Kenyan paper chides West for trivialising Durban conference

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper has called on the leaders of poor countries to draw a lesson from the attitude of rich countries toward the ongoing conference on racism in Durban and pull together to protect their interests.
"The lesson that leaders of poor countries must take from this conference is the importance and urgency of acting together in their own interests.
"Their experiment with the acquiescence to the wishes of the so-called international community hasn't worked very well.
"Actually, the nations which have taken a more independent approach are doing much better than the 'good boys'.
China and Malaysia are good examples," the privately owned newspaper says in an editorial entitled "West Blundered in Durban".
It chides the international community for never speaking the language of justice in its dealings with poor nations.
"It (international community) might couch its words in reassuring tones.
It might make an occasional gesture, but the discourse between the two is invariably in the language of economic advantage, military expediency and cultural domination of the latter by the former," the paper adds.
It notes that the international community - euphemism for North America, Western Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand - continues to use the large part of the world's natural resources to generate and enjoy most of its wealth.
It has pried open the economies of the rest of the world and keeps its own tightly shut to all but itself.
It has continued to project military power as well as economic and cultural domination through a careful blend of economic blackmail (such as the type generally referred to as aid conditionalities), armed intervention and sheer propaganda, the paper adds.
It says sometimes it appears the "international community" no longer has visionary leaders, men and women capable of realising that the present relations between North and South are, in the long run, not sustainable; that issues that the poor nations care about cannot be ignored forever and that the sooner they are given some attention the more confidence the world can find in a shared future.
The paper avers that the powerful nations have shunned the United Nations conference on racism in South Africa, largely because their ruling elite have not been victims.
Thus, it says, "the rich nations led by the United States, have managed to trivialise the agenda of the meeting and reduce it to one issue: Strong language against Israel," adding that even when an accommodation was reached on that, "Washington is not at the table.
" However, the paper commends the United Nations for paying attention to Third World issues such as AIDS poverty and now racism even without support from the West.
This agenda should now extend to trade and economic justice.
"Just because the 'international community', on its comfortable perch, does not wish to speak the language of justice, it does not mean that the wearer should stop feeling that the shoe is pinching - and doing something to make it fit better," the Daily Nation stresses.

02 september 2001 13:48:00

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