||Issue No. 177||09 May 2003|
Joining The Dots
Interview: Staying Alive
Bad Boss: The Ultimate Piss Off
Industrial: Last Drinks
National Focus: Around the States
Politics: Radical Surgery
Education: The Price of Missing Out
Legal: If At First You Don't Succeed
History: Massive Attack
Culture: What's Right
Review: If He Should Fall
Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Satire: IMF Ensures Iraq Institutes Market Based Looting
The Locker Room
Letters to the Editor
I am planning the biggest global May Day event in history. My goal is to mobilise public opinion so our 'leaders' change their priorities to fight war on hunger and poverty.
The world's 1st petition to end starvation will be held 1st May 2004. Votes will be counted according to the extra emails, SMS & MMS messages sent that day. The more messages of love, peace & goodwill sent around the world by union members, (and others!) the more seriously world leaders will act to end hunger & poverty.
The UN has estimated the cost of providing universal access to basic social services and transfers to alleviate income poverty is $80 billion. If you say it quickly, it doesn't sound that much. And you know what? It's a drop in the ocean; less than 0.5 per cent of global income!
Now I'm not going to enter into a debate on the merits of the recent war with Iraq. However I will use this event to get you to really believe that ending hunger and poverty is possible. Experts, including Senator Joseph Biden, Chair of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, indicate that the Iraq war may have cost as much as US$80-$100 billion. The 1990-91 Gulf War cost US$61 billion, according to the Department of Defense. That's almost US$80 billion in today's dollars. However this year, the US objective was for a change of regime, suggesting the possibility of a longer, more involved and more costly war. We all knew a fair few more bombs were dropped this time, than in 1990-91.
Different experts have weighed in on reconstruction efforts during the recent US Senate hearings on Iraq. According to Samuel Berger, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor during the Clinton Administration, estimates for re-building the Iraqi economy range from US$50-$150 billion.
I believe in simplicity, so let's say US$90 billion to fight the war and US$100 billion to fight the peace (ie. reconstruct Iraq). So the Iraq war cost around US$190 billion, which according to the UN estimate, is more than twice what it would cost to end starvation.
I'll make the point again - I'm sitting on the fence on the issue of whether or not this war should have been fought. I abhor terrorism as you do. (You see I want EVERYONE to cast a vote for my petition!) My point is that if the US has spare change of such magnitude, then surely the world can find US$80 billion to end starvation! So why hasn't it happened? Why in this age of 'cloning around' does a person starve to death every 3.6 seconds?
It all gets down to belief! You see, starvation has been around for so long, we expect it will continue forever. But hold on a minute! Twenty years ago, 45,000 starved to death every day. Now 'only' 24,000 die every day. Progress is slowly being made due to the efforts of NGO's (charities) governments and bodies such as the UN.
Importantly, mobile phone companies will be invited to donate proceeds from the extra SMS and MMS messages sent next May Day, so I anticipate raising $10 million plus for an NGO such as UNICEF, World Vision or the Red Cross / Red Crescent Societies.
To create a focal point for activities, I have created a world 1st 'poortal' to promote the event. However on my own this project will never have a chance of succeeding.
So I would be very grateful if you (the reader reading this letter) would visit my online poortal at www.worldmessageday.org If you like what you read, please help publicise this event so it starts being mentioned in various union calendars of events.
500 million votes is my goal. The biggest voter turn-out in history, all demonstrating worker solidarity and an end to wars, hunger and poverty.
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