From one thing to the other.
One of my friends (still, I hope) once told me “Well, the army wouldn’t have any use for guys like you anyway”. I suppose he was right. I am an idealist, but I still see myself as a pretty pragmatic guy. That is why I get so infuriated by the fact that nobody really seems to be interested in doing something about our mandatory military service, which leads to my anti-militarism.
It should be clear to most people that our current system is outdated in one form or the other and could serve its purpose better than it does now, but for some reason nothing is done about it. On the other hand, I hear that there is currently a debate and plans made within the army, although it is all very hushed. So we shall wait and see, maybe some of my hopes will be answered.
I will now drop the subject of anti-militarism before I get too diplomatic, but please keep on discussing on this blog and on Facebook. I still haven’t been told what facts I have got wrong and still would love to be enlightened. Please keep writing.
Here in Lapinjärvi we awoke to a dazzlingly beautiful full moon over the lake this morning and everyone dashed for their cameras and mobile phones. Today’s topics were first aid, politics and developing countries. Small revolutions happen most every day. A family in Kenya deciding to put their daughter in school. A man in Uganda starting to use condoms. A woman voting in democratic elections for the first time.
In Kenya a woman started what is known as “The Green Belt Movement” in the seventies, after the Kenyan state (allegedly with some help from a Finnish lumber company) had chopped down most of the country’s trees. Her idea was to get women to plant new trees from seeds. Gradually it progressed and people planting trees now became garderners, then foresters and gradually a whole democratic network of women emerged. There were board meetings, elections, business decisions and later a Nobel Peace Prize for the founder Wangari Maathai. The website http://greenmovement.org states:
By protecting the environment, these women are also becoming powerful champions for sustainable management of scarce resources such as water, equitable economic development, good political governance, and ultimately….. peace.
The movement has spread throughout Africa and beyond and is now one of the leading organizations for female empowerment in the developing countries. And it all started with the planting of trees.
Another small revolution that was started in the seventies was the starting shot for microcredits aimed at poor entreprenours in underprivliged countries. The most notable actor in this field is probably Mohammed Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank i Bangladesh.
By lending small sums of money to people (mostly women again) who need help with business, these banks provide the means for small businesses to get started or keep active, although their finances are temporarily drained. These small businesses (such as basket weawing, shoe making, shopkeeping etc) often help to improve the standard of life for women, families and whole villages. And once again, it is also a powerful aid the empowerment of women in traditionally patriarchal societies. Mr Yunus also recieved the Nobel Peace Prize.
Small revolutions can change the world.