Wednesday, April 21, 2004

World Planning: It's like City Planning only bigger

It's always been my dream to fly non-stop around the world and I could do it too. Pack a picnic lunch, grab the airport shuttle and voila! Nowadays the world is that small.

Instead of playing Sim City, we gotta start playing Sim World.

Assuming that the world is a city, what have we got now? We've got the rich part of town, the suburbs and THE SLUMS.

The school district sucks. There is no department of sanitation. Health care? There is one doctor in town and he doesn't take Blue Cross let alone MediCare. There are cracks in the sidewalks and potholes in the streets. The police department, not the Mayor, runs the town. The City Council is owned outright by the "developers" and the bankers. The only thing that runs right is the unemployment office.

Let's play Sim City on a world-wide scale. Would we deliberately pick what we got now? If we ran our town the way we are running the world, it would be a disaster.

Let's pick nice things to put in our world the same way we would pick nice things for our town. Let's pick quality education, full employment, honest civil servants and police who protect and serve. And let's get rid of the rich cronies in the Mayor's office too.

World Planning "Do's" and "Don'ts":

World Planning "Don'ts" (from Nuc News): Joanne Baker's report summer 2003 from Baghdad:

Why is Baghdad suffering? This question is on
everybody’s lips. Electricity, we have heard, has been restored in all other towns. Only Baghdad is being denied this basic life support. As the heat increases, so does the desperation and bitterness of the people.

There is a total incomprehension that America, the world’s greatest superpower cannot provide in three months even basic services that the government under Saddam was able to restore within one month. This is worsened by the fact that expectations have been so much greater. People believed that, with the fall of the regime, the life-numbing deprivation of previous years would be over. Instead they have never had it so bad. As one taxi-driver asked of us, “What have the Americans come here for? There is no electricity, no water, no petrol, the roads are blocked, there is no security anymore. Why have they come?”

I am asked how I now find Baghdad. How has it changed? It is perhaps best described as a city in trauma. Still reeling from the appalling bombardment, it is now experiencing the shock of occupation and anarchy. There is no law and order. No one is in charge. People are crying out for help with their personal tragedies but there is nowhere to turn.

During the day convoys of American tanks patrol the streets, manned by what can only be described as scared children. “Pathetic!" my friend exclaims. They would be if they were not so extremely dangerous. If they believe that they are winning the hearts and minds of the people, they could not be further from the truth.

The nights are filled with sporadic gunfire. The Americans has imposed a curfew which starts at 11pm. The people however have their own self-imposed curfew. No one leaves their house after dark. From 8pm the streets are already beginning to clear. People are hurrying home whether on foot or by car. When I was in Baghdad a year ago, this was the time when families would be spilling out on to the streets to make the most of the cooler evening air, to shop, to eat and to socialize. Now there is only terror. Everyone is buying a gun for self protection. A Kalashnikov was recently selling for as little as one dollar! No one really seems to know who the looters and muggers are.

World Planning "DO": Vote. Vote for anyone but Bush. Vote for people with good ideas. Vote for Dennis Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney. Vote to finally put a President in the White House. Four years without a real President has been a disaster for America!

World Planning "Do": Be kind to children. Today's abused child become tomorrow's heartless thug. Punishment ALWAYS leads to resistance. Read John Gray's book "Children are from Heaven" for great world-planning advice