Letters & Opinion

It’s no longer a wonderful world!

Image of Earl Bousquet
Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

I don’t think I’m alone in concluding that the pressures of survival in these times have forced many to not even be aware of what day of the week it is, far less which Holidays or Holy Days come when they normally do.

I spent World Health Day 2022 at OKEU and didn’t realize it until after I was discharged.

Then on Wednesday this week, I ended-up reminding many friends it was indeed Ash Wednesday, their responses more reflecting the joy of welcoming the “Holiday weekend” than the fact that it was Easter.

Not too long ago, governments were blamed for moving Carnival from the usual observance of Dimanche Gras and J’Ouvert and thereby causing Christians to forget when is Ash Wednesday.

But more Christians more willingly admit today that pressures of survival and the ever-rising cost of living have forced them to think otherwise about how best to spend their days to overcome the economic and social pressures increasing everywhere.

Accumulated pressures from COVID-19, continuing Supply Chain problems and the Ukraine war have forced most everywhere to pay more attention to actual daily survival than to pray for spiritual deliverance.

Not that they trust God less, but more have concluded that God only helps those who help themselves…

Yet, while Doing Good is still a prized virtue, it’s being less manifested by those better able to ‘do more good…’

Verily, survival in 2022 is increasingly difficult for more people everywhere than ever, as prices rise with every shipment of imports, while salary increases don’t keep up with actual living costs.

Trade unions no longer press private sector employers to pay more, instead pressuring governments – also with earning less — to pay better Public Service salaries.

More citizens everywhere, now better informed than ever, better understand that governments and businesses face the same pressures as everyone, what with the Ukraine war’s effects on increasing food prices and decreasing world trade.

The richest countries are spending less to do more and better for citizens facing inflation robbing purses and pockets, forcing John and Joan Public everywhere to re-evaluate their personal priorities and reorder their lives.

Developing and small-island states the-world-over are finding it much-more difficult to make ends meet, working harder to pay bigger bills and stretching their imagination beyond normal as governments try to ease economic and social burdens, while businesses markup prices to stay in business and more people ending-up unable to make ends meet.

The number of people the world over hitting the Poverty Line in 2022 is already much higher than ever before, but the richest countries continue enriching arms manufacturers, channeling money for continuing the Ukraine war that can better help the poorest everywhere.

For example, Britain last weekend allocated 300 million Pounds (Sterling) worth of arms to Ukraine and the USA followed this week with US $800 million worth of armaments and encouraging more European states to do likewise and allocate money that can better help their own citizens, towards continuing the war that no side can win.

The USA, NATO and the European Union (EU) have influenced the shape and directions of the Ukraine war in a way that will only ensure its continuity, while the world would be a better place with peace.

They’re refusing to sacrifice one life to the battle, instead arming and encouraging Ukraine to fight a war it can’t win alone against an enemy all its Western backers are simply afraid of facing.

The munitions being promised Ukraine today will only allow for intensification and continuation of the fighting and multiplication of the number of soldiers and civilians dying on all sides, but Ukraine is still being pushed from behind to fight harder and lose more lives.

As is always the case, mere fractions of the amounts being committed by the world’s richest nations to the Ukraine war can go a very long way in easing the burdens and strengthening the capacity of government and people in the developing world – the majority of the world’s population – to overcome its worsening deadly economic and social effects.

But geopolitical considerations always top the agenda of the richest nations, never mind their claims to want to live in a peaceful and prosperous world.

And the discrimination continues at all levels, as best seen in how Europe and the USA are handling issues relating to immigration, with Ukrainian refugees being welcomed into European homes with open arms while refugees fleeing fighting and economic difficulties from Africa are being reminded, in the crudest of ways, of the racist philosophy that ‘Blacks Must Stay Back’.

In the first days of the Ukraine crisis, Africans, Caribbean citizens and other non-white non-citizens fleeing the fighting were being prevented from boarding trains and buses, ensuring only Ukrainians and others with non-Black skins were allowed to flee to safety.

Today, after the first 50 days of fighting, Britain continues to pay 300 Pounds per-person to anyone willing to house Ukrainian refugees, while tens of thousands of refugees from Africa who’ve safely crossed the channel between France and Britain will now be sent over 4,000 miles away to Rwanda, as punishment for trying to enter Britain, even though for similar reasons as Ukrainians.

Yes, unlike the situation that led the late great Louis Armstrong’s  ‘What a Wonderful World’ to have been voted the most popular song for the 20th Century, today’s realities have turned the world upside-down into one where more people than ever even wish they weren’t born.

And as the fighting continues, Ukrainians are also now amassing on the Mexican border, hopeful that the USA, like Europe, will allow them quicker and safer passage than the millions from Latin American nations caught and locked-up at border crossings or forced to simply stay home because they are considered lesser human beings.

Yes, this is how the world turns today – like it always has for people of color, for whom the struggle always continues.

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