Letters - 19 March 2021

From Covid remembrance to Overseers

Covid remembrance

The pandemic is self-evidently the big event of the moment. It has caused untold hurt and stress beyond measure to hundreds of thousands: the bereaved, the carers, the medical staff. And yet the nation has not paused for a moment to reflect collectively on what has happened. 

Many up and down the country have no doubt been close enough to a bereaved family or person to indeed offer support of some kind, but a collective act or opportunity to reflect, and to show solidarity, to grieve, has simply not happened. Until now.

I invite readers to take part in the National Day of Reflection being organised by Marie Curie on Tuesday 23 March, exactly one year after the first lockdown started.

‘Deaths without visitors. Funerals without mourners. Bereavements without cuddles from families, or casseroles from neighbours, or cuppas with visitors, or wonderful celebrations of the unique life lived, by those who lived alongside them.’

So wrote Judith Moran in the Friend last year. She described movingly the calls that the Quaker Social Action project ‘Down to Earth’ was taking at the time (15 May 2020).

Individuals can ‘join our minute of silence at noon, shine a light at 8pm or take a moment to reflect on the last year in your own way’. Meetings on 21 March could mark the day.

For full details, personal stories, and the large programme of online events and webinars go to the website: www.mariecurie.org.uk/get-involved/day-of-reflection.

Daniel Wimberley

Capitalist culprits

Regarding the Quaker Concern Over Population handbook review (19 February), I feel that by pushing their concern single-mindedly, the group discourages consideration of other factors.

Daniel Tanuro in Green Capitalism: Why it can’t work explains how the population issue is sometimes used as a blame-shifting device. Yes, a smaller global population would be helpful, and yes, helping poor countries to develop would help speed their transition to lower fertility rates, and yes, tax incentives for smaller families in developed countries would be helpful too, and yes, some enlightenment in the Vatican would be good. But the timescale of population change is irrelevant to the urgent need to globally decarbonise, and if we’re to progress we must acknowledge that it is we in the rich western countries who have largely caused the climate crisis, and the global poverty.

The capitalist economic system, the US-led empire of rich countries and the western sense of superiority are the culprits. We force poor countries to remove subsidies and open their markets, while subsidising our agriculture and protecting our technology dominance. The amount the west gives/loans in aid to poor countries is less than we extract in profits. Two-thirds of the world’s people live on less than ten dollars a day and one-third have no sanitation. Is that not a crime against humanity? The US has bases in over eighty countries around the world. We’re propagandised by our media to see the rest of the world as enemies. (For a more unbiased view and inspiration for a hopeful global future I recommend [the China Global Television Network] www.cgtn.com/tv.)

Unless we fundamentally change, our civilisation will continue the destruction of our planetary habitat and any hope of good future in the process.           
Piers Maddox

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