Two Films Urging the Cancellation of Third World Debt

At the Lent Course run by one of the priests at my local church last week, we were shown these two films urging the cancellation of the crushing debt of the Developing World.

The second video features a number of famous faces. The only two I recognised were Alun Michael, who amongst other things has starred in the series about a group of elderly rozzers solving old crimes, New Tricks, and the comedian Marcus Brigstocke. Both show its fundamental iniquity. The second video actually makes you question our collective priorities and the whole moral foundation of the banking system. After all, when the money given to bail out AIG is £170,000,000,000 + – the amount equal to the whole of Africa south of the Sahara, it’s a blindingly fair and good question why we are giving money to these banksters, but not willing to cancel such a terrible financial black hole to the world’s neediest peoples.

And there’s another disturbing statistic in there: for ever pound given in aid, we get seven pounds back. As our priest said, ‘It makes you wonder who’s carrying whom.’ Indeed. I used to do voluntary work at the former Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol. One evening there was a presentation given by a man, who had traced the early route in southern Africa used by one of the great Victorian pioneer explorers. He said at one point he had been taken ill, and had had to be carried across one stretch of the country by one of their African crew. He stated that at the man stopped carrying him, because he became acutely uncomfortable about the situation and how it resembled, metaphorically, Africa bearing the West.

After watching those videos, I’m convinced that the reason it’s allowed to go on, is because it’s just another way of the rich West screwing money out of the Developing World, just as we did under imperialism. It’s a disgusting situation, whether you’re religious or not. And I hope whatever our personal religious beliefs, we can find some way of changing this situation, before too many more people die in the poverty, squalor and starvation that this toxic debt is creating.

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One Response to “Two Films Urging the Cancellation of Third World Debt”

  1. Florence Says:

    Point very well made. I would add that while we tend to identify ourselves as variously the white man, the imperialists, the exploiters, we should also consider that in almost all cases this is not the “we” of the whole of our people, but of the elite. The same elite that grew rich on the bonded serfs and slaves in the 11thC, from the exploitation of the ownership of the land and resources, to the profits from the industrial revolution and beyond. The ordinary people would share their last shilling with the next man, from any continent, they are the ones who give most to charity, and they are the ones who would agree in a heartbeat that the toxic debt should be cancelled.

    We also need to recognise that the same elite class are still enslaving and “screwing money” out the the poor of this land again, too. The solution lies in rising up against the class system that still binds us.

    We must take down those institutions and corporations that are bleeding every land over dry, back into a legal framework that takes moral control, ie put human rights back in to prevent the worst excesses we see now. It’s an insane system where the only measure of success – money – comes from many a person being paid less than the value of their work and worth, many times over, so that one or two can be paid millions of times over what their work is valued or worth. We need to restore some degree of respect into the transactions. Debt cancellation is one way to achieve that.

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