Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chavez died before he completed his work!

Most people will shrug their shoulders when they hear that President Chavez has died. That is because they have been sucked in by Western Media reports about how Chavez was ‘ruining’ Venezuela and that he was responsible for the curtailing of freedom in his country. The rich most certainly had less reason to love this populist leader. They still have a great deal of influence in this South American country and they are gathering their forces for a U-turn in Venezuelan politics.

The poor and many middle class citizens had much to thank him for, in the form of a fairer economy, with a rise in the living standards for those at the bottom along with increased hope for a better future. He had many enemies who fought hard to return to the ‘good old days’ of rampant corruption and grinding poverty for a large section of Venezuelan people. The poor are going to miss him and now they will see a possible return of the industrialists and their cohorts. Much of what Chavez had accomplished is in danger of being overturned.

His opponents at the last election will come out swinging and a campaign of fear will be mounted to return the establishment to their ‘rightful’ place. We shall all look back at Chavez’s time in office’ some with anger but many with a feeling that ‘just this once,’ the ordinary people of Venezuela had hope for a while.

Call it ‘class warfare’ if you lost out but maybe it was something different---a chance to create a more decent society, albeit one that did not suit the ‘old guard.’ I can hear them rubbing their hands with glee, from way down in the South Pacific. You will be missed, Mr President.

Child poverty is not the fault of the child!

We regularly read reports about child poverty in New Zealand. We worry about the effects of this on our children. They have less than desirable levels of health, both physical and mental and some would say spiritual. Their education suffers for a range of reasons, putting them in a position where they find it hard to join mainstream New Zealand.
Whatever the reason for these high figures, it is the kids who suffer and they are not to blame. Ask any teacher who battles to teach hungry and tired students; the task is incredibly difficult. Many of these children will not achieve their full potential and that in a country that prides itself on the general high standard of living is simply not good enough.
How do we change this disgraceful situation? I don’t want to hear yet more of the same from those ‘who have made it’ and who say that ‘if they could drag themselves up, anyone can.’ It is time that we all took responsibility for our ‘collective children,’ and make the necessary contribution to the wellbeing of the children of our nation. Helping does not always mean paying more taxes; it can take the form of mentoring, caring about a neighbour and being aware of the conditions so many of our young people endure.
The ‘grandmother who helps young parents to ‘make the dollar stretch a little more, simply by showing parents how to ‘grow a garden’ or fix up something that doesn’t need to be thrown away. Help may take the form of caring about someone. It is amazing what breaking the bonds of ‘isolation’ can do for a family that is struggling. Whether such help comes from the church or a good neighbour does not matter; it’s the reaching out that counts.
On a political level, we have seen the destructive policies of successive Governments, but one in particular that does not lift people from the bottom rung. Politics sometimes represents ‘fiddling while Rome burns.’ One would think that our politicians, from any party, would get out there and know how things are for many families at the bottom. In parts of Auckland it almost feels that some suburbs are a ‘no go area,’ something to be put out of the minds of politicians; ‘leave it alone and maybe no one will notice’ kind of approach.
A nation that cares for all of its children is a nation that succeeds. Is that the New Zealand you wake up to every morning?