Where is the international community?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Because of its importance and relevance, I replicate below some paragraphs of the "Tribune" published by Prof. Juan Antonio Carrillo Salcedo in the Journal of Seville, on March 4, 2000. One of the most urgent tasks we have right now, urged by the possibility of reaching points of no return, is to listen now and implement the warnings so lucidly and anticipated outlined by these tower-watch persons, these lighthouse persons of which Prof. Carrillo Salcedo is, undoubtedly, one of the greatest exponents.

In the opening sentences, before the title itself, he writes: "Rich countries do not help Mozambique. If we do not wake up, no one will be saved. If suffering would remain reserved for the poor, nobody will give credence to the values that rich world say to sustain and go down in history as an example of moral cynicism and political myopia.

... Today in Mozambique, yesterday in Central America or the Philippines, a disaster causes death and desolation, hundreds of thousands of people displaced... Images of the crucified peoples of our time, that touch and encourage us to mourn their tragedy, give help by an income on a current account of Red Cross or some humanitarian NGO, and finally at the end to forget them. Until the next humanitarian tragedy repeats the cycle...

... The poor always suffer most, and natural or political disasters show their scarcities and structural problems more intensively. And to get out of this situation,  they depend on their own efforts and support... that should and could receive from the international community. But, where is the international community? Immense resources, including planes, helicopters were mobilised on behalf of the international community... for a war, such as the Gulf or more recently of Kosovo. Now, in Mozambique, the resources mobilized are limited, as if the powerful only had power to make war but were powerless to face a humanitarian catastrophe.

The people of Mozambique has suffered civil war and now the destructive effect of cyclones and floods... Like others of their condition, it seems to be there to witness the fate of the poor: suffer and, at most, receive spontaneous and insufficient support from people of good will, as well as and some aid granted by governments.

It is necessary that the international community no longer be a concept used by the powerful rhetorically when they want to legitimize their use of force, and becomes a reality that expresses a more caring and just world. A world in which the UN had the means to cope with humanitarian emergencies, whether they are due to nature as if they have other causes...

Commiseration and charity are healthy and positive, but not enough and we should ask ourselves how we could deal with these situations more effectively and with more integrity. Would it be utopian to propose that the Member States of the United Nations, including Spain, put permanently available the financial and material resources of the Organization so that the UN could act promptly and effectively in humanitarian emergencies, whatever its cause, in which the lives of millions of human beings are endangered? Would it be utopian to propose that developed countries, including Spain, were aware that poverty is the greatest challenge, forgive the external debt of the poorest countries, devote 0.7% of their GDP to official development aid and open their markets to commodities and manufactured products of developing countries?

 Many will say this is impossible and a dream.

But if we do not wake, no one will be saved ... ".

It is now convenient to repeat, 16 years later, the concern and advice of Prof. Carrillo. A radical change is urgent. We cannot remain being only a monetary union in Europe. We cannot continue without putting into practice our human duties with refugees and migrants. We cannot allow that xenophobic and fanatic outbreaks are not placed immediately outside the law. We cannot continue leaving to future generations a legacy of a planet with a deteriorated habitability.

Reading the proposal of Prof. Carrillo Salcedo, global emergency situation should lead us to convene an extraordinary session of the United Nations General Assembly, in which global civil and regional institutions will participate to duly face the potentially irreversible processes: environmental, extreme poverty, nuclear threat. Devoting part of the enormous flows engaged in "military security" to "human" security. The International Peace Bureau has launched the campaign on “Disarmament for Development”..., which will end on September 30 in Berlin.

Wise warnings and initiatives like today, after 16 years, we repeat, could solve at least the most urgent problems of humanity. Hopefully the "political myopia" and "moral cynicism" will not be now, overwhelmed by fear, the prevailing factors and, with resolve and strength,  urged by the circumstances, “We, the peoples” will be able to react effectively.