Top 1% and the Bottom 1%
I stumbled across two articles today that on the surface don’t seem to have much of a connection.
The first headline I stumbled across was on CNN. It was a headline piece on the famine in Somalia. The United Nations declared today that Somalia was in a state of famine and urged for other nations to help. The country is experiencing their worst drought in half a century.
They have been an independent country for over 50 years and have had a series of Communist, tyrannical, warlord led, lawless regimes. Currently controlling the majority of the country are a militant group Al-Shabaab that is linked to Al-Qaeda. This same militant group has kept humanitarian aid out of the country because they claim the aid came from anti-Muslim sources. Only now that thousands of their people are dying and migrating in search of water and food, Al-Shabaab is allowing some aid to come into the country.
In my heart, I know that the women and children of Somalia do not deserve to starve to death. They need humanitarian relief to survive. Yet, this is a country that the United States has tried to help for decades. Our soldiers have been killed on their soil. Our humanitarian workers and missionaries have been killed there. Their militants prevent aid to be delivered and kill those who try.
After the uprising of the common people in the Arab world this past spring, there are examples of the masses defeating oppressive control by the extremists. It is not easy, but it is possible. Somalia needs to help itself. Clearly, the pirates who roam the seas and make millions in ransom aren’t sharing sharing it with their people. The militants are allowing their people to die of starvation.
In an east African arid desert climate where year round highs go from mid-80’s to 100’s, Mother Nature is unforgiving. Without a wealth of natural resources and easy access to water, even with a relatively low population density, Somalians struggle to survive.
The second article came from the Guardian. The piece was on how David and Victoria Beckham are being criticized for having 4 children. The Green MP, Carolina Lucas, and Optimum Population Trust chief executive, Simon Ross have come out and criticized the Beckham’s for having a 4th child and that they were harming the environment with their 4th child. Simon Ross stated that it is a bad example because England is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. He stated that the government should give tax breaks for the first two children, but that families were on their own thereafter.
The criticism completely ignores the fact that David Beckham has made over $350 million dollars over the course of his life and his wife made tens of millions as a Spice Girl. It also ignores that Beckhams don’t live in England. They are capable of supporting and providing the necessary resources to care and raise 40,000 children much less their measly 4.
The two articles highlight the vast disparity between the top 1% and the bottom 1%, but what really set off the light bulb in my head was that the articles ignore the ability to provide for children. It’s incomprehensible that people can criticize the Beckham’s over having multiple children without also criticizing the poor for having too many children.
While it is completely heartless, but why should people spend their hard earned money or let their government spend their hard earned money on unsustainable populations of poor people in a desert devoid of natural resources? Isn’t it also heartless to bring children to this world when you are incapable of caring for them? Isn’t it heartless to bring children into a world of poverty, violence, and anarchy?
A quote that has always stuck with me came from Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.”
I’m finding it very hard to care when we have poor in our own country. We have children who go hungry and uneducated. We have neighborhoods in cities across the county where violent death and lives of crime are the norm. The United States never exploited Somalia. The United States never had control of that country. The Italian and English were the ones who had control of “Somaliland”. Why does a disproportionate share of UN aid have to come from the United States?
Somalia has done nothing for its children, and I’m finding it hard in these economic times to justify helping those who don’t help themselves. It’s an anarchy with pirates and militant rebels. The children are innocent, but if we leave them in that environment without education, they will become pirates, militants, or die an early death. Food and medical aid without education and infrastructure is pointless. It’s basically burning money to prevent immediate death while allowing premature deaths to happen in a few years anyway.
I guess I just have a hard time criticizing those who are capable of caring for their own while not criticizing those who irresponsibly subject their own to violence, poverty, and anarchy. I guess it’s typical stuff when you consider al-Shamouk jihadist website is releasing an animated cartoon to recruit children into al-Qaeda. They clearly love their children.