Making Poverty History.

From Jeannette James.

 

Other KPC members, especially those who were at the meeting on Wed Aug10th when I talked about the G8 and what is now called in the UK the Make Poverty History (MPH) campaign, may be interested in the following.I realised later that, although I had said that the Global Call to Action against Poverty, of which MPH is a member, includes over 70 countries, most of which are poor countries, I had not made it clear that the policies are, in principle, agreed by all.

 

In other words, developing countries ask supporters in the rich countries, especially the G8, to put pressure on their governments to take certain actions.It is precisely because our governments are part of the problem that they have to be part of the solution.For example, on the CAFOD website below you can see messages from 8 developing countries to the G8, and there are also the Africa 8, 8 African women sending their messages to the G8 men.These people are asking us, voters in rich countries, to lobby our powerful governments on their behalf.

 

Whilst there is obviously scope for disagreement over what should be done, both in developing countries and here, to ignore their requests seems to me to be a form of patronising neo-colonialism, saying that we know better than they do.

 

If we start to become cynical or lose heart, we must remember examples like Uganda where all children can now go to school due to debt relief.This is just one example; 18 countries will now have full debt relief.If the Jubilee 2000 campaign had given up on the G8 ever doing anything worthwhile, this would not have happened.As I said at the meeting, global poverty was not even on the agenda in 1998 until British campaigners put it there.We have come a long way since then, even though there is much further to go.In the meantime no Ugandan family with children thinks itís a waste of time appealing to the G8.

 

What is so tragic is the way the UK government has ignored public opinion and protests about the Iraq war.Not only has this led to the present terrible situation in Iraq, it also makes protesters on all topics feel that whatever they do they will be ignored.I know KPC will not give up though, and in the end public opinion must win through.Meanwhile take some heart from the fact that there has been some progress on global poverty, and that there has been huge progress in public awareness.

 

Global Call to Action against Poverty:†††† www.whiteband.org

www.makepovertyhistory.org

www.tradejusticemovement.org.

www.cafod.org.uk/news_and_events/features/letters_to_G8

8 African women ask the G8:†††† www.guardian.co.uk/africa8