuscitate their economies, human rights were being "relegated to the back seat," she said, calling for a "new global deal on human rights … to defuse the human rights time bomb".
… "We are sitting on a powder keg of inequality, injustice and insecurity, and it is about to explode," she wrote in the report on "The state of the world’s human rights".
Where people had tried to protest, their actions had in many cases been met with repression and violence.
The group warned that rising poverty could lead to instability and mass violence. – Reuters
"The underlying global economic crisis is an explosive human rights crisis: a combination of social, economic and political problems has created a time-bomb of human rights abuses," said Amnesty’s Secretary General, Irene Khan. – BBC
The State of the World’s Human Rights
Wealthy bankers and organisations such as the IMF, World Bank and the WTO are at the centre of this mess. They’re a bit like a stone thrown into the water – causing a veritable tsunami of ripples to move in ever-widening circles across an increasingly fetid pool. It’s amazing what a few people in suits can accomplish when they really set their minds to making money. Corporate-led, consumer- and tax-payer funded globalisation is undeniably showing its true colours here.
They’re not pretty.
The title of this post is apt, as it symbolises both the reality of the destitute and oppressed – their need to do what they can to survive – as well as how seemingly insignificant they are in the eyes of the wealthy and powerful. It’s not just governments in developing countries that are culpable here either. As increasingly desperate people endeavour to escape their lot – that of hunger and also the bloodshed born of increasing anarchy and spiraling violence – governments in the so-called ‘first world’ are erecting barriers around their countries to keep would-be refugees out. Even within ‘first world’ countries, extreme measures of control are on the rise – 346 people have died after being tasered by police in the U.S. of A. for example (for more on the rise of fascism in the U.S., see clip at bottom).
Permaculturists everywhere should see this as a clarion call. Permaculture is no longer a weekend hobby; it is no longer just a ‘lifestyle choice’. Rather, it should be seen as an opportunity to do something tangible to diffuse and ameliorate the situation. Helping people learn to how to live peaceful, healthy, independent lives right where they are, regardless of who their ‘leaders’ are, is the great need of the day. This work crosses cultural, religious and national borders – reaching out to all in the human family.
As many of you know, we are working on enlarging our student capacity so we can get more people out into the field to start new self-replicating, educational/demonstration sites. We also have Permaculture groups around the world networking with us to start new Permaculture Research Institutes in their regions. Appropriately enough, we’re also attracting interest and solicitations from leaders of certain nation states – as they earnestly seek to find long-term solutions to the problems caused by runaway, extractive capitalism. We don’t need to see the rise of resource wars, fascism and martial law. The application of little intelligent design could go a long way towards avoiding this….
We invite you to get involved in any capacity you can. There really is no time like the present.