Monday, December 24, 2007

Hijacking the Christmas Spirit

picture by Danny Hammontree

Let me hijack the Christmas spirit for a few seconds and toss away all the clutter (gifts, parties, drinking, etc.) to reach the core: celebration, sharing and peace on earth.

Let us take a moment to realize how fortunate we are and think of how we can share our blessings with others less fortunate.

For 2008, let's try to find alternatives to the wars we are waging.

To kickstart the reflexion, let me quote former U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Now, let's delve into the raw the numbers:

The Pentagon suggesed that the cost of the conflict in Iraq would be approximately $75 billion per year over ten years. In accepting the Niwano Peace Prize on 8 May 2003, Dr Priscilla Elworthy, of the Oxford Research Group said, “We must compare this $75 billion to the costs of building international security in other ways.

a) in the year 2000 world leaders estimated that it would require $25 billion to $35 billion annually to raise levels of health and welfare in Africa to Western standards.

b) Unesco estimates that all the world’s children could be educated if we were to spend $7 bilion dollar per year for ten years.

c) Clear water and sanitation could be provided for everyone in the world for $9 billion annually.

d) HIV and Aids now claim 5,500 lives a day around the world – more that the Black Death, and twelve million children in Africa have been orphaned by the disease. Kofi Annan has called for $10 billion annually to address the Aids epidemic.”

(thank you Mr Richard Branson for shedding a light on this one.)

And finally, no world peace speech would be complete without a few words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama:

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another. If you wish to know that you are safe, cause others to know that they are safe. If you wish to better understand seemingly incomprehensible things, help another better understand. If you wish to heal your own sadness and anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of another.

Those others are watching for you know. They are looking to you for guidance, for help, for courage, for strenght, for understanding and for assurance at this hour. Most of all – they are lookinf for your love.”

On that note, let me wish you all the best for the holiday seasons, and big dreams for 2008!

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