Jubilee Debt Campaign Birmingham

Archive for May 2011

Over the years  we have often asked for students and visitors from “the south “ and in particular those  from indebted countries to come to our meeting and talk about  their own country.

At our last meeting on May 18th Moses who is from Fiji came and listened to some very passionate exchanges by local campaigners.

Here he shares his view from the back row of our meeting.

“Its really promising that support exists in both Houses of Parliament on the need to attack toxic debt. Thanks to work already done by London staff and local JDC members.

What bugs me however is the way ECGD works.  I don’t know what the bill’s intention but if it does not ensure the change that ECGD needs to stop the creation of unnecessary debt, we may miss desired outcome of our campaign.

Some projects that ECGD underwrite are basically hazardous to the environment and are damaging s to human rights So UK’s rhetoric on the environment and rights of people especially the poor is rather shallow and does not really measure to what the country does in practice.

Campaigners may widely understand and agree that the past practice of allowing UK business/multi-nationals to pursue projects in developing countries with extensive ECGD cover is dangerous. Yes it is when not reviewed and effectively scrutinised.

Transparency and accountability of ECGD decision-making should be demanded if a sustainable impact on UK’s toxic debt dilemma is achieved.

Is the ECGD obliged to consider ethical issues of humans and the environment when underwriting projects?

Does it have any influence over the kind of projects that UK companies sign before they are under-taken?

Who scrutinizes this and is it effectively monitored?

I may be ignorant here but I sense that overhauling the system that creates toxic debt in the first place is as important as writing them off. Always best to attack the root cause and support in the House of Lords and House of Commons must be exploited for this. Simply, its time to bring the ECGD and the Business Secretary under the ethical lens”

Moses

Lots of new readers enjoyed the recent comments of David Golding. Here are a few more quotes from one of David sermon’s to inspire your activism.

“Pope Benedict says that rich countries actually correspond to the thieves in the Good Samaritans story, who attacked the man and left him close to death.

Poor countries lose far more on account of manifestly unfair trade rules than they receive in aid;

And they lose far more from tax fiddles by Western companies than they receive in aid;

And they lose far more in repayment of inherited debts than they receive in aid!”

 Desmond Tutu has rightly warned of a looming

“catastrophe that will exacerbate human suffering to a magnitude that perhaps the world has not yet seen.”

 Wilberforce told the House of Commons in his first great speech on the slave trade,

“We can no longer plead ignorance

We now stand in peril – all of us – of being complicit in a crime against humanity which makes the slave trade look like petty theft, with effects that make the miseries inflicted by the Pol Pots and Mugabe’s pale into insignificance.

 Bono’s – strangely beautiful but terrible words:

 “God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house…

God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives…

God is in the cries under the rubble of war…

God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives.”

 Conservative Peer, Lord Brian Griffiths, who was Head of Margaret Thatcher’s Policy Unit

 “Global poverty as we see it today – the billion plus people who live on less that a dollar a day – is totally unacceptable to any practising Christian”.

 William Carey,

“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God”.

 A solemn but glorious charge to you all, from Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

 “The poor stand up to fight for justice and win, and they lose what they have gained. They have to shuffle back to beg for work and their children sell their bodies to keep body and soul together – ha, keep body and soul together!

“And the world still seems the same. The rich are richer and the poor get poorer and more exploited and more voiceless.

“No, the world is not the same. You are God’s fellow worker, to be an agent of transformation, to change the ugliness, the poverty, the hunger, the hatred, everything degraded. To transform all into their glorious counterparts.”

May God grant that we will all achieve that supreme status, of being God’s fellow workers – God’s fellow workers in his kingdom.”

David Golding


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