May 31, 2013

The ROOTS of ill health

This note is necessary on World No Tobacco day today. 

The burial of a loved one a few days ago dawned on me the atrocity of the practice of selling disease. While the loved one that we buried was a terminal cancer of a type, the cancer and debilitation that cigarettes cause to the human body is in the same vein not just a matter of "someone else's own business" as it is often made out for us to believe. It's truly a crime perpetrated for the promotion of selfish gains. Many a time the seller's own family members maybe in the fry of its dangers. But somehow there seems to be a disconnect between this and the yearning for wealth; it even justifies the forfeiting of our own children's health and well-being. Given that our children make up perhaps 30 percent our nation of Maldives, can't it be surmised that we are hurting ourselves in either ignorance or ignominy. Our leaders too must take heed and not be fooled by the deception of the sellers -- the great cigarette companies of the world and their accomplices - our local sales outlets.

The ROOT of this evil is indeed the sellers and we seem to be condoning this perfidious practice. I repeat again here from an earlier blog the words of a global health leader who said that " the cigarette is the only commodity in the marketplace that when you use it exactly as it is supposed to be used, will kill you". That truth unfortunately takes time to sink in, and by that time it is alas too late for us to do anything much about the ravages it has caused to our body. The disease and morbidity cigarettes create, besides being a financial burden of health costs to the individual, is also a  huge financial burden to the national economy, Expensive hospital systems are needed to address the interim and terminal disease outcomes of cigarette smoking. However much one may talk about private privileges or individual freedom to do what we want, that freedom when not exercised with the requisite responsibility brings national level doom. 

The ROOT of this evil can indeed be addressed if our three powers that lead our nation see that protecting human health and thus our healthy existence on this earth is the real purpose of their being in good governance. 

May 4, 2013

Democracy is not without its limits!

In a democracy we have freedom yet are bound by some limits. Those are what some call moral boundaries which we cannot infringe; or we should not infringe. We can express our opinions yet cannot go too far to vilify another or spoil another's person in our assumption of unlimited rights. As the anti-tobacco advocacy chants “your freedom ends where my nose begins” or in the case of violence prevention, “your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins”  depict, freedom has its social limits indeed. 

In life, we are on a leash. In a governance process characterized by autocracy our leash is short and our limits bound by the edict of the perpetrator, whereas in a democracy our leash is longer and bound by moral principles that come from God. These we cannot infringe; if we do, there will be no law or order. In a democracy the rule of law is one of its most revered tenets. How else can we ensure freedom for all when otherwise the strong and powerful in bodily strength or fiduciary influence will make life for the many a continuing nightmare? That is what autocracy does and that is why we shun it and choose democracy instead, for every human being within the depths of his very being, yearns for freedom. But that freedom will cease to be free and turn into violence if we don't exercise our sense of moral responsibility which is characterized by such boundaries. That must be the meaning of democracy.

May 2, 2013

The players are for the taking!

As the season progresses the players seem to acquire greater skill and nimbleness in their ability to dribble the ball and so their potential value as a play-maker or striker gains increasing promise.

Inter-club transfers are possible even in mid-season. And the club celebrations grow ever more glittery and flamboyant with flags, lights, and floating confetti to give shimmer to the ambiance as the stage lights illuminate them. The garlands put around the neck of new entrants, the hand holdings that accompany victory chants and the time at the podium to voice the rationality of their new decisions -- whether it be their discovery of a new winning formula or philosophy in the present club, or the high decibel affirmation of their secret past yearnings to be amongst those who have proven to be the sustaining force of perseverance, or that the revelation of a past friendship they harboured with the new club’s managers are all expositions of the hypocrisy that are voiced to melt the heart of the followers and propel hurt to the club they left behind.  

All through the glitter of this celebration is the silent message of condoning hypocrisy. That betrayal is all right as long as a rival argument can be voiced with consummate oratory skill. The club members are jubilant and hear the affirmation with delight while some in the spectators are aghast at the unfolding of these events that seem to signal to the next generation of players that everything is fair in life as long as there is possible benefit to the perpetrator to be ferreted out in any way possible. Life is to be lived in the spirit of deceptive competition they say, and the call for perfidy needs to be celebrated -- not shunned.  

With morality of this genre, we can certainly look forward to a governance process not without the trappings of such spirit in the future