17 October 2006
It's all about poverty, stupid!
Twenty five centuries on, no one has ever received a confirmation from God, all be it in the form of an e-mail, corroborating any priorities bestowed upon any one religion, race or group of people. It would be antithetical, if one believes in infinite wisdom.
The fact is that the Middle East problems, as well as all other problems in the world, have little if anything to do with religion; they have much deeper roots. They've always had.
Religion is merely a convenient rallying point; it's always been.
With its perceived divinity, religion is a powerful narrative manufactured by the wealthy as a convenient buffer, a safety net, as it were, to keep the poor at bay. Religion is also the most common apparatus used by the poor to gain critical mass against poverty.
The problem with the Middle East and the ROW is the ridiculously disproportionate wealth distribution.
Here’re some excerpts from War, Lies & Videotape and other sources:
1. “Twenty-eight billionaires own more than the population of half of the world's countries.”
2. “The world's 200 richest people more than doubled their net worth in the four years [up] to 1998, to more than $1 trillion" .
3. “The total assets of the 793 billionaires increased 18% from last year to an impressive $2.6 trillion.”
4. The assets of the top three billionaires are more than the combined Gross National Product (GNP) of all the least developed countries and their 600 million people.
5. “About 840 million people [the figure must have increased somewhat since the report is a few years old ] are malnourished . . . nearly 1.3 billion live on less than a dollar a day, and close to l billion cannot meet their basic consumption requirements," the report states. "Nearly 160 million children are malnourished and more than 250 million children are working as child labor.”
6. "The income gap between the fifth of the world's people living in the richest countries and the fifth in the poorest was 74 to one in 1997".
7. “Of course, the statistics about the ‘richest countries’ don't really tell the whole story. In these countries a small handful of the population controls and benefits from the lion's share of the wealth. In the United States, for instance, just 1 percent of the population owns 40 percent of the wealth; the top 10 percent controls 80 percent of the wealth.”
Here’re a few excerpts from: http://www.igs.berkeley.edu/publications/par/summer2001/poverty.html
“The consequences of such extreme poverty are foreseeable and extensively documented: 13 percent of the world’s population (790 million) lack adequate nutrition, 17 percent (one billion) lack access to safe drinking water, 30 percent (over 2.4 billion) lack basic sanitation, approximately one billion adults are illiterate, 15 percent (more than 880 million) have no access to basic medical care, 17 percent (approximately one billion) lack adequate shelter, and 33 percent (2 billion) have no electricity.”
“Fully one third of all human deaths are due to poverty-related causes, such as starvation, diarrhea, pneumonia, measles, and malaria, which could be prevented or cured cheaply through food, safe drinking water, vaccinations, rehydration packs, or medicines. One quarter of all five to 14-year-olds work outside their family for wages, often under harsh conditions, in mining, textile and carpet production, prostitution, factories, and in agriculture.”
“Severe poverty is, of course, nothing new. What is new is the extent of global inequality. Real wealth is no longer limited to a small elite. Hundreds of millions enjoy a high standard of living with plenty of spare time, travel, education, cars, domestic appliances, computers, and so on. While average per capita annual income is about $82 in the bottom fifth (or quintile) and $131 among the bottom 46 percent of humankind, it is $26,000 in the so-called high-income economies consisting of 33 countries plus Hong Kong.”
“The collective income of the bottom quintile is about $100 billion annually or one third of one percent of the annual global product. The collective income of the bottom 46 percent is about $364 billion annually or 1.25 percent of the annual global product. By contrast, the high-income economies contain 14.9 percent of world population and control 78.4 percent of the global product.”
Now take the Palestinian example:
The number of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Diaspora reached 9.7 million in 2003.
Gaza Strip population increased to about 1.4 million in June 2006; the West Bank population reached 2.5 million.
That is, 1.4 million Palestinians live in the most squalid conditions under Israeli occupation in a small prison called the Gaza Strip (area=360 sq. km).
The GDP before the current bout of Israeli atrocities was about $600 per capita – and most Palestinians had to get permission to get out of their 'prison' each day.
In contrast, the Israeli GDP is $24,600 per capita - and they get all of their weapons of mass destruction from the US for free!
To summarize, the average Israeli income is 41 times the average income of a Palestinian 'inmate' in the Gaza Strip 'prison'. Whereas most Palestinians live in prison-like conditions, the Israelis live wealthy lifestyles in occupied Palestinian land.
So you see, it isn’t at all about religion; it is all about wealth - and how to project power to preserve the wealthy lifestyle!
God has never had anything to do with religion; he would have been wise enough to only create one religion: the one that ensures continuity of life and intelligence on Earth!
Additional sources: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Media_control_propaganda/AchillesHeel_WLV.html