Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Different Worlds

Sorry for light posting lately (in case anyone has a jones for this site) but I've had computer problems. I had to restore my operating system, which means also struggling to restore all my applications and security settings. I haven't been able to convince my firewall to work with Firefox yet, so I am violating the essential tenets of my religion by making this post with Explorer. Also no e-mail till tomorrow.

Anyway, this little problem got me to thinking. Most of the people of the earth do not have telephones, let alone computers and blogs. Most people in very poor areas now do have access to information from radio broadcasts, and even remote villages often have a battery operated television, a tiny window into a parallel universe of refrigerators, offices, supermarkets, mothers hauling their daughters to ballet lessons in SUVs. Yet we, who have almost instant access to the libraries of the world, are largely unaware of them. We see the odd famine or natural disaster on the nightly news, but in the wealthy countries, it is only a small minority who pays any attention to what life is like in most of the world in ordinary times.

I have hammered away on this theme of the so-called Christian ideology of a "culture of life" in a world in which far more thinking, feeling, suffering people die every week of HIV than there are comatose people on life support in all the world. Every year, six million children starve to death before their fifth birthdays, while there are about 1.2 million abortions in the United States. Like me, these rich, well-fed, well-housed, politically well represented Christians have time, money, and access to channels of communication to press their causes. They claim to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. It is nonsensical to imagine what a fetus would say if it could speak, since it has no awareness and no experience. But I know what those starving children are saying.

Here's the Millenium Development Project again.

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