I had a lovely weekend in Gormanston, Co Meath at an artist's training day. It was through Children in Crossfire and we are hoping to have a 2 day residential later in the year, to do more work and maybe get some projects started. I met some great people and it was like the UN, we had people from Colombia, Mexico, Ghana, Moldova and Zambia to name but a few.
There were some great conversations about activism through art, and aid programmes, and the seeds of some ideas have certainly fallen on fertile ground. I had fallen out of the acting loop for a few years but I'm inspired now to get back to some serious writing and acting and maybe get a play written. I've the bones of several but need to start getting some flesh on them!
Many of the other artists told stories about things they had been involved in and are going to send on some links for opportunities to work abroad and possible funding. I'm seriously re-thinking my future at the moment, I've several job interviews this week but honestly, I really don't want to go back to working in an office although I'm probably going to have to for a while or at least until I decide what to do or get the opportunity to try something else!
One of the things that came up in a conversation is how Western 'aid' can end up causing more problems than it solves. One of the women told me how the Mexican fishing industry was destroyed by Greenpeace. When the Mexican fishermen caught tuna, sometimes dolphins got caught up in their nets so Greenpeace came out with a campaign against the nets they used and the fishing and canning industry that existed along Mexico's coast was effectively destroyed, allowing US companies a free run to takeover.
One of the guys from Africa also questioned African aid and why despite money being received for many years, nothing had changed and the basic problems remained. We were also given a booklet outlining the UN's sustainable development goals or SDG's which they launched in 2015. There are 17 of them covering work, inequality, poverty and the environment and while it's important to have a target to aim for, they are based on the West's idea of how people should live and are industrial and capitalist in outlook. Not everyone wants to live like that, I live under this system and I don't like it or want to live that way and where does that leave tribal societies like the Masai? Now, I'm all for a fair day's pay, for a fair days work but how does trying to create sustainable development and clean energy, work alongside economic growth or the idea of 'sustainable industrialisation'?
They certainly have some admirable ideas, wanting to end poverty and hunger, and providing quality education for all. But, as I was reading through them, I thought, these things are all achievable and could be done tomorrow but the same problem prevents it happening, banking and corporate greed with the elite creaming everything for themselves. So, until the corporations are brought under control, and war for profit is ended, then these problems will persist and will never be resolved.
Government, the world over, really needs to grow a pair and start taking on the military/industrial/corporate complex and the mega-rich. Money should either be re-distributed or gotten rid of altogether, corporations should be abolished or at least, limited in their size and a very tight hold kept on their activities. Because without some real action from government, the poverty, inequality and war will continue and all the aid programmes will do, no matter how well-intentioned, is like sticking a plaster on a cancer patient.