THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

Fifteen years ago, the United Nations decided to mark the new millennium with a series of targets aimed at improving the lives of the world’s poorest people.  The Millennium Development Goals focused on eradicating poverty and hunger – improving maternal and child health – and more.

The targets were supposed to have been met this year.  But we were told yesterday on BBC2’s Newsnight, that 800 million people are still in extreme poverty and that in Chad one in three children are severely undernourished – a condition which is irreversible.  And with one in four of the world’s children stunted this must be the world’s greatest health problems.

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With world population doubling every twenty five years and our life expectancy increasing (except in Chad, of course) this planet of ours is heading for more problems and more human tragedy.  Help must be given to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. There are many awful things happening worldwide that need our attention but surely this should be our number one priority?

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NOT EQUAL?

I don’t suppose anyone who reads my words will examine them with as much attention to detail as I write them.  I would be very happy if that were not the case, if a whole range of people did spend hours poring over my words, but reality tells me that is probably not happening.

So it may come as a surprise that I am worried about my so-called valorisation of women pioneers of the highly sophisticated calculating machines and their spin-offs.  I am concerned about the unexpected consequences of a handful of women, many years ago, who helped develop nuclear and atom bombs?  By this I mean that Jean Jennings et al, and Grace Hopper did help develop those weapons of mass destruction with their work at ENIAC. Why should I hold women up to closer scrutiny than the many men involved in computer technology.  I know there are many people out there now involved in designing new, remote ways to kill our enemies.  It is unfair surely?

Is it because there are so few women in that world and they just stand out more, or is it that women are, perhaps, too equal to men?  It has become clear to me today that women should be, better.  More humane, compassionate and considered. That is what I expect.  When I found they had feet of clay, my heart sank and I was forced to accept that we humans are, at heart, all fallible.  When the Nazi guards explained that they were only obeying orders, we dismissed this as merely an excuse, we can’t hold those American women up to a lesser scrutiny than the other small cogs in rotten machines who let bad things happen, can we? We are all capable of making the wrong decision and therefore we must always be careful of the consequences of our actions, espousing the next new things, following orders blindly, before actually thinking them through.