The plight of global citizens
We are all citizens of the same planet, a planet of diversity, a planet of different peoples and of different cultures, beliefs and convictions. My conviction, however, is that we are all global citizens and, therefore, we all have global responsibilities.
People of different faiths practise some form or other of spiritual reflection on life or indulge in some form of self deprivation. In the Christian faith it is called Lent and in the Islamic faith it is Ramadan. This is a period during which one looks deep inside one’s soul. It is also a time of preparation to be reborn within, to live a better life even. At the end of this period of reflection, Christians celebrate Easter, Muslims the Eid and the Buddhist monks have Khao Phunsa. Different cultures, different beliefs but one singular intention. This is what makes us all global citizens.
We should really be looking at our lives as global citizens and consider our responsibilities towards fellow global citizens. For most of the western world going hungry happens once a year in celebration of their faith and out of their own volition as a celebration of life. But for hundreds of millions of unfortunate global citizens, it is merely another day of mandatory suffering, misery and deprivation until death.
My point is that, as global citizens, we should be ensuring that our global responsibilities come to bear on our lives, on our representatives, on our institutions, on our politicians and, yes, even on our political parties, whichever they may be.
We must realise that it is time to pay the piper. Therefore, I ask: What are you going to do about it? Also ask yourselves: How am I going to make a difference that will make the world a better place for the less fortunate?
This is not about faith. It is not about politics. It is about life, about responsibility and compassion towards fellow global citizens.
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger is the first aim within the Millennium Development Goals that governments around the globe have committed themselves to achieve. So ask your leaders what they have done on your behalf to achieve this basic human right.
You should also ask whether your leaders will live up to the commitments that they have made to the world on your behalf.
If you are not satisfied with your leaders’ performance, then do something about it now. Let us save lives and offer hope to the less fortunate because notwithstanding the fact that fellow citizens were born in deprived and depressed areas they should not be condemned to a life of misery where their only surety is death by hunger.
The number of hungry people in the world remains unacceptably high despite some recent improvements that have pushed the figure below the one billion mark. The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimated that the number of people who suffered from chronic hunger stood at 925 million in 2010.
The FAO focuses on poverty and hunger reduction through: improving agricultural productivity and incomes and promoting better nutritional practices at all levels and programmes that enhance direct and immediate access to food by the neediest.
The FAO helps developing countries to improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, to sustainably manage forest, fisheries and natural resources and ensure good nutrition for all.
It promotes greater investment in agriculture and rural development and has assisted governments to establish national programmes for food security aimed at smallholder farmers.
In emergency response and rehabilitation efforts, the FAO’s expertise in farming, livestock, fisheries and forestry is crucial. It works quickly to restore agricultural production, strengthen the survival strategies of those affected and enable people to reduce their dependence on food aid.
The FAO also plays a crucial role in prevention, preparedness and early warning.
Knowing the above, what do you plan to do about it? What are we going to do about it? Are you satisfied with knowing that one billion global citizens are suffering from chronic hunger? That one billion global citizens wake up each day to no breakfast, face the excruciating pangs of hunger for lunch and look forward to the misery of no supper, each and every day? Are you satisfied with that?
I am not and I refuse to allow politicians to shed our global responsibility and claim progress on our behalf. If you share this sentiment and belief, let us together present a united force to confront our leaders with regard to their indifference and inaction.
Let us all make a personal and collective commitment by taking an oath – hand on heart – that we shall no longer sit back and shed responsibility, through indifference, by allowing global citizens to die unnecessarily. Together, we can make the difference and we must promise to make that difference happen and make it happen now.
If you are ready to start making that difference, join this initiative and start making the difference now by writing to: [email protected] to enrol.
The author is opposition spokesman for Maltese communities abroad and international development aid.