By Jean H Charles
This famous statement that we find in the speech given by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg on Thursday, November 19, 1863, will remain forever a yardstick for every government on the planet on how to conduct the business of the state in promoting good governance for their people.
“A government of the people, for the people and by the people.”
I am inspired to use this Lincoln reference in setting the stage for the op-ed this week, because I am observing a profound crisis in this world these days. As we celebrate the dead, on this November 1st, in the year of the Lord 2013, may the ghost of Abraham Lincoln invade the world leaders of today to scratch their feet at night as to take off the zombies and the demons that paralyze their actions for the common good!
The New York Times
reported last week the story of a bookstore owner and editor in Egypt who told his countrymen and the world that he is closing shop, because he cannot wait until he dies to start enjoying happiness. He is seeking a friendlier sky where the pursuit of happiness is the business of the citizens and of the government. Later in the same week, it was reported that most of the young people of Italy are jumping ship because unemployment is so high that finding a job is out of the reach of most.
Yet strolling down the beautiful Madison Avenue in New York City recently on a superb autumn morning, I could not be but jazzed by the creativity of the Italian artisans and the Italian designers that flank both sides of one of the finest street in the world with boutiques and venues where the rich and the famous feel at home.
I have missed in Haiti this year’s Artisanal en Fetes the yearly extravaganza of artistic production crafted by Haitian artists in all types of genre. It was produced recently by the old and venerable Nouvelliste of Haiti, the equivalent of the New York Times in that island nation. I was told the production was superb but the buyers were a few.
There is a glut in this world where the business of wealth creation for all is not a primacy for the policy makers. The zeal of the competition between East and West before the demise of the communist apparatchik has died down. It did left empty promises, false pursuits, and just plain absence of leadership in leading a bloc that would sustain growth, jobs, and prosperity for the rest of the world.
Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, who is stewarding the European bloc, has engaged her fellow leaders in a pursuit of austerity that should have ushered in prosperity. It has produced instead, only inequity. Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy are enduring misery as a staple of life not as much as Congo or Mali or Zaire, but for those citizens who are used to a modern and custom quality of life, the austerity measures are rotten, useless and counterproductive.
President Barack Obama of the United States is engaged in a protracted internal strife with the Tea Party branch of the Republican Party. It gives him no room to maneuver and to bring about ‘yes I can’ solutions to endemic problems such as black youth’s lack of proper formation and education and sophistication, repatriation of the machinery of industry into America, excellent health care for all and leadership in steering the third world into good governance.
Vladimir Putin is too comfortable in being prime minister for life and steering Russia and its few remaining satellites into state leading capitalism a la China. It is too much a higher striving that he prefers instead installing in Russia a pseudo kleptocracy as a more desirable and more achievable way of life. One is wandering where Marx is and where is Engels, who have inspired so many and have forced the world to think in terms of communal well being.
Xi Jinping, the newly minted Chinese leader, is confident enough not to rock the boat of the capitalist system while leading his vessel of state capitalism. But he is not aspiring to nor elaborating over a philosophy of life that will inspire his own people as well as the rest of the world that his third way of economic and social principles is a novel and better genre to ride the sea of life than the naked capitalism or the defunct communism.
Shinzo Abe, the new leadership in Japan, is promising that he can revive its economy and incubate the rest of the world’s growth locomotive stalled by heavy debts and myopic vision. We have been there before; the Japanese fade did not last long two decades ago.
Again this year, the Mohammed African prize could not find in the whole Africa one single leader that deserves the coveted crown for past excellent or even mediocre leadership to hand over five million dollars for good services rendered to their own people during their governance. A similar prize for the leaders of the West Indies would be also off the rack, for lack of suitable takers.
The Lula and Chavez legacy in Latin America, albeit substantial, is too pregnant with social welfare and nominal subsistence falling short of systematic personal wealth creation traction. The inequality in Latin America is still crying out, as such the family dislocation is de rigueur, with a cohort of migrants seeking better skies in the United States, which is itself suffering its own high unemployment.
The yet still bright spot in the world is that portion of East Asia around Singapore as a leader star. But Lee Kuan Yew, who did not mince words to tell the naysayers to go to hell, has not found in his son Lee Hsien Loong the same courage to lead the world with the slogan that well being for all is within range if only one cares to make it a public policy.
“A government of the people for the people and by the people”
On the spiritual side, the Muslim world, without one world Caliphate to teach the true moral of the Koran, is still governed by the hooligan spirit that havoc can be created at home and abroad as long as ten virgin girls are promised and delivered upon occasioning criminal death on casual innocents.
The Catholic Church has at least and at last a true leader in Pope Francis, who tries to bring back the flock into the Christian mode. Will he have the courage to bring the Church into soul searching on why most of the Catholic countries (Latin America, Congo, Philippines, Haiti) are a hotbed for mafia like culture where dissension, inequality, misery, bad citizenship, corrupt leaders and alienation are the lot of many?
On the cultural side, the former colonialist nations such as France and Belgium (and to a lesser degree Great Britain) must institute a soul searching mechanism to find out why most of the former colonies now independent countries (the entire French Africa, Syria, Lebanon, Haiti) are confronting so many problems in their quest to become true nations hospitable to all their people?
A government of the people, by the people and for the people is what the world is crying for today!