09.10.2004Charlotte Wiedemann - Ghazala IrfanAcross Continents
Ghazala Irfan, 18 August 2004
The divide that I mentioned in my last letter is not only between the educated and the illiterate. The schism is between the affluent and the poverty-stricken as well; the "haves" have too much and the "have-nots" have nothing.
It is this striking disparity that characterizes us. Concepts of equality or equity are non-existent.
Sharing of power and resources is unheard of. Exploitation is the name of the game.
But if one manipulates, one is also manipulated. The rich remain pawns to the richer i.e. the economically more advanced.
Production is no longer need-oriented but needs revolve around production and are artificially created so that industry may flourish. Power has its own dynamics; it does not recognize national boundaries.
Multinational corporations patent indigenous herbs and staple food. I refer to the patenting of Neem (a much-used medicinal plant) and Basmati (the long-grained rice produced in South Asia).
While the West talks of human rights it seeks to monopolize the food of the world. Monsanto is one such wheat seed that is going to negatively revolutionize agriculture in the Third World.
These seeds are genetically modified and sterile. They shall need to be bought from the producer every year. Conventional and cyclable agriculture shall be eliminated.
And if that is not enough, the adjoining farms to the Monsanto fields shall automatically be converted to the omni-spread of the new high-yield crop.
This means that the dependent become more dependent. And if this is the cycle of exploitation and manipulations by all those who can and do, the ignorant and the poor have no hope...
Why do we (you and I) allow this to continue? Peace, harmony and co-existence need to be based on justice.
Are we uninformed or are we unconcerned? Don't these knowledge gaps and motivation gaps continue to widen? We do pay lip-service to the elimination of ignorance and poverty but the opulence on the one hand and the scarcity on the other cannot be wished away or even talked away.
But let us continue to talk for unless we talk we cannot act but do we must and now.