Sunday, January 25, 2009

What Omer Goldman & the Child Soldiers of the Congo Could Teach the Political Establishment & Mainstream News Media

Omer Goldman

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put a hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain:
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea [Isa. 11:6, 8-9].

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. Obama Inauguration Speech, 1-20-09

What Omer Goldman & the Child Soldiers of the Congo Could Teach the Political Establishment & Mainstream News Media

By Richard Power

This extraordinary moment is one of great danger and incredible opportunity.

Our slow-motion economic and financial free fall is global and dire, and to approach it as an issue of domestic politics as usual, as some of the political establishment and mainstream news media seem bent on doing, is, well, insane:

The world economy is deteriorating more quickly than leading economists predicted only weeks ago. ... The depth of the troubles, analysts say, indicates that nations may need to spend more than the billions of dollars already planned on stimulus packages to jump-start their economies, and that a global recovery could take longer, perhaps pushing into 2010. Analysts are particularly concerned about the slowdown in China and the recession in Europe. Washington Post, 1-24-09

Meanwhile, like the economic crisis, the climate crisis is global and dire:

Our trees are dying. Throughout the western United States, cherished and protected forests are dying twice as fast as they did 20 years ago because of climate change, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Science. ... What this means is that the United States' best forests are getting thinner. ... "We're seeing continental-scale evidence of warming," Veblen said. "It is very likely tree mortality will increase further as temperatures continue to rise." Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service, 1-22-09

The climate crisis, however, not only threatens civilization, it also offers us a powerful medicine for the world's economic and financial crises.

But it demands bold action and radical change.

Nobel Peace Prize winner, former US Vice President Al Gore knows there is no time left for "childish things" and he is pushing hard:

Al Gore will exhort US lawmakers to renew US leadership on battling climate change next week, as "green" groups push for quick, sweeping action from President Barack Obama and a friendly Congress. Gore will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday ... Agence France Press, 1-24-09

But how will the US body politic in particular and the community of nations as a whole summon the courage and clarity of mind to make the right choices in the critical weeks and months ahead?

While much of the US political establishment and mainstream news media continue to act irresponsibly in regard to the challenges facing the nation and the world, some of the youth of the planet are called on to exercise an unfathomable depth of courage and endurance in the face of hardship and horror.

Consider Omer Goldman, the 19-year old daughter of a former deputy chief of the Mossad who is going to prison rather serve in the Israeli military.

Consider the 1500 child soldiers who might soon be released from servitude in the hell of the Congo.

Omer Goldman is 19, she's Jewish, lives in Tel Aviv, she's a pretty girl and it's not hard to imagine her fulfilling her ambition to one day be an actress.
But since she was eight years old, she also had another dream - she wanted to work with an organization like Amnesty International, hoping she could help make a better world. Right now, her way of doing that is by going to prison. Choosing to go to prison rather than serve in the Israeli army - a compulsory requirement for all young Israeli citizens.
And Omer Goldman was not destined for prison. For most of her life she thought she'd join the army, and become a hero for her country. After all, her father is a former deputy head of Mossad, and still considered one of the most powerful men of the Israeli security establishment.
Radio Netherlands, 1-22-09

Image: Child Soldier in Democratic Republic of Congo, BBC

Save the Children is preparing for a potential release of child soldiers currently forced to fight with Laurent Nkunda’s troops and other armed groups in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Although figures are very unclear, it is thought that between three and six thousand boys and girls are being held by warlords in DRC, including Nkunda, who was arrested by Rwandan authorities yesterday.
With Rwandan troops now operating in DRC and the eyes of the international community focused on the country, it is less likely that militia leaders will want to have child soldiers in their ranks for fear of prosecution. If Nkunda’s troops (the CNDP) and other rebel fighters are integrated into the Congolese army, Save the Children believes it could result in a mass release of up to 1,500 children, many of whom will be suffering long-term psychological damage.
Reuters, 1-23-09

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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