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THE LION AND THE GAZELLE

September 19, 2010

T
here is no need to make philosophical speculations about the role of specific geographical areas, specific degraded slums and specific turbulent regions. The truth of the matter is evident: even though most of the leading figures of terrorist organizations are educated people (sometimes classified as wealthy people as well), no one can deny that manpower for indiscriminate killings  is generally available where living conditions are very harsh.

Therefore, both humanitarian objectives and security concerns suggest that underdevelopment is a dangerous enemy—not only the worst nightmare of poor nations, but also a direct threat to the West. It is a major challenge and a sustainable solution is to be found.

Much has been done and much has been criticized. Nonetheless, when we focus on terrorist activities, we realize that much of the problem is still there. And today, after so many years of unsatisfactory results, I'll make a shy attempt to say something different from the mainstream. Of course, I do know that my voice will hardly be heard. I am also aware that it is difficult to discuss controversial topics, but I believe that an obstacle should never be a reason to ignore a problem. When ethical and practical issues are on the table, every person is within his rights to express his opinion—whatever opinion, even in the presence of dramatic realities.

Let me start with the role of rich countries. They definitely have the duty to offer financial assistance to the Third-World  (and are often under an obligation to provide a remedy for their policies of the past). However, there must be a set of rules: for instance, I think that any aid program, first of all, should be strictly based on a two-way commitment. In other words, all donors should foster a positive attitude and a constructive dialogue with the people living in poor areas. Surely, when international cooperation is required, success is not guaranteed. Above all, it is not so obvious that financial aid is destined to stir feelings of gratitude—and the negative response of many Third-World countries is perfectly understandable. Owing to their past history and today's suffering, it is quite natural for them to be filled with anger and resentment against the West. Rage, however, rarely gives positive results. More importantly, the flames of hatred are not always justifiable, especially when the economy of a country suddenly collapses in consequence of bizarre local policies (as happened in Zimbabwe, which used to be the 'breadbasket of Africa'). In my view, several Third-World nations should try to investigate why other countries (maybe neighboring countries with a similar climate and similar natural resources) often enjoy better living conditions. For instance, Israel and Syria, as well as South Korea and North Korea, appear to be excellent examples of parallel (and different) ways of development.
 

At this stage, some questions arise quite naturally. To start with, have underdeveloped areas ever tried to establish a
democratic way of life? Next, what about social reforms? What about a serious fight against corruption? What about bad working practices?

Personally, I am convinced that the interaction between poor and rich nations should resemble the relationships between parents and children in most Western families. In general, fathers and mothers maintain their kids for a reasonable amount of time, but also train them to become responsible men and women. When a child refuses to study or work, it is expected that sensible parents will not let him relax in a comfy bed all the time, but will rather call him to account.
 
 
I conclude this brief note with some words which are taken from the preface of Jihad Al-Kuffar:
 
Populations used to relying on charity would inevitably be left with no hope if they were abandoned to their fate, owing to new policies, reduced budgets, or other events. It seems much wiser (and safer) to learn a lesson from the old story of the gazelle (which must run faster than its  predator) and the lion (which must run faster than its prey). The moral (suitable for individuals, small communities, and large nations) is clear: it does not matter if you are the lion or the gazelle—get moving.



COMMENTS

Remark by  Magda S, NL   on  7/9/2013    at  4:23:18 AM
SubjectThe lion and the gazelle
Content:  
I
have come across this old post by chance. In the end, I could not refrain from reflecting on the striking difference between a pragmatic approach to the suffering of underdeveloped countries and a passionate (sometimes demagogic) way of dealing with the issue of poverty.
Just yesterday, I read a few articles about Pope Francis’ visit to Lampedusa, a small Italian island, which is very close to Tunisia, represents a major gateway to Europe for African escapees and already copes with thousands of illegal migrants. For instance, over one hundred and fifty people reached its shores just before the Pope’s arrival.
As reported by news agencies, Pope Francis called for a "reawakening of consciences", expressed his disdain for the "global indifference" to the plight of migrants and made an impressive statement: "We have lost a sense of brotherly responsibility."
The Pope also spoke to some migrants, who seemed to be extremely satisfied with the event. What's more, the Pope’s initiative drew the attention of new migrants, who probably felt inspired by his words and resumed their migration activity with more vigor. Actually, according to some sources, an increased number of migrants are heading to Lampedusa today, twenty-four hours after the Pope’s trip.
I have no doubt that the inhabitants of Lampedusa, already outnumbered by the thousands of migrants, are very happy and do not regret the warm welcome they gave to the Pope yesterday.
Yet, I have some comments. Surely, the so-called civilized world should not waste resources, should crack down on tax evasion, should get rid of mafia-like gangs that offer job opportunities to selected friends belonging to special clans and should not forgive (or, even better, should not allow) certain financial crimes, such as the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy or the collapse of several banking systems. However, it is absurd to ask the Western society to solve the problems of countries, where civil (and non-civil) wars continue to break out or where the vast majority of the citizens are not prepared to work as much as the richest nations ordinarily do. Indeed, if it is acknowledged that the most industrialized countries operate to a satisfactory level of efficiency, the best option for the Third-World would be to follow their example, instead of looking for their help, day and night.
Of course, I might be wrong and I have the greatest respect for different opinions and judgments, but sometimes I fail to see the logic behind the ideas of some political pundits. Quite often, I tend to see contradictory statements. Here follow some suggestions for a good number of opinion-makers:
1) Stop grumbling about financial problems in the West. Instead of complaining about unemployment and low salaries, urge our leaders to use all available resource for Burkina Faso or Eritrea or similar countries, where the unemployment rate is much higher and where most of the citizens suffer much more than the average Western jobless people.
2) Instead of complaining about recession, force your governments to collect money for the migrants and related issues: proper reception centers, better food, medical assistance, education, housing projects and more comfortable jails (because it is not completely crazy to assume that, on and off, there might be poor migrants who occasionally steal, or sell drugs, or kill, or rape women, or get ready for terror attacks).
3) If a pope is hurt by the sight of priests or nuns who make use of the latest model cars (as Pope Francis claimed a few days ago), he should also think of how many migrants could be moved from Lampedusa to the rooms of the Vatican Museums (and take the place of paying visitors). Alternatively, he could think of the billions of dollars that could be raised by selling the priceless treasures of the Vatican Museums (billions of dollars that could be handed to the poor).

Re
mark
by  Nick
  on  9/20/2010    at 
6:05:12 AM
SubjectThe lion and the gazelle
Content:  
It will be impossible to know the truth, but there are witnesses who confirm that Gaddafi didn't mean to die a hero or a martyr. According to some rebels, he begged the NTC fighters not to shoot. Some say that Gaddafi even offered to give them money in exchange for his freedom.

Remark by 
AVT, Europe   on  9/19/2010    at  10:47:17 AM
SubjectThe lion and the gazelle
Content: 
Possibly, many guys believe that there is nothing left but terrorism after decades or centuries of colonialism. That's why terrorism exists.

Remark by 
Julie   on  9/19/2010    at  4:00:57 AM
SubjectThe lion and the gazelle
Content: 
Tough words. But it's high time for some countries to start with fresh rules.

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