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HOLY WEDNESDAY Greed
• June 2004 MONDAY, JUNE 14, 2004
JUNE 11, 2004 SHAMELESS, CRUEL AND GREEDY We are in the grasp of cruel and greedy women and men, They own the giant corporations throughout America, An in every country throughout the world without end. Governments of industrial nations to their will bend, So that they may rape and plunder the undeveloped, And the bounty to the rich nations then shamelessly send. This thing I know, all of the children, that must go hungry; All that are ignorant, are sick and must drink foul water; All of the downtrodden in the world are related to me. In Nigeria and Indonesia men toil day long, They barely survive on the dollar a day that they earn. They grovel in huts, ignorance and bad health, Oh! That’s wrong. In the Philippines, Central America, Vietnam, and Africa; Energy, transportation, clean water and sanitation, Are inadequate and so it is in South America. We have a duty to protect those that are so helpless, Some say it comes from God; some from natural evolution. Honor requires we heed that duty no matter its source. If we can not tear away these tentacles of greed, From the throats of our children in our family, Then we will all strangle because they are in such need.
Think not that their suffering next door to us will long abide. Three-fourths hungry and one-fourth infected with consumerism, Will collapse economies and order on every side.
Fast on Wednesday. Say to those in power Share all our wealth, With all our kin. On that holy day, know pain and suffer. Share the pangs of hunger of children; so that all know health. HOLY WEDNESDAY How can I as an individual do anything to influence the industrial nations to share their wealth with those countries that suffer in such desperate poverty? Most of you feel that we can do nothing. It is just requires too much money to run for office or in any other way effectively influence government policy. Oh how wrong that is! In a very simple way you can change the world. Mahatma Gandhi has pointed the way. Violence is not needed. There is a way to express your will. I propose a spiritual movement that would supplement but not supplant existing religions and ethical beliefs. I propose that no matter what your religion and even if you oppose all of the religions that you observe Holy Wednesday. All we need to do to change the world is to keep Wednesday holy. 1.On that day we will fast. You will eat nothing. You go about your work or play as usual except that, unless health considerations not permit it, you eat nothing on that
day. You might drink water, coffee or tea. And just before bedtime you might take some juice so that your blood sugar does not go too low. 2.You may want to take something to help you sleep. That will help if an empty stomach keeps you awake. 3.On that day at what would be your meal times you will meditate. You will consider the plight of the millions of those children that go to bed hungry every night. You will on one day a week is at one with them. It will encourage you to take individual action that alleviates the plight of the downtrodden. 4.Do not buy groceries or anything not essential on Wednesday, that is, get their attention by freezing commerce on that day every week. 5.Do not eat in a café or restaurant on Wednesday. 6. In the evening on Wednesday take a stroll around your neighborhood. If they are interested speak to whomever that will listen about the need for us to share our wealth with the underprivileged. If reasons of health require you to eat every day do so, but donate the amount you spend on food for one day to a charity that is dedicated to feeding the poor or pay for an ad in your local paper that says only, "gerryjoesmith.com and then click on HOLY WEDNESDAY" or pay to have this web site broadcast on search engines over the internet. Eventually millions of people will read this article. You are reading this because you read such an ad, are you not? Remember over and over that all of the hungry children of the world are in your family. The food and restaurant industry will notice. Will they not notice that
business falls off on Wednesday and wonder why. If enough people keep Wednesday holy, the politicians will realize that most people really do care about the misery in the third world. By keeping Wednesday holy you vote. The politicians then will respond. In time, no child in the world will die of hunger or go to bed hungry. The primary threat to world peace is not terrorist activity by religious zealots or Communist ideology. The threat is so obvious that it is ignored. It is that many members of our family live in desperate poverty. All of the hungry children of the world are in our family. We ask ourselves why these terrorists hate us so. Are we not the city on the hill? Do we not welcome the downtrodden of the world to our shores? Are we not a beacon of liberty? Do we not send great sums to the World Bank and other organizations to build up the poorer nations? Do we not send thousands of missionaries, Peace Corps volunteers and others overseas to bring aid and comfort to individuals in need? I think we must remember that one billion Moslems do not hate us but admire and seek to emulate us. They are not responsible for the awful suffering in New York. Yes, we should seek justice, but if we are to receive justice must we not do justice? One billion Moslems sympathize with us but at the same time they stand witness to the fact that the wealthy nations of the world have garnished unto themselves at least 80 percent of the worlds wealth and resources. We leave most of the one billion Moslems in awful poverty. They have not enough to
eat. They lack basic medical care. They are ill clothed. They lack clean water and sanitation. They live in shacks. In "One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest" the character played by Jack Nicholson said that Nurse Ratchet liked to play with a stacked deck. The four-fifth of the world’s population that suffers silently in misery cannot help but see that we too play with a stacked deck. We support regimes in Central America that allow United Fruit Company to pay miserable wages so that they can sell mountains of cheap bananas at Sam`s Club. We make book with tyrants and dictatorships so that we can suck the oil away from those countries whether or not the great mass of the people in those countries enjoys a living wage. We arrange to trade our goods and services at a high price to obtain the minerals and wood products that we need. The populations of the countries that furnish us our raw materials are very often left in awful poverty. And even as we seek to find and punish those who so cruelly destroyed more than five thousand lives in New York our motives can be looked at with some degree of suspicion. It is interesting that we are launching our attack on the terrorist from Uzbekistan which along with it's neighbors sit on vast oil reserves and the easiest way to get that oil to market is via pipeline through Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our President is an oilman. Can we wonder that many will look upon our motives with suspicion? I need not cite statistics to prove the obvious. However I cannot help but remember things that I have experienced that highlight how much many in the world suffer. In Mexico
and Central America I have witnessed deplorable poverty. The image of an elderly woman in Russia clutching a fifteen cent loaf of bread as though it were the most precious thing on earth will ever remain with me. People who have lived Africa, Asia and the Philippines told me that conditions there are even more dismal. One engineer, told me of his design for an irrigation pump powered by a bicycle. It was a great improvement over hauling in buckets of water. I asked him why he did not get a grant to bring in a gasoline or electric powered pump. He told me that one well meaning young man had done just that. Unfortunately, that the pump rusted away because the villagers could not afford fuel for it and lacked the skill and means to repair it when it quit functioning. Electric power was not available. People there live in huts with dirt floors, build fires for cooking and haul in water by hand. My friends, of course, they left after a few years. But the villagers will live like that for centuries more if we do nothing meaningful to alleviate their suffering. When I was living temporarily in a convalescent hotel, I had a roommate who suffered a nervous breakdown because to the poverty that he witnessed. He was stationed in a remote village in Asia. His village had been there for more than a thousand years. They had to haul water one mile up a hill to irrigate their orchards. There was a terrible drought. People were hungry. My roommate was given enough money to buy food for himself. But he could not eat it and watch children starve. He gave his food away and lost forty pounds. Eventually he was so weakened physically and spiritually that he was brought home. I fixed him a meal just after he arrived and
he gorged on it as though he had not eaten in a long time. His family was well off. His brother and both parents were doctors. They had a hard time relating to how he felt. It is easy to understand how. We have grown used to our abundance and do not realize how bloated and almost obscene our wallowing in those goods produced by ourselves and the rest of the world. We do not see the contrast between our waste of food and goods and the awful lack of those things in many other countries. This summer I met some friends for a birthday dinner at a restaurant in a shopping mall. I got lost while looking for the restaurant and wandered around in several shops. The profusion of goods overwhelmed me. I had the sensation that there was more to buy in that mall than in all of Russia. Of course, that is not true. Even though Russia is suffering from an economic depression it is still a modern European country. But it probably is not an exaggeration to say that you can buy more mass produced items in that mall than in at least a few small third world countries. We allow 80 to 90 percent of mankind to remain shamefully undeveloped and in poverty. We make token gestures. We spend three percent of our annual budget on foreign aid. We make loans. [Much of which we know will end up in the pockets of politicians]. We send N.G.O`s, Peace Corps Volunteers and Missionaries. We start projects to help small time entrepreneurs to start little businesses. But in truth it is a drop in the bucket. This aid does not yield equity. In the long run the world
economy just will not function with such gross disparity of the consumption of the worlds resources and technology. It is not a question of politics. It is not a debate between left wing and right wing philosophies. It is simply a question of how will we survive as a people. We the human race. Are not all the hungry children in my family in your family? Is it not simply a matter of justice and fairness? Must we not do all we can to correct this injustice? Must we not do more than promote our self interest, is there not an answer more profound than spreading and promoting globalization? I have read a book entitled, The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman. He is the foreign correspondent for the New York Times. He has gone all over the world looking at the trees. That is he has concerned himself with the economic plight of individual countries. He spent years doing this. He started seeing the forest and wrote this book Basically he talks of globalization and the onslaught of the electronic herd. Electronic herd refers to the fact that trust funds, individuals, banks and large corporations can now invest quickly in and quickly withdraw funds from any country in the world because of the Internet and electronic banking and investing. A rumor can destroy the worth of the currency of a country and bring a government crashing down in a matter of hours. He points out that no country with a McDonald`s hamburger stand has been at war with another country with a McDonald`s. He describes how the Lexus plant in Japan produces 300 Lexus sedans each day. 66 human beings and 310 robots make them. He
describes the struggle in the Middle East about who owns which olive tree. He points out those olive trees, the traditions and unique culture of each country are also important. He advocates a balance between the two. He is very critical of Russia and other countries that tie too much of there net worth up in safety nets and welfare benefits. He points out that the electronic herd will not invest in such countries and as a result they become economically stunted as compared to other countries like Korea, for example. He criticizes many countries for not have a stable legal system that would enforce contracts made between themselves and between their citizens and foreign investors. He says the electronic herd favors internationally approved accounting systems, fair and open elections, full disclosure of finances by companies and government agencies at every level and most of all a system that is not protective of local industry but lets market forces guide the economy. He and the electronic herd favor no tariffs and absolutely free trade. He feels that America is the country that most epitomizes this ideal. And that as a result the United States is the greatest economic power that the world has ever seen. He does admit that perhaps the United States government does not do enough to bring the wonderful benefits of unfettered capitalism and free trade to the twenty percent of Americans who live in poverty and are ill housed, ill clothed, ill educated and lack proper medical care. He advocates job-training programs; free education and other self help solutions to this problem. But he feels that the United States must not spend too much on welfare. He feels that Sweden, France and other European countries burden
themselves with too much of a safety net for the poor. He points out that the electronic herd will favor less welfare not more. He feels foreign capital is necessary for every country`s development, progress and economic health. I have been deeply disturbed by this book because much of what he says is true. And he came to view the forest by first examining the trees. He applied the scientific method to the investigation and discovered the existence of a solution that seems to work. Friedman is right when he says that one of the things needed by all third world countries is honest government and a fair tax system that is enforceable. However much more is needed. The poverty they suffer from would be alleviated if honest and concerned government raised and spent taxes in ways that benefit the majority of people. If there were adequate funds available, they could go to improving the economy of the country. Doctors, teachers and other stateemployed professionals could be paid more. Loan programs, similar to those that help end the great depression in the United States could be instituted. Loans could be made to business both large and small. Programs to encourage quality in production could be started. Minimum standards in the production of goods for public consumption could be put in place. People would want to buy goods made at home rather than shun them as many do now. Programs to encourage modern agricultural practices could begin. Loans could be made to farmers. Many countries could become commodity exporters. The minimum wage could be raised to a level that would allow a
worker to live with dignity. And all of this might be accomplished without scrapping a welfare system that is so beneficial to most people. The roads could be improved. The railroads and other transportation systems could be modernized and made efficient. Internationally accepted accounting standards could be imposed on banks and corporations. Workable legal systems could be brought about. Banks would be regulated as they are in America. They would provide sources of working capital for businesses. Of course, pensioners and persons without a job would have to be provided for. They too, should be able to live with dignity. I think that Sweden is right and Thomas Friedman is wrong. The electronic herd would invest in a nations made economically healthy by adequate funding coupled with workable reforms with out imposing suffering upon the backs of the working people. .Of course all of this envisions and honest government where bribes are not substituted for rent payments. But if the records were all out in the open and subject to the scrutiny of a free press then corruption of the system could be kept to a minimum. I cannot but help wonder if we can really feel so smug about asking the rest of the world to emulate us. The lives of many of us is in many ways bankrupt. We, as a society, reach out for all that is shallow and trite. Money and financial success become ends in themselves. For us time is money rather than life. We give not a damn for the downtrodden. We impose the most awful working conditions on them. We ignore their cries for justice as long as there are no Watts riots to
remind us that they are still with us. But worse than that our souls are dry. We do not even know that we are stunted in that way. We have deprived ourselves of the appreciation of the awesome beauty of an olive tree. Our culture glorifies Las Vegas and a singer named Jackson who screams out that love is just an illusion. The song means nothing and neither does he. He is all show and glitter and no substance whatever. We foster this awful culture onto the rest of the world. And because we seem so prosperous they gobble it up. To me this seems an awful thing. But, hopefully it is a temporary phenomenon. Perhaps the blare of Elvis Presley will not replace Beethoven. I suppose there is room in the world for both. American Jazz certainly is a permanent and valuable addition to the culture of the world. I must be more tolerant, I suppose. Many of the impoverished nations are rich in culture and traditions that have taken centuries to develop. This history must be preserved and relished. The olive trees of these nations are worth keeping. Beautiful old temples should not be torn down to make room for McDonald`s hamburger stands But if the industrialized nations of the world do not give up their hold on the world’s resources and if they are not willing to share their wealth with the poorer countries then no amount of reform can stop the awful threat to us that will be dictated if we leave four-fifths of the worlds population in abject poverty. We must raise their standard of living. And this cannot be accomplished if we do not lower ours, at least temporarily.
We must allow others to come live with us even if it means that they will drive down wages here. The industrial nations must cease playing with a stacked deck. We should pay more not less for oil and other natural resources. We should make less profit. We should do everything that we can to build up the economies of the third world. A much larger percentage of our budget must go to foreign aid and international development. We must increase direct aid to individuals and groups of people within the impoverished nations by a thousand fold. Our world is in trouble. We could be at the edge of a disaster soon. A major crop failure at the same time say in the United States, Canada and Argentina could precipitate world starvation. Civilization as we know it could fall. We were confronted with the awful prospects of the fall of Europe into chaos at the end of World War II. We could and did afford to spend billions to bring economic health to that part of the world. We knew that we had to. And now those nations the other industrial nations and we have an opportunity to save the economically deprived peoples of the world from falling into an abyss that will destroy them and in time destroy us as well. Would it not be advisable for the industrial nations to create a political entity, organized in a way similar to the way that NATO is, so that a way could be found to bring equity in the distribution of the world’s wealth and resources? Should our government not have a Secretary of Wealth and Resource Distribution to cooperate with this organization in doing just that?
It is far beyond the scope of this article for me to write a blueprint as to just how to reorganize the world’s means of production and to distribute the earth’s resources that belong to all the people on our planet. This result will not take place without a great deal of debate and disagreement. Many will argue that overpopulation because of religious beliefs and practices or corrupt governments are the cause of the poverty in this or that country. A way must and will be found to overcome these difficulties. It can be found. But, in truth, the fundamental cause of poverty in much of the world is due to the fact that large companies and state organizations in the more developed countries manipulate markets and play with stacked decks so that the wealthier nations accrue for their own benefit more goods and services than is fair or reasonable. Those that control the economies of the industrial nations have the ability to find a way to help the poorer nations develop. Our task is to motivate them to do so. Perhaps there is a tactic that would help in the effort. If the boycott movement ever got strong enough to bring the rich people that own and control these all powerful corporations to the bargaining table, representatives of the movement can insist that they instruct the corporate officers and politicians that they control to bring pressure to have all the industrial nations enter into treaties that would impose on all rich nations a ten percent tariff on all of the oil, minerals, produce, products of cheap labor and other imports created by exploitive schemes. This tariff would be then deposited with an agency of the United Nations who would then distribute through its bureaucracy these proceeds directly to the people of the downtrodden nations. A way must be found to bypass the politicians that were installed by the rich in order to upgrade the infrastructure of these countries and the well being of their populations.
As well, by treaty we could end all agricultural subsidies to farmers in the rich nations so that farmers in the poor countries could compete in the world market. Much of world hunger would be reduced by thus encouraging farmers in the impoverished wold to make money so that they could support their families. If boycott with vigor and if the wealthy and powerful go to their shopping centers on Wednesday and see no cars in the parking lots, if they go out to dinner and find the restaurants empty, if they are alone at the movies and places of entertainment, if the New York Yankees play to an empty house, if it is easy to get a lane at a bowling alley and, if you do not have to get a tee time at a golf course our government will yield to the popular will and implement policies that will raise the standard of living of all the peoples of the world and end hunger forever. This is a small planet. We have all inherited its wonders, beauty and wealth equally. We should not be greedy and hog more than our share of it’s riches by clever political and economic manipulations. There are enough resources to furnish a decent living wage and a good standard of living for all of us. If we ate one-seventh less food their would be that much more food for the hungry. And there would be other side benefits. Those of us who are overweight would gradually lower our set point so that we would weigh less, be healthier, live longer and be more content and happy. I have observed Holy Wednesday for more than a year and I recommend it to you. As a holy man once said, "As you do unto these, do ye also unto me". And I would add, "Besides that it will be good for you and for your nation". President Putin stood next to the Orthodox Archbishop at the celebration of Victory day in Russia. President Bush attends prayer breakfasts. Faith in a "Higher Power" sustains AA members. Allah, Christ, Buddha and Jehovah are worshipped and honored in all of the nations of the world. Religious belief or collective spirituality seems universal. I believe that
it is inevitable that one hundred years from now or fifty thousand years from now if our species survives that long, spiritualism of some sort will be part of our lives. Man’s inclination to things mystic and spiritual could help in the struggle. Our religious houses could become champions of this movement. Either inside our outside organized religions this holy day could be fostered. This day could come to be observed by many in their present places of worship. And even for some reason this is not practical, so long as the practices were not conflict with a parishioner’s present belief, many might participate in the development of ceremonies and rituals that would help sustain "Holy Wednesday" outside the portals of their churches. Poetry and songs could be written to support the idea of celebrating this sacred day and the love of humanity that is behind it. The keeping of Wednesday holy could motivate the politicians and leaders to implement those policies that could cause the wealth of all the nations to be distributed equitably. We could be bearers of justice and there truly could be no reason for anyone to hate us. I predict that in time all of this will come to pass. Comments or suggestions about how to promote HOLY WEDNESDAY can be sent to email@example.com THIS ARTICLE IS NOT COPYRIGHTED. ANY PART OF IT OR ALL OF IT MAY BE COPIED AND PUBLISHED WITHOUT PAYING A FEE.
posted by Gerry Joe Smith | 6:43 PM
JUNE 11, 2004 SHAMELESS,CRUEL AND GREEDY We are in the grasp of cruel and greedy women and men, They own the giant corporations throughout America, An in every country throughout the world without end. Governments of industrial nations to their will bend, So that they may rape and plunder the undeveloped, And the bounty to the rich nations then shamelessly send. This thing I know, all of the children, that must go hungry; All that are ignorant, are sick and must drink foul water; All of the downtrodden in the world are related to me. In Nigeria and Indonesia men toil day long, They barely survive on the dollar a day that they earn. They grovel in huts, ignorance and bad health, Oh! That’s wrong. In the Philippines, Central America, Vietnam, and Africa; Energy, transportation, clean water and sanitation, Are inadequate and so it is in South America. We have a duty to protect those that are so helpless, Some say it comes from God; some from natural evolution. Honor requires we heed that duty no matter its source. If we can not tear away these tentacles of greed, From the throats of our children in our family, Then we will all strangle because they are in such need. Think not that their suffering next door to us will long abide. Three-fourths hungry and one-fourth infected with consumerism, Will collapse economies and order on every side.
Fast on Wednesday. Say to those in power Share all our wealth, With all our kin. On that holy day, know pain and suffer. Share the pangs of hunger of children; so that all know health.
posted by Gerry Joe Smith | 4:22 PM
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?