Monday, 5 March 2018

A bit of a rant!

It’s a modern thing to look back at stuff from the past and apologise for it. I read about a man in Canada who owns rather a big stretch of land and now states (admits?) that this land was originally stolen from native North American Indians. Except of course that now you aren’t supposed to call them that; they are the First Nations. And so he has advertised his willingness to invite people of the First Nations to go and live rent-free on his land. Note, however, that it is still “his land”; there is no talk of actually giving it back. If I was a member of the First Nations I might be just a little peeved.

How far back can you take restitution of this kind?

I recently read “Barkskins” by Annie Proulx. It tells the story not just of the stealing of land from the First Nations but also the exploitation of forests in the North American continent and in the wider world. She covers attempts to maintain the traditional way of life of some of the First Nations’ people - a pretty hopeless attempt as the wider world impinges and, besides, a large proportion of those trying to live that life are no longer truly First Nations people but a mixture, thanks to the arrival of Europeans.

She also looks at the attempt of some of the exploiters of the woodlands to regenerate the forests, planting afresh wherever they have cut down. But again, the wider world impinges and the financially most successful are the ones who do not replant. Almost inevitable they push the ecologically sound out of the picture.

It’s taken a long time for us to realise that the planet’s resources are finite and we still don’t really know how to put it right It’s greed and the profit motive that keep getting in the way. And they pop up in areas like education and health where surely, in the 21st century we should have realised they have no place.

I read an article about a baby born premeaturely and weighing only 2 pounds. This was in the United States. Here is a short extract from what the parents of that baby had to say:

“The financial cost of caring for a child with an illness or disability ruins families; with the Republican war on healthcare that’s only getting worse. If we had had a lifetime cap on Layla’s insurance coverage, for example, she would have blown through it in her first weeks of life. It’s not uncommon for families of preemies to be left bankrupt, depending on a healthcare system that says it protects the most vulnerable while making it impossible for you to care for your child while still paying the bills.

That’s why we need a healthcare system that adequately protects families and children from the complex and tragic hurdles life puts in our way. We need family leave policies that make special considerations for parents of ill children. And most of all, we need to recognize that none of this can be a one-size-fits-all solution.”

The baby in question, Layla, survived and thrived. At six or seven years old she had caught up with her peers and was doing well, a bright and happy little girl but her parents had frequent rushes to the hospital when she was tiny.

This is why in the UK we need to fight for our NHS and not think of selling it, or bits of it, off to the profit-greedy!

Rant over!

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