This blog was inspired with the Goudou Goudou, Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. As a scholar and activist who has lived all over the world, I am quite aware that “natural disasters” are rarely “natural”, but rather they are almost always a human rights issue. Some people on this planet, like myself, were fortunate enough to be born in economies and countries which have enabled us to eat, gain education and live lives enormously blessed by the fortunes of health, stable governments, enforced building codes and somewhat solid economies. These factors have afforded ourselves and many of our loved ones the ability to live day to day. Many of us, however, are out of touch with the rest of world as many think that an internet or cable television malfunction is a “crisis”. This blog is an attempt to open up dialogue and engage necessary critique about the pretenses of wealth and its inflections upon poverty. Those of us who are fortunate enough to eat meals three times a day are a minority of the earth’s population and because of the fortunes we have, I feel it is our obligation to scrutinize more carefully our actions that can and do participate to poverty and other forms of social injustice.
In most parts of the world people die from preventable diseases and pay more for medical care per GDP with most humans having no access to basic healthcare. Most people must think of how to bring water from point X to their homes and certain members of communities spend days walking up and down mountains in search of water, carrying buckets of water kilometers home. Most people in the world cannot afford the luxury of dreaming of their futures, studies,careers and families. And none of these factors are due to anything that is human and just, nothing that is “natural”. Poverty is not a “natural state”, it is human-made. This blog attempts to tell the stories of underdevelopment which are often perceived in the West as a result of corruption, mismanagement and varying forms of government. While these factors can and do play a role in underdevelopment, in developing countries poverty is the direct result of economies crippled by richer nations’ usurpation of their local and national autonomy and these richer nations’ control of international organizations which focus upon capital and the control of certain types of political and economic policies which they actively structure to keep certain people poor and others quite rich.
It is my goal with this blog to provoke dialogue and more importantly to bring about social change. Voting in the occasional election simply does not constitute participation in civil society—we need to do much more. It is my belief that we all need to be activists in our local and international communities through direct personal actions and changes we embrace in our quotidian lives and likewise in changes on the international plateau that we propose and support by communicating and advocating directly with our politicians and organizations worldwide. Since returning from Haiti I have decided to keep Oneworld active as a blog of political, social and cultural consciousness in the hopes that this genre of more journalistic writing will inspire others to take part in changing this world in the best way they know how.