A reflection on the Millennium Development Goals by Joseph Donnelly
What do you do when you lose everything?
What do you do when you lose everything all at once, in a flash, a nano-second?
What do you do?
Questions come to mind in all kinds of ways and places – for us, for me. Just happened this afternoon in NY in the sunny shadows of the UN General Assembly as summer blooms here. Large chunk of afternoon research, reflection, checking notes, updates with colleagues, calls with diplomats. Tied it all together into an MDG UPDATE as the first-half of 2010 has passed us now.
Suddenly – it was gone, totally vanished, no longer an option.
I can start again, as I am attempting right now, but it’s not the same.
Notes already torn up, fresh details merging now with other thoughts, distracted.
Easy enough to pull together some quotes, some statistics, etc.
But that’s not the point – right? Was attempting to update the initiatives, the inspirations, the URGENCIES. Truly – what can we do to save lives now?
Half the year is gone. UN General Assembly Civil Society Hearings have come and gone, followed by the G8 and the G20 in Toronto, followed by EcoSoc Sessions in NY. How many trees, recycled or otherwise, gone in the processing, printing, preparing. How many ears hearing, minds listening – or not? For ten years this multiplication process has peaked and ebbed, peaked and ebbed. For many it’s too little too late; for other expectations/targets – too high or too low?
Meanwhile as ever – vulnerabilities from families and communities multiply simultaneously. Romania, Poland, Hungary, Bangladesh, Brazil – more floods and loss on top of lost lives again. Kashmir border fights; in Kyrgyzstan Uzbeks dead, raped, killed – gone in a moment, gone. DR Congo celebrates its 50th anniversary of liberation while millions have been lost.
More experts go to South Sudan to facilitate police training to prevent further lost lives. Daily intimidations and violence in parts of Iraq steal lives, destroy hopes, threaten peace. We could run away from it all, lose hope, courage needed to sustain compassion and solidarity.
We can’t! We won’t! We want to keep walking with our sisters and brothers. They are us! We are them! If we are human at all – if we are human enough. Haitians hover about to lose no more; Gazans go round and round recovering again. Ever watched a mere child collect twigs for firewood on an African roadside losing as he gains?
Resilience within human beings around the globe is astonishing, amazing, awesome to behold.
What consistently can and does transform extreme poverty injustices in tiny ways are people. It’s not the global block which renews, it’s the human heartbeat which sees the other person.
From senior to junior bureaucrats, from Parliaments to Congresses, from 192 Member States to G8 or G20, we want leaders and experts, businesses and bureaucrats, to break down the walls of separation. We must keep clamoring like incessant bell-ringers on street corners to give strong voices, bold challenges.
People are starving, people are hungry, people are poor, people are dying all over a fragile world. Answers needed are tied to resources, power, control, finance, greed, indifference and isolation Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is useless without fundamental absolute (R4P!) respect for people. That’s our bottom line: it’s a matter of life and death now.
As the MDG2010Summit looms large in the next 80 plus days, we can’t vacate our consciences. Throughout July we can take time to bother our neighbors, our governments, our communities. Whatever summer plans we have take along the challenge: NO EXCUSES 2015 ~ STAND UP ! ACT NOW!
Ask others the honest questions: What can we do to ensure that lives are saved, that children live longer?
Think about exploited, lost resources knowing what differences could be made without impunity for criminals. Take some long looks into this season – welcome more of humanity into our next thoughts, messages, blogs. BE BOLD! Share Truths as you know them – as they echo the common good. And -don’t apologize!