Monday, July 04, 2005

from the brilliant pen of maggi dawn

maggi dawn: "Make poverty history?

I thoroughly approve of public protest. So I was glad to see St Bob's efforts over the weekend to mobilise people all over the place to make a point.

I found myself worrying, however, that the tempo was rising towards a view that eight men in a room could change the world. However valuable it is to make the protest loud and clear, so that they know what we want, the reality is that global poverty will only be shifted if you and I (and all the outrageously rich rock stars in the world) take seriously the fact that global poverty will cost us - in our pockets, in our lifestyles, in our wish to consume all we want without counting. Eight men in a room can't change anything unless you and I are willing to simplify, cut down, drive less, fly less, eat drink and be merry in more moderate terms, consider how many electronic gadgets and fancy clothes we buy, and who from... and all the rest.

Eight men in a room can't change the world, unless the millions of people who campaigned at the weekend will back up the call for change with their individual action within our own luxury (in world terms) lifestyles. The eight men in a room are only our elected leaders, not our saviours, and we would make a huge mistake if we allowed ourselves to begin believing that it is THEIR responsibility, and not yours and mine. Much more comfortable, of course, to pretend that THEY should do something, not ME. But it won't change anything if we think that way.

I shan't make myself popular by saying so, of course. But it's true all the same."

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