Category Archives: Family and Community

Family and Community focuses on our relationships within our families and communities. Families and communities provide support, direction, growth so it is our hope that by helping people strengthen bonds with others, they can live happier richer lives.

9/11–Ten Years of Insanity

Ten years after a most heinous act against humanity was committed, it’s still business as usual.

World Trade CenterIt has been 10 years since the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US and the ‘war on terror’ goes on.

In an executive summary entitled *Cost of War (by the Eisenhower Study Group, Eisenhower Research Project – June 2011), they place the cost of war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2001 to be:

“Ten Years, 225,000 Killed, and More than $3.2 – 4 Trillion Spent and Obligated to Date”

The overall monetary cost of war has been estimated to be US$ 4,444,400,000,000.00 excluding Medicare costs for injured veterans after age 65; expenses for veterans paid for by state and local government budgets; a promised $5.3 billion reconstruction aid for Afghanistan and additional Macroeconomic Consequences of War Spending including infrastructure and jobs. Then there is the US$ 1 Trillion in interest payments up until 2020.

The war’s wounded to date is 365,383. Refugees and displaced persons total 7,815,000. The total number of humanitarian and media workers who have died is 266. The total toll on the lives of Allied Security Forces was placed at 31,741 (including US soldiers and contractors). The total toll on civilian lives could run as high as 174,500 (if the count for unconfirmed civilians are included).The grand total of all human lives lost in the war on terror since 2001 is estimated to be 257,655.  And these are only the quantifiable cost.

Who knows what the cost are for the psychological damage suffered by veterans, their families and by all the other victims of war? How do you quantify the burden of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suicide? Who can say what the costs are for those who try to survive in a war with malnutrition and a lack of clean drinking water?  Who can say what the cost of the damage to crop fields and forests destroyed by bombing? What is the cost of raising a generation of children deprived of education, knowing  nothing but war?

The war on terror uses the same methods employed by those it seeks to oppose.

One should consider how this vicious cycle began in the first place and why it will continue to persist until the cycle of violence is broken. War can never be a solution to terrorism. It will only inspire grosser forms of destruction and retaliation.

It needs to be said: War is itself a form of terrorism and whatever the excuse to wage it, will never make it right, not even for its outraged victims.

 

How is a military invasion and assault on a nation’s people different from crashing a passenger plane into an occupied building?  How can one act of violence be deemed heinous, while another justified? Who decides which nation deserves to annihilated and which one deserves to be defended?  The sad fact remains that the ‘war on terror’ is unjustifiable.  Certainly not for all the costs incurred on its behalf.

What is even more distressing is that the 9/11 attack has been used as an excuse to legitimize and perpetuate global bullying.  Governments are dismantled or installed in occupied countries based on their willingness to protect US interests. Even Americans themselves are not exempt from the imposition of this arbitrary control.  The very civil liberties that this ‘war’ was supposed to protect, have been so diminished in the name of national security.  The US government can now arrest and detainment anyone suspected of terrorism without the standard legal protocols.  Likewise, anyone can also be subjected to electronic surveillance as deemed necessary by the ‘authorities’.

It’s time for the paranoia and violence to end.

Some 3,000 people from over 90 countries died in the 9/11 attack. 10 years later, over a quarter of a million people have continued to die with millions more suffering from war in one form or another, and to what end?  Who stands to benefit from all these deaths?

Is it the Americans? Maybe they feel more secure now that hundreds of thousands of people, many their own, have died in the name of homeland security, or do they fear even more? What about the invaded societies?  Maybe they have learned that violence is not a viable option or have they only steeled their resolve to hit back even harder? Perhaps then, the children caught in this war?  Maybe having been inundate in its workings, they will have learned the wisdom of avoiding war, or will they only learn to be adept in its methods?

9/11 left the world with a spectre of lives painfully and tragically lost, not only at ground zero, but at every assault conducted in retaliation against it.  After 10 year, America still lives in anger and fear of another attack.  This fear and anger has provoked wars against targeted groups or nations with the aim of capturing and executing their leaders and positioning new ones in their stead, however flawed.  Human rights have been violated and privacy invaded, all in the name of this ‘war on terror’.  And what has been achieved thus far? Nothing of consequence!

Isn’t it then, about time we question the sanity behind this pointless quest? I say it’s time for this war to end.  It’s time for all war to end. Maybe there are a few who stand to gain an enormousness lot from it, but for most of us, it is only a painful, costly and tragic exercise in futility. We need to stop the wholesale slaughter of people. We need to stop it right now! What therefore, must we do differently?

 

We must speak out and exert our influence over national and international policy.

We have never been in a better position to speak out and be heard as a unified force for change and we should use this collective power for the good of all people.  Social media has brought us together for lesser concerns, why not use it to save the lives of countless thousands who might otherwise become part of the war statistic?  We must hold our leaders accountable for all the lives and money squandered on a pointless war.

In an Earth Hour fashion, we would, in one bold and unified gesture, express our support for a Global Peace Movement where all war resources are reallocated for education on relevant fields of expertise and other services that enhance peaceful coexistence. Human lives are precious and should therefore be spent on worthier pursuits than war; pursuits that improve the quality of life and restore the trust in humanity’s greatness. This peace strategy, I believe, would have a much better chance of success than this 10-year ‘war on terror’.

I am one with the world in hoping to put an end to the needless death and suffering of innocent people so that all who have died from an act of terror or for the sake of this ‘war on terror’ would not have died in vain.  It is my hope in writing this article that everyone take collective responsibility for preserving the sanctity of life.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that has.”

 Margaret MeadAnthropologist

The Venus Project: Redesigning our Society

A stunning vision of the future where the entire world becomes a single unified collaborative community.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein

The Future
thevenusproject.com

Imagine a world where money has become obsolete. Food production is at a level where everyone can have all he can eat at absolutely no cost.  Energy is likewise free, clean and sustainable. No one has to work to sustain himself because resources are shared freely.This is the basic focus of the radical video “Zeitgeist: Addendum”.

The first part of the video makes a compelling case that our “money-based” economy is severely flawed and broken.  This system has failed so miserably and we are now witnessing its most terrible consequences; economy after economy are spiralling out of control. Greed and corruption it argues are not the problem, but rather a symptom. At first you get the feeling that this is a revival of the “anti-establishment” hippy movement of the 60’s, but as the video progresses it takes it one step further. It actually offers a plausible alternative to the madness: a resource-based economy.

We have the technology and the resources to create the abundance that will eradicate any need for money.

The truth is we already have the technologies to solve our most pressing problems like hunger, pollution, disease and energy supply, but because these solutions threaten the profit margins of groups that control these resources, these solutions are suppressed, and the problems persist.  Scarcity is created and perpetuated so that prices can be kept high, and profits can be pushed to the maximum.

Right now the concern is how much will these solutions cost and how will it impact the bottom line and so there is really no incentive to solve these problems. Companies will continue to pollute, and employ children in sweatshops and use patent rights to keep cleaner greener technology at extremely restrictive prices to prevent any disruption of their current revenue streams.

But what if there was a better way of doing things. What if there are solutions to all our pressing global problems and the only thing keeping us from implementing them are the greed of a few. Shouldn’t we strive to dismantle the systems that justify and institutionalize that perpetuation of that greed?

We are already seeing pockets of change.

People are creating new technology and giving it away especially to those who can most benefit from it but who would otherwise have no access to such a technology.  People are opening up their designs so that they can be perfected by a community of people with complimentary disciplines while all share the benefits of its use.

This system could work. In fact, it is in our best interest to make it work (at least for the majority of us).  Think of what this world could achieve if everyone put their talents and resources together to find better ways to produce and distribute food for everyone, to create free clean renewable energy, to provide health and healing services to all who need it.  We have never been in a better position to achieve this as now.  We have never been more connected and therefore more able to share ideas, technologies, resources as in the present day.

This new system will disrupt many of the current industries and it is reasonable to assume that these industries will put up a big fight to protect their interests. But it is the change that we must, as human beings, aspire for. This is our planet, it is our home.  We are but a single community of people and we need to take care of each other, not just to take at the expense of another. We all need to do our part because we all stand to benefit from the development, sharing and renewal of resources.

The new society will provide all people with all of life’s necessities

If a person has access to the necessities of life without servitude, debt, barter, trade they behave very differently. You want all these things available without a price tag.

~Jacques Fresco

Industrial Designer

Social Engineer

A glimpse of what could be if profits were not an issue.

Our world is ripe for change; a revolution, is you will. And although as Jacques Fresco admits it will not be a perfect society, it could still promises to be a far better one than what we have today.

Zeitgeist: Addendum–A thought-provoking film.

Here are remarkable technologies already out there.

Legacy of a Filipino Hero: Dr. Fe Del Mundo

Fe Del Mundo with a Patient
Fe Del Mundo with a Patient

The life of Dr. Fe del Mundo (November 27, 1911 – August 6, 2011) is characterized by an unwavering commitment to selfless service and an untiring quest to provide quality medical care to the sick, especially among children. Her life and the way she has lived it, is her true and lasting legacy to her country.

Dr. Del Mundo’s academic achievements were quite impressive. Perhaps driven by the early deaths of 4 of her 8 siblings, she chose to pursue a career in pediatric. She earned her medical degree at the University of the Philippines (UP), graduating in 1933 as the class valedictorian, and placing third on the medical board exam for her batch.  She was offered a US scholarship by then Philippine President Manuel Quezon, which she promptly accepted. She enrolled and was unwittingly accepted into the Harvard Medical School in 1936, which at the time only accepted only male applicants, making her quite possibly the first woman accepted into this prestigious medical school. She is listed as one of the notable alumni of Harvard Medical School (HMS) where she took up 3 pediatric courses.

Her other academic achievements include, residency at the Billings Hospital (University of Chicago), before accepting a 2-year research fellowship at the Harvard Medical School Children’s Hospital in 1939. In 1940 she earned a Master’s degree in bacteriology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

She returned to the Philippines in 1941, shortly before the Japanese invasion, to begin her remarkable career as a doctor. During the war, she worked with the International Red Cross, as a volunteer to care for children detained at the internment camps at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST).  In 1943, when the Japanese authorities shut down the makeshift hospice that she set up within this interment camp, she was asked to head a children’s hospital under the city government of Manila. This hospital would later be converted to a full-care medical center to accommodate the growing casualties from the war.  It was renamed the North General Hospital (then later, the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center).  She would remain the hospitals director until 1948.

Dr. Del Mundo joined the faculty of UST and later the Far Eastern University (FEU) while pursuing a small private practice.

Determined to raise the quality of children’s medical care, Dr. Del Mundo endeavoured to establish her own children’s hospital.  It seemed that she was so fixed on her purpose of realizing this goal that she sold her own house and much of her possession to fund this project. The Children’s Medical Center, with 100 beds, was inaugurated in 1957.  Having given up her own home, she eventually took up residence within the hospital premises where she lived for the remainder of her life.  In 1966, the hospital expanded its scope of services with the establishment of the Institute of Maternal and Child Health, the first of its kind in Asia.  Even up to the days preceding her death, she would continue to make her rounds in this hospital, on a wheel chair at age 99.

Children's Medical Center in 1957

Her astounding dedication to the medical service, has led her to conduct pioneering research on infectious diseases like dengue, polio and measles, despite the severe limitations of medical facilities at the time.  She has published over a hundred articles in several medical journals on the said topic.  She authored a pediatric textbook for use in medical schools in the Philippines.

She was a staunch advocate of public health.  Undaunted by the glaring lack of resources needed for medical care, especially in  the rural areas, Dr. Del Mundo devised innovative ways not only to deliver medical services, but also to make accessible health education that would encourage health-enhancing practices and disease prevention. She was even said to have devised an incubator made from bamboo for use in rural areas that did not have electrical power.

Dr. Fe Del Mundo’s life spanning nearly a century was dedicated almost entirely to the service of her countrymen.  She is a woman whose life is so inspiring, so remarkably bold and purposeful that it is only befitting that the honour of Bayani (Hero) be bestowed upon her by the country she has served so relentlessly until her death.  She has set the standards for service so high that it would be difficult for anyone to surpass it.

It is my intention in writing this, that Filipinos everywhere will come to know this awesome human being, a fellow Filipino, a modern-day hero, and perhaps be so inspired to serve their country with the same dedication and fortitude. This country needs more heroes like her, to strive for excellence in their own respective fields of service, putting aside personal gain to serve their country as all true Filipinos must.

Fe Del Mundo
Fe Del Mundo (1911-2011)

Dr. Fe Del Mundo, your life and legacy has made our country’s heritage richer and our nation nobler.  I am truly thankful for the greatness you inspire. God bless you!

Sources:

Order books by Fe Del Mundo:
Primary Maternal and Neonatal Health : A Global Concern