Wednesday, 5 November 2008

So Big and Yet So Small

In these complacent and apathetic times, anyone who has the gift to give hope to millions of people and make them want to stand up and be counted deserves to win the role of leader of the free world.
I'm not sure about "deserves": being the leader of the free world sounds like a pretty fraught position. Especially after 8 years of appalling incompetence and willfullness. Not sure I would wish it on my worse enemy, let alone on someone worthwhile. But there you are. Something historic happened in America last night. In one fell swoop, the country has shown a desire to atone for its past (and more recent) sins - and a desire for a brighter future. I wish him, and his country, well.

But for all this hope and talk of history being made in America, desolation and horror still dominate in other parts of the world. I was watching a segment on television yesterday, showing a hospital ward in India, for children suffering from severe malnutrition brought on by poverty and the rising food prices. A 3 year old little girl who was so tiny that she looked half her age. A little child on a respirator (he wasn't strong enough to breathe on his own) and high vitamin drip who stared unblinking at the presenter and then grabbed her finger in his little fist and squeezed it tight. And another one whose mother explained that her husband was a rickshaw driver who earned the equivalent of £1.20 a day which wasn't enough to feed her family of four. Most of the children will go home once their health improves, but will most likely end up back on the ward as their diet at home takes its toll again. Imagine growing up eating only rice and milk. No iron, no meat. Imagine having your growth stunted for life. Where's the hope in that? Where's the atonement?

I wish President Elect Barack Obama every success, because my future and the future of many others on the planet depend on it.

Just for today, can we dream, can we hope for a brighter future?

Yes we can.

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