Fadhel Kaboub’s sound article (NI 527) proposes these measures: that public money be spent on research and development of low-impact materials; that unjust debt be abolished; that governing money be spent on a Green New Deal; that excessive wealth, speculation, pollution, predatory market practices be severely taxed. For these measures to achieve their aim, another corrective change has to happen concurrently: that people all over the world pay more attention to the ideal of living where we are, in the sense of eating locally grown food, treating neighbours as fellow people, spending leisure time locally rather than jetting away to lie on two square metres of beach, adapting our bodies to the local climate rather than overheating our buildings with oil.
Until now, various people have lived in this way, and Hazel Healy relates how, since Covid-19 spread, food producers have strengthened their links with hungry local people. If more people lived like this, big companies would no longer import sweatshop clothes and flowers. Workers in ‘Third World’ countries would work for local customers rather than the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Primark.
This would not spell a complete end to foreign trade, but overexploitation and displacement would be greatly reduced, as might resource wars.
But nobody is pure in this world. I wish the historical background had included the active participation by significant numbers of Kurds in the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottomans during World War One. Kurds were willing executors of the ethnic cleansing and mass murder that took place, and they benefited directly by taking over Armenian property and territory.
This obscure chapter actually makes the long treachery of the Turks toward the Kurds all the more ironic: the Turks used the Kurds to do their dirty work, then hung them out to dry.
Hope in action
I was cheered to see you had chosen Palestine for your Country Profile in NI 527 given the current threat of annexation. And disappointed that Zoe Holman didn’t encourage us to support Palestinians in their struggle for rights.
She describes sumud, steadfast perseverance, as a ‘national trait’. It is much more than that. Farmers replanting olive trees again and again after they have been burned down by the illegal occupiers of neighbouring hillsides; families refusing to leave the sites of their bulldozed homes or villages whose water supply has been cut off; communities persisting in protesting the blockade of Gaza in spite of the lethal response by the Israeli military. All are engaged, day in, day out, in the most powerful form of resistance available to them.
We, outside the confines of Occupation, are in a strong position to compel the Israeli government to accept that the only route acceptable to the international community is the firm establishment of equal rights for Palestinians. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, initiated and co-ordinated by Palestinian civil organizations, provides us with the means. It is a growing movement, for all the huge obstacles it faces. Find out more at bdsmovement.net
Zoe Holman says that ‘we can only hope’ for a just solution. We can do much more than hope – the only real hope depends on action.
In ‘Lessons from the Pandemic’, page 20, NI 527, we wrote that the GM Savers network in Manchester, UK, ‘raised funds for organizations in Africa which were part of the Slum/Shack Dwellers International Network’. In fact, the funds were raised by individuals in Manchester, not the GM Savers organization.
...campaign to end human trafficking.
As the predatory actions of Jeffrey Epstein and friends unfold, we are reminded that human trafficking persists. Sex trafficking gets a lot of attention – even in the movies. But people are also trafficked for labour. Those who are preparing your meals, picking your fruit and painting your nails may be in exploitative situations that they cannot escape.
I live near Hollywood where the glamour of the old days is starting to dim and abusive people and institutions are finally being exposed. The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, where I work, educates the US public on the issue and how people can help.