Samui, December 29 2003
I wish you a very happy New Year. By travelling in South East Asia my 2004 will
certainly be good.
Half of the world population is however living on less than two dollars a day
and will not be so happy. Everyday they can fall off the world because of
reasons beyond their control. The arrest of Saddam Hussein or the chasing away
of the Taleban did not change their wretched situation.
In Afghanistan a moderate (!) male member of the American endorsed Loya Jirga
declared that “women must not put themselves on the same level as men. God has
not given them equal rights by counting two women as equal to one man. The
Sharia Law states that the testimony of two women in most cases is equivalent
that of one man”.
The royal family of Saudi Arabia is seen by the American elite as friendly
because they help to safeguard American interests. But women remain secondary
citizens that even may not drive a car. The Saddam regime was bad but it did not
treat women as pariahs.
The American invasion of Iraq strengthened Moslem fundamentalism as can also be
seen in Southern Thailand where several parents named their new born babies
Saddam. “What Saddam did is right and legitimate. He stood up against the US,
the foreign invader”.
And should the Indian leaders not also better be avoided instead of treated as
nice and reasonable people? They still have not halted the widespread murder of
ten to twenty percent of female newly born.
It must be feared that the West will continue to support regimes that are not
good for their own people and continue to declare that people in Third World
countries that want to improve the situation are terrorists. The removal of
corrupt pro-Western regimes should be applauded, not rejected. But that requires
a fundamental different policy that goes far beyond a discussion if Democrats or
Republicans are better.
Most people still think that leaders want to make the world better for everyone.
They still find Saddam worse than Bush and Chirac sympathetic because he
challenges American supremacy. But all leaders live on the eliteworld. They put
terrorism on top of the danger list and not hunger and avoidable illnesses that
cause many more deaths (of masspeople). But indeed terrorism threatens to invade
the safe and quiet eliteworld. The massworld has always been more dangerous and
that has not changed with the rise of terrorism. Only a few people are dying
because of terrorist acts, scores are dying because of lack of food, education,
housing or health care.
You may judge what is the most important problem that faces humanity. But I will
be flabbergasted when you follow the elite and put terrorism in first place. I
think the most important point is the division of humanity in a minority that
lives on the privileged eliteworld and a vast majority that lives on the often
From elitist powers not much can be expected.
Yours truly, Joost van Steenis