Holding Governments Accountable
by Louis da Gama
OCTOBER 28, 2020
Covid19 has acutely focused attention on the broken government systems that are simply incapable of restoring sustainable and healthy life to people and planet. Increasing political polarisation of challenges and solutions mean that Justice and Equity for all is merely a dream. Governments and Civil Society working on international development trying to improve the lives and livehoods of the poorest talk about leaving no one behind. But these words ring hollow!!
The dawn of modern communications with the explosion of the internet and with it social media, has created echo chambers; talking to people who hold the same beliefs and values as ourselves, reducing our capability to discuss, negotiate and compromise. Instead we are inadvertently part of exclusive clubs living parallel lives with people that exist on the fringe of survival. The modern economy and globalisation has created winners and losers, the have and the have nots, those that exist at the bottom end of society, too poor and vulnerable to fight for their existence, exploited by the wealthy that have a strong influence on government policies.
This economic divide is further exacerbated by race, religion, colour, gender. The growing wealth gap is based on greed of the rich rather than need, exploiting the weak with the growing ideology that we can have it all no matter the cost, or who pays for it. These broken system of government are destroying people and planet, poisoning our food chain with chemicals increasing people's illness, contaminating the environment causing the extinction of species all in the search for greater wealth for a few.
Whatever happened to Government of the people, by the people?
Today more than ever increasing numbers of the global population are facing greater disillusionment, growing frustration and feelings of isolation, separation, hopelessness and helplessness. This is resulting in growing stress, mental illness and suicides. Covid has just been a catalyst that is speeding up the impact of our broken systems of government. Many have lost faith and trust in their governments which have become government for the few rich by the few rich leaving the rest with a crisis of trust and belief. The system has essentially been corrupted. The focus of government continues to be on the rich individuals that have strong influence over policy making. They have succeeded in selling the idea of individual rights without any consideration of individual responsibilities. With me at the centre of my universe, not only can I have it all but I deserve it all and to hell with the others.
Without a sense and concept of togetherness and community our ability to overcome these challenges is impossible. Without taking collective responsibility to resolve these problems and work together to find sustainable and equitable solutions we will continue in a downward spiral. The explosion of fake news only increases distrust; enhances and reinforces an individual’s world view where people who don't look like me, think like me and behave like me are to be vilified and feared. Differences are seen as a threat to our personal existence and way of life. We have become frightened by differences of appearance, opinions and those who are simply not like us. We have forgotten how to embrace our humanity to live harmoniously with each other, not only accepting but celebrating our cultural heritage language and social difference. We are stronger together! Each unique human being, however different from us must be treated with respect and dignity, even when we disagree with their values. We need to re-learn how to dialogue. We all need to re learn the skills of diplomacy without the necessity to be politically correct but to see truth compassionately. To acknowledge and embrace our differences and not be threatened. To embrace others and learn to live together in harmony, To be proud of our own culture and heritage without the need to denigrate others. To build inclusive communities that enhance integration without loosing our individuality.
My existence and happiness cannot and should not depend on someone else facing destruction and despair. My economic success should not depend on another being exploited. So we need to fight corruption , take back our government, make our politicians accountable for their promises to deliver and really work for a world where no one is left behind. Where my colour, race religion or gender is not a reason to be excluded and ridiculed. We need to take back hope we need to take Action. Confront apathy and indifference to the suffering we see. We need to find our common purpose for the greater good of humanity that is symbolised in the 17 SDGs.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by 178 United Nations Member States in 2015 must be achieved and are the basis for an urgent call to action for a global partnership to end poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
We are responsible for the world we live in, we need to fight to improve it, We need to work together. We need a social movement, a unity of purpose. History teach us together we are stronger look at the suffragette movement that gave the vote to women,the independence movement in India, the end of Apartheid in South Africa, the civil rights movement in the USA, the Arab spring. These are examples of the power of us working together to avoid widespread social unrest and the backlash against democracy that we are witnessing today around the world.
Each of us has a role to play to ensure victory of Good over Evil; of right over wrong.We must not be part of the silent majority. There is no room for Arm chair critics, we can no longer sit on the sidelines as history unfolds. We need to create the history we want, end bitterness, forgive the past and work together of solutions for a better inclusive future for all. We all need to work together for Peace Justice and Equity because from History we learn that there can be No sustainable peace without justice.
Louis Da Gama is Director of the Princess of Africa Foundation and Humanitarian Adviser to UNICEF & Nelson Mandela's 46664 Campaign Goodwill Ambassador, musician and celebrity Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The Foundation's advocacy focus is on Malaria, AIDS, TB, Reproductive Maternal Child, Newborn Health and Nutrition with an emphasis on Women and Girls.