Six million children under the age of five died last year mostly from easily treatable diseases. Most of the deaths have been from pneumonia, malaria, or diarrhea. Over 70% of these deaths have occurred in Africa and South-East Asia. Nearly half of all under five deaths occur in five countries, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, China, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.
The women and children of the Congo have had to endure two decades of warfare, hundreds of thousands of displaced refugees and systematic rape and other atrocities committed against the women and girls by both government soldiers and rebels. This system is propped up by foreign mining of rare earth minerals for cell phones and other electronics. Western governments and capitalism props up this system of abuse and violence.
Nigeria accounts for more than 30% of early childhood deaths for malaria and 20% for HIV/AIDS. According to the UN Nigeria accounts for one in every eight child death, this is a trend that must be combated.
Other regions where the situation has been dire for tens of thousands of children are Cambodia, Guinea, Mozambique and Nepal.
In Nepal 26,000+ children die before age 5, according to a Save the Children report.
Angola and Namibia are experiencing their worst drought in 30 years leaving more than 100,000 children without food, according to UNICEF.
There has been some progress, a two thirds reduction in child mortality in Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi and Tanzania. Much of it from the work done by UNICEF, OXFAM, Save the Children and Doctors Without Borders.
Another factor that can have a direct effect on people’s well being is climate change. The size and severity of floods in West Africa and droughts in East Africa.
In President Obama’s first inaugural address he said “To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work along side you to make your farms flourish and let clean water flow.”
Leading proponents of an ongoing concern and care for the poor and the needy of the world have included Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi said “I believe implicitly that all men are born equal. All whether in India or in England or America or in any circumstance or in any circumstances whatever have the same soul as any other… I consider that it is unmanly for any person to claim superiority over a fellow being, he who claims superiority at once forfeits his claim to be called a man.”
Along with Gandhi the other twentieth century figure (though unlike Gandhi he is still with us) is Nelson Mandela who I admire for his decency, courage and his humanistic principles. Nelson Mandela’s ethics are based on the South African philosophy of Ubuntu, basically active human kindness and empathy. Ubuntu ethics should be expanded globally.
Time will tell on the full impact of a new Avatar in the pursuit of decency. Malala Yousafzahi, the 16 year old girl who was shot by the Taliban for going to school in Pakistan. She has had surgeries, recuperated from her injuries and written a book. Malala now follows/studies Badshah Khan non -violent Islamist and protege of Gandhi. While Malala’s campaign for universal education for girls and women is a righteous one and deserves our support we should continue to bear in mind the thousands of girls in Swat Valley and other parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, whose names we do not know. — countercurrents.org