Home > Kev's Blog > 4-Nov-2013 Talking ’bout a revolution

4-Nov-2013 Talking ’bout a revolution

Monday 4 November 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

I saw an interesting video yesterday from the UK interviewing Russell Brand. It’s only 10mins so well worth watching. He was talking about the need for the current political system to change as it’s just not working ie greater wage inequity, just for starters. I actually read about the interview a few days back: In calling for revolution, this half-messiah has hit a nerve

Brand was challenged by host Jeremy Paxman – you want a revolution to overthrow elected governments, but what sort of government would you replace it with? ”I don’t know,” replied Brand, grinning like a wildcat. ”But I’ll tell you what it shouldn’t do. It shouldn’t destroy the planet, it shouldn’t create massive political disparity, it shouldn’t ignore the needs of the people.”

The burden of proof is not with him, he argued. It is with those with power.

The article ends with:

Be that as it may, I suspect Russell Brand is somehow speaking to the future.

Which of course is dead right: we shouldn’t destroy the planet, we shouldn’t create massive political disparity, we shouldn’t ignore the needs of the people.

I am not really political but sometimes we need to boil it down to it’s essence.

What has this got to do with us here in Australia ? well this was in the papers today and it makes me boil with rage : The lucky country? Try selfish and deluded, too – Cutting $4.5b from our foreign aid budget suggests we’re happy to live in a world of obscene disparities.

We think of ourselves as a generous people and many Australians are. But it’s a form of national psychosis when a rich, secure nation unblinkingly spends more on killing people than helping them.
In Afghanistan, our military spending has outweighed development aid by about seven to one. Now, after a deadly 12-year exercise in military hubris, Australia is withdrawing aid along with our troops. The overall aid budget will fall to 0.33 per cent of gross domestic product and the defence budget will rise to 2 per cent, in an increase 10 times as big as the aid cut.
This is an idea of security that erects defensive walls, Fortress Australia, rather than building bridges that defuse the triggers for conflict and hostility – poverty and extreme inequity. Helping others is not pure altruism if we make friends of people who might otherwise be resentful enemies.
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So how do super-fortunate people like us get so mean-spirited that we resent our money going into aid? When did ”charity” get a bad name?
It seems we can live with a world of obscene disparities, as long as we imagine our lives, careers and successes are all our own work. If others struggle, that’s their fault, their own mistakes, or lack of skills or work ethic.
We are kidding ourselves. I have never seen prosperous Australians work as long and hard as I have seen Africans toil just to survive. People living in rural Africa struggle for everything we take for granted. Fetching water and firewood can involve a long walk every day. Our essential services – running water, sanitation, power and healthcare – are unattainable luxuries.
Villagers get up before dawn and work until dark even when they are ill, which is often. Millions of Africans have to be resourceful (they make fine floors of polished dung), brave and resilient to survive in mud huts housing families with no visible means of support, save for some meagre crops and livestock if they’re lucky.

And so it goes…. all so sad.

Addendums:

  1. Fiona Horn
    Monday 4 November 2013 at 19:49

    Well said Kevin…I sometimes despair for humanity because of this “I’m all right Jack” mentality. Truly the only sign of a civilised society is where it looks after those who are in some way disadvantaged.

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