Over one billion children now live in the world’s cities. Many of these do not enjoy the benefits of schooling or healthcare and instead are born into endemic cycles of poverty, harsh living conditions, violence and slums at best or homelessness, at the worst. The latest report from UNICEF, to be released on Tuesday, will focus on the situation of tomorrow’s citizens and will analyse what sort of world we have created for them.
Let us be judged not by what we inherited, but by what we bequeath. And what do we bequeath? An international community of nations ruled by fear of commercial terrorism practised by a clique of former imperialist and colonialist powers which, having grown fat on the back of the Holocaust they practised for centuries – slavery – today continue to divide and rule by arming terrorists to commit massacres. Then when the government forces of the victim state react, they are derided as murderers, in go the cameras to paediatric units in hospitals to try to get a shot of a screaming kid “hit by shrapnel”, having made sure the sign “vaccinations unit” is off camera and without asking any questions as to who or what perpetrated the act anyway.
We were born into a world where common decency and the sense of what was right or wrong governed not only what we did, but also the way we thought and planned. Our generations allowed a clique of elitists, representatives of the invisible lobbies which dictate their business interests and world policy – the lobbies which gravitate around the White House and close ranks behind (or else snarl ominously around) the latest President – to virtually destroy international law and to allow the few to manipulate it, applying what fragments of it they choose over the many.
Our generations have created political systems which are far from democratic – how can a system which allows a single person or political party with a minority of votes, implementing policies over the majority who did not vote for them, be called a “democracy”? Our generations have lost practically all the labour rights won through centuries of hardship and by the efforts of selfless heroes who gave up their lives so that we could benefit and we were not able, collectively, to defend them.
It suffices the word “crisis” for employers and governments to implement draconian measures, sweeping away guarantees and accumulated rights such as laws governing working hours, regulations governing overtime and the rights governing cases of redundancy and dismissal. Respect for the job has been replaced by fear of losing it, as the “system” works carefully into place control freaks with no personal life to glower at the employee who dares to clock out at the contracted hour.
So it comes as no surprise to learn from tomorrow’s UNICEF report “The State of the World’s Children 2012” that in an increasingly urbanised world, values are being lost, the focus on children’s rights is being lost, there is an increasing number of children living on the streets and born into harsh conditions where they fall victims to homelessness, exploitative labour and gang violence.
This is what we bequeath. What a great job our generations have done.