Happy Political Easter

People in England love to think of Jesus as apolitical. This is understandable when we have an awful far right American rhetoric claiming Jesus bats on their team, but also sad. As while Jesus wasn't a socialist or a capitalist, communist or neoliberalist, he was deeply political. He didn't play party politics but his message has volumes to say regarding power and policy. To deny that is to follow a sort of neutered Jesus. (Yes, I have nailed my colours to this mast before!)
This weekend for me has been a fabulous celebration of Gods free for all love, path displaying light and soul bouncing life. 3 things that if we allow them to have much to say for society and politics.
The Guardian Newspaper ran a cool comment yesterday called "A funny kind of Easter" -its opening paragraph likens a nowaday version of Jesus' torture to the kind of torture current governments are using. It continues to discuss the absolute disconnect between the Christian faith modeled by those in world leadership and the founder of that faith. It is very brief, a bit controversial but quite beautiful and sums up a lot of how I feel about the implications of Jesus, the cross and Easter... here's a bit:

"Easter is not all about going to heaven. Still less some nasty evangelical death cult where a blood sacrifice must be paid to appease an angry God. The crucifixion reveals human death-dealing at its worst. In contrast, the resurrection offers a new start, the foundation of a very different sort of community that refuses the logic of scapegoating. The kingdom is a place of shocking, almost amoral, inclusion. All are welcome, especially the rejected. At least, that's the theory. Unfortunately, very few of us Christians are any good at it."

The last sentence seems to despair, but rather it is a well needed confession. This Easter I'm pledging to a life that more deeply reflects Jesus' outrageous kingdom of welcome and love for people constantly turned away.


and not a drop to drink!

“Water is Life. Yet this precious resource is widely mismanaged. Unless we change our ways of managing water we will face serious crises in the near future”. Ismail Serageldin, Chairman of the World Water Commission and Vice President of the World BankWorld Water Day it is. Tim and I are half way through our water fast. It is going okay, primarily because we haven't done any laundry and because we are attempting to time our loo breaks with other peoples so the flush doesn't count on ours. (That is so cheating, but if we were to flush even once it would use up our entire daily allowance!!!)
There is an interesting resource on how much water everything uses here. The chart really shows that mine and Tims attempt is basically a farce as our lives are set up to pour water down the drain. In revolt of this wasteful system The Simple Way have made a little guide to the "Grey Water flushing system"- reusing water as a flush. (Yeah, what most of the world has to do.)
Despite the fact that a UN report in '99 stated that more then 200 scientists from across the world have declared water shortage as one of the two most worrying problems of this century (alongside global warming) it gets little airtime. When we have such beautiful free flowing pure water on tap (forgetting for a minute that the Thames water we drink has already been through bucket loads of other Londoners!) its easy to forget that wars are being fought over this resource (Bolivian "Water War.")
Check out this BBC news article that goes into the intensity of the worlds water state from a different angle to the lack of access to sanitized water for those in poverty. Also, The Salvation Army has a great resource page here well worth checking out. A place where you can also find Mel Wiggins song, Watershed... (or just check out her Myspace) which has some potent words in it...
"Its time that we changed the noise... to rivers that rage and overflow... a well spring of justice and an ocean of unity to show that our dreams of this be turned to noble action..."


water, water everywhere

World Water Day this Saturday. The average European goes through 200 litres of water per day. (For Americans its 400) The average amount in the developing world is 10 litres. As a little thing of solidarity and to try and get to grips with this I am going to go Friday- Monday, the whole of the Easter weekend, using 10 litres each day. I'll let you know how it goes! Feel free to join me in this little challenge!!
  • 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe water, this is roughly one sixth of the world's population.
  • 2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, this is roughly two fifths of the world's population.
  • 1.8 million children die every year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. This amounts to around 5000 deaths a day.

  • Water-related disease is the second biggest killer of children worldwide, after acute respiratory infections like tuberculosis.


p r o c r a s t i n a t i o n

The project I have been developing for for Oxfam has just gone live: www.oxfam.org.uk/swapit
We are encouraging people across the country to hold parties for poverty on April 25th. Its all about swapping stuff in an attempt to model a more creative and less damaging way to consume AND to create a space for a conversation to take place about ethical consumerism. Check it out and sign up!!!

Tomorrow is my last day of classes- can you believe it?! The next 3 months are dedicated to essay writing (4), exams (5) and dissertation (1). Studying at LSE has been the most incredible experience. I don't think there are many other masters programmes in the world when you are sitting there being taught by a world authority on poverty when a fellow student puts up her hand and says "Sir, I have to disagree. When I was with the World Bank in Kenya...." OR where you come across Goldie Hawn in the corridor because she is meeting with one of your teachers about Happiness! (He also advising Mr Brown on the same topic) hehe.
I have always tended to read alot of books at the same time, but the last few month have been beyond a joke. At the moment by my bed I have:

Making globalisation work for the poor by Stiglitz
Development as Freedom by Sen (big time recommend)
The Bottom Billion by Collier
The Shock Doctrine by Klein
Global Citizenship by Schattle
World Poverty by Townsend
Global Social Policy by Deacon
Punk Monk by Freeman
The Trumpet Major by Hardy

Serious- I am at various stages with all of them. Craziness.

Anyway this is just to say that due to the onset of much essay writing and reading requirements I will probably be blogging everyday.


a paw and a claw

are inhibiting my typing skills. I broke a finger on each hand at a youth weekend two weeks ago. One break is sitting in a little plastic splint and is doing sweet as, the other was a bad one and needed surgery and screws and is now wrapped in one humoungous cast. I feel like a big grizzly swiping at honey. So blogging is not easy but still i wanted to point out three things:
1- thumbs are great.
2- Fairtrade fornight is going swimmingly despite a ludicrous report from the Adam Smith Institute. (the name comes from the father of capitalism and says alot) It has been one of the main focuses of the press and basically says FT is a hoax- this is a real shame as all cynics need is some silly piece of evidence and they run away with it. See the FT foundation's response here.
3- It is international womens day this weekend- 8th march. so far as poverty goes i think this is a fairly critical calender date- so long as gender discrimination exists poverty will never be eradicated*. I was drawn to something put out by Amnesty in the guardian on saturday, it made me so sad. It spoke of the choice women are having to make in Darfur about traveling to get water for their families and risk being raped or not getting water and having their families perish. Rape is regularly used as a weapon of war out there. We can write letters to the UNAMID about this here-please do.

  • 70 per cent of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty are female.
  • There are twice as many women as men among the world’s 900 million illiterates.
  • On average, women are paid 30-40 per cent less than men for comparable work.
  • Above 80 percent of farmers in Africa are women.
  • A woman living in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1-in-16 chance of dying in pregnancy. This compares with a 1-in-3,700 risk for a woman from North America.
  • Every minute, a woman somewhere dies in pregnancy or childbirth. This adds up to 1,400 women dying each day, an estimated 529,000 each year from pregnancy-related causes.
Check out what is going on in your local region for womens day here.