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NotJustAHatStand

People say life is the thing, but I prefer reading*
 

Same old same old...

As I read this when I got to work this morning I was struck by the familiarity of it - 2 or 3 times a year we hear stories like this ('3m may starve in Africa' etc etc) but nothing ever changes. We've become immune to the pictures of tiny infants with swollen stomachs and gaunt skeletal faces - we watch the news and say how terrible it is, but then we head off to Starbucks and pay a fiver for a cup of coffee and a muffin. Africa is a harsh place to live - the average life expectancy in Niger is 44 years old, in Zimbabwe just 37. This seems incredibly low, and yet these were the first two profiles I looked at, picked at random! The debt that cripples many African nations combined with political unrest and (in some cases) corruption in government make it hard to see how things can ever change.

I supported (and continue to support) the Make Poverty History campaign, and was staggered to see the 225,000 people that marched through my home town on 2 July 2005, to make a statement about world poverty. There was a feeling that ordinary people really could effect change, and I, along with many thousands of other people via MPH, lobbied the Prime Minister to commit to cancelling the debt of poor nations at the G8 summit. Understandably the G8 was eclipsed by the bombings in London on 7 July but for reasons best known to themselves, the leaders of eight of the richest nations in the world decided NOT to cancel the debt of the poorest nations and improve the lives of MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, at a stroke. Mind you they did have a good time spending the £12.7 million quid it cost to have the G8 in Bonnie Scotland.

The atrocities perpetrated in London are no longer in the news but horrendous stories continue to come out of Africa. Like the one that startled me out of my morning daze today, '11m face death as drought worsens'. I really hope things change for the poor souls in Africa, but I can't see it happening in my lifetime. So I'm off to donate some money to Oxfam, please feel free to do so yourself here
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*Logan Pearsall Smith



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