Who Will Save Us Now?*

Today sees the end of a four year term as UN Commissioner for Human Rights for Louise Arbour.[1] She stated, as far back as March, that she would not seek a second term.

It’s doubtful her retirement will be noticed, or remarked upon, by the world in general. That will be a pity for she has attempted some remarkable work against overwhelming odds. Indeed, those who note her leaving will likely be the governments of nations who have battled with her over their own human rights records. The Israeli Knesset will undoubtedly breathe a sigh of relief, given the criticism she leveled at Israel for its human rights violations against the Palestinians, a criticism that also brought her a severe backlash from the US government – unsurprisingly. (NOTE: see the latest Israeli atrocity HERE).

Unsurprisingly, because Louise Arbour noted the the deterioration of human rights under George W Bush’s administration; the erosion of freedoms in the USA; torture and cruelty in Iraq; the malignancy of ‘secret prisons’, captivity without trial, and the horrors of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.[2]

Louise Arbour admitted she had a thankless job. The rest of the world always looked to the one great superpower for guidance, and has watched over the last six years as it metamorphosed into a monster. Once recognized as a force for peace and stability, by its more recent example America has opened the floodgates of inhumanity to every petty tyrant enjoying a standard of luxury earned by the sweat and suffering of ordinary people.

George W Bush would have us believe our enemy is terrorism. In fact, the true enemies of humanity everywhere are those who manipulate and scheme to further impoverish working people, in order to increase their own already substantial wealth and power.

With the further encroachment of global warming and its attendant disastrous consequences on the human race, the present policies of world governments, cleverly designed to suck wealth up from the lower and middle classes to the upper echelons of corporate society, will create a backlash that may well see the war on terror downgraded to a minor skirmish by comparison.

Despite the lies of politicians, the rights of ordinary people have been severely curtailed over the last decade. In many parts of the world, the greed of a relative few has determined the suffering and poverty of many. One irrefutable example is the artificial inflation of oil prices. Another is the commandeering of food-producing land for so-called ‘biofuel’ production, using the blatantly false excuse of a ‘greener fuel’ as justification for the inevitable starvation of millions throughout the third world, so a few can reap untold riches in profit.

Do these corporate tycoons seriously believe millions are going to conveniently lie down and die without protest?

Their doctrine is a simple one: make a fortune by pushing up the price of food and energy until a third of the world can’t afford to live. When large enough numbers finally die, there’ll then be enough food to go round and the price will eventually fall back. By that time the tycoons will have filled their coffers.

Except, there’s one other factor to take into account.

By doing nothing for twenty years to avert global warming, we’ve reached beyond the point of no return – the Earth has passed its tipping point.[3] It’s too late to reverse the process. Are politicians and corporate bosses so stupid as not to realize this? I doubt it. More likely they’re pushing everything into reaping the biggest financial harvest possible before civilization begins to disintegrate, so they and theirs can ride out the bad times in relative comfort while the rest of humanity collapses in a meltdown of wars, slaughter, and mayhem that will likely make Mad Max look like a 21st century Mother Theresa.

In times of trouble the human species has consistently looked to its leaders for assistance and solutions. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans the whole world witnessed a policy by the American government that could be labeled ethnic-cleansing, one that dispersed throughout America most of the poor, black, population of a city now being rebuilt for the benefit of a much wealthier populace.

Is it unrealistic to consider what happened in New Orleans the model for a far greater catastrophe? Some may consider it is. Many will find the very idea unacceptable; after all, how can the human race with all its great technologies, ever succumb to a descent into chaos?

Few, though, could argue that we are firmly on that road. How many can honestly say, after witnessing the fiasco of New Orleans, that despite all the strong words and fancy speeches of the politicians, there was ever a hint of genuine concern evident from those who hold the reins of power in America, for the poor, mainly black, population devastated by the flooding of the Lower Ninth Ward and similar areas?

Civilization is presently facing probably its greatest challenge in human history. Our leaders and politicians are doing nothing to help us face that challenge. Instead, they seem hell-bent on leaping into the lifeboats and leaving the rest of us stranded on a sinking ship.

Most people seem to be hoping it may all just go away; gas and food prices will return to normality and some superhero US scientist will develop a sure-fire way to reverse Earth’s climate change in the nick of time. Were we all taking part in some mammoth Hollywood production, that would likely happen. Sadly, this is reality. If you doubt reality won’t surprise us with a happy ending, just ask any ex-resident of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. Not too many are living ‘happily ever after’.

Louise Arbour has relinquished her role as the UN’s Commissioner for Human Rights. She knew she couldn’t win, that she was on a hiding to nothing. They wanted her as a puppet, and she wasn’t prepared to bow to their whims.

It will take probably twelve months to fill the position, but it doesn’t matter. The next commissioner will be conveniently shackled, even more so than was Louise Arbour.

* “Who Will Save Us Now” by Straylight Run

[1] “Canadian Arbour leaves UN rights chief role”, CBC, June 30th 2008

[2] ” Annan Defends U.N. Official Who Chided U.S.” NYT, December 9th 2005

[3] “….Emissions already beyond ‘worst-case’ scenario” Int. Herald Tribune, Oct 9th 2007

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3 Replies to “Who Will Save Us Now?*”

  1. If greed were designated as a psychiatric illness and treated appropriately, there might be a chance for humanity…but as the psychiatrists charge over $150 an hour, what chance is there that they would recognize and treat their own disease?

    Blackwater will guard all the richies in their compounds as we all scramble for something to eat. “May you live in interesting times” is a Chinese curse.

  2. Yes, RJA, you say it all and so well. Arbour was a voice in the wilderness. We are way beyond tipping point and it’s beginning to look like we have to all fend for ourselves, I’ve made a bit of a start here.

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