Pass the Latte..

..and cookies over here ol chap.
A leading Indian activist at the World Urban Forum in Vancouver has lashed out at such conferences, saying they do little to better the lives of the poor. Former slum-dweller Jockin Arputham criticised the forum's location and delegates who he said were more keen on writing reports than ending poverty.

Thousands of experts, politicians and activists are meeting to discuss the world's growing urban problems. Organisers say the forum is a way of exchanging ideas and raising awareness.

"We are very, very critical about this kind of conference," said Mr Arputham, president of India's National Slum Dwellers Federation. "The amount of time and money spent on this World Urban Forum - how many consultants have been employed for carrying out this kind of conference?"

He said international gatherings like the Vancouver meeting should be held in cities like Mumbai or Cairo, among the urban poor whose problems are being debated.
Who was the commentator that said the UN should be moved from New York and be established as a temporary base in each of the world conflict areas; there the delegates and diplomats will languish with the rest of the poor bastards and can only leave when the problems are fixed. They then move to the next conflict area and so on.

While we are on the subject of ineffective International Organisations.
The international community has endorsed an EU plan to distribute emergency cash to the Palestinian people to pay for their healthcare, fuel and aid to the poor, while by-passing the Hamas-led government.

The temporary mechanism was hammered out by EU leaders at a summit on Friday (16 June) and approved by the other members of the so called Quartet - the US, UN and Russia - on Saturday.

The cut off in foreign aid combined with Israel's blocking of Palestinian exports as well as tax repayments returning to the territories has brought about harsh consequences for ordinary Palestinians.
Perhaps I am mistaken, but I thought the Hamas-led government was elected by ordinary Palestinians. Last I checked we don’t vote in governments to sing songs and waffle around, but to run the country or state, you know things like healthcare, security, the economy.

The price for the power of democracy is bearing the consequences of that power, the people ultimately pay for the decisions of the governments they vote in. If the people vote for fools, or in this case terrorists, then the people must suffer the consequences of their decisions. How will the Palestinians learn when the world community refuses to teach them a lesson, so come the next round of elections, don’t worry about a thing, you can vote for any corrupt or mass murdering bunch of scumbags and its ok, you’ll still get money to live.

If this carries on, in the next 40 years they will still be squealing for aid, the fence will still be around, the Apache gunships will still prowl the skies and the world will still be dipping into their pockets because we are unable to make the hard decisions.

Perhaps the thousands of experts, politicians and activists gathered in air-conditioned halls, sipping on fine wines and nibbling chocolates, can take a break from their flow charts, pie charts, spending forecasts and aid projections to learn from these folk.
In Senegal's semi-desert region of Diourbel, 120km from the capital, Dakar, lies a vibrant Muslim community that has bucked the trend of rural decline to export fashionable clothing.

Ndem's inhabitants are all followers of the Baay Fall faith, one of the Islamic brotherhoods of Senegal, who believe that hard work, not prayer or fasting, is a form of devotion. All around this small community, men and women in coloured patchwork robes go about their work.

Their local spiritual leader is Serigne Babacar, who can usually be found sitting on a woven mat surrounded by his disciples. "You must understand 'work' in its deepest sense, in its spiritual sense. Work should not be a constraint; it should be a daily act which comes form the heart and is a form of prayer," explains Serigne Babacar.

"We don't devote work to the outside life, to the earthly life, but we devote it to God. That is the mysticism of work." This predilection for hard work has had dramatic results at Ndem. Desertification has meant that in the past, much of the population has left the land to search for work in the cities.

But with the creation of Maama Samba, a company employing 365 locals and specialising in hand-made cotton clothes that are sold in fashionable boutiques all across the world, people are staying at home.

Its crafts centre, not far from the religious community, is a compound containing 17 workshops where goods are made before being exported to Europe.
That’s right hard work, good on these folks for getting the backs bent and heads down, hopefully the rest of the bludgers around can do the same and spare the rest of us their sob stories.

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