Two weeks ago, readers sent in nominations for the "2009 Humanity's Shame List", a Top-10 highlighting the last year's events we, humanity as a whole, should be ashamed of.
I pulled all suggestions into a poll and for one week, readers could vote on this post. A total of 299 votes were cast before the deadline of Dec 31st midnight.
So without further delay, here are
Palestine: the Gaza blockade, implemented by Israel and Egypt and endorsed by most governments, collectively punishes 1.5 million refugees by inhibiting education, reconstruction, health and nutrition to allow the people to break out of a vicious circle of abuse. Hamas is cruelly and strategically using the Gaza situation to its political advantage. Israel used the highest grade weaponry to indiscriminately kill civilians, target aid organisations and schools.
World hunger: We allowed a record of 1 billion people to go hungry, while the world is producing sufficient food.
3rd & 4th place are shared between the US and DRC:
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): The international community ignored the widespread violence against civilians, mostly women and children. Meanwhile the largest UN Peacekeeping force in the world was unable to make a significant difference in the world's biggest human catastrophy.
US: Continued their short sighted armed interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, plunging any country they touch, into chaos. Further mixing humanitarian and military causes, continues to put the lives of aidworkers at stake.
Copenhagen: Where the world's political leaders failed to come up with a significant agreement to protect the environment.
6th and 7th place: shared between Sudan and the international community: (how ironic)
Sudan: The international community failed to execute the international arrest warrant for the Sudanese President, accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. Non-action allowed the Darfur genocide to continue, tolerated the expulsion of a dozen NGOs on allegations of spying. Meanwhile Khartoum arms fractions in South Sudan, preparing for a new war.
The international community: for being schizophrenic at the cost of human suffering in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, DRC, Myanmar and so on, and so on.
GMO seed and food market manipulation: Monsanto and Cargill further monopolized the seed market, using the US government to introduce GMO food and seeds into developing countries. Shame on Monsanto for single-handedly causing the autumn corn harvest in South Africa to fail.
9th, 10th and 11th place: ex aequo Somalia, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan
Somalia: The international community failed to stop the politicization of the civil war, with the US through its proxy Ethiopia, and some Arab states through their proxy Eritrea who did nothing but put oil on the fire. Meanwhile the donor community failed to provide sufficient aid to sustain the feeding centers and refugee camps.
Zimbabwe: The international community failed to pressure Zimbabwe's government to provide sufficient social security, social safety nets and proper social welfare to its citizens, turning what once was the breadbasket of Sub-saharan Africa, into a well of hunger and human suffering.
Afghanistan: The international community and the UN underestimated the level of corruption during the elections, trying to cover it up while supporting Karzai, ignoring all reports of large scale fraud.
Here are the results, sorted by number of votes:
|Palestine (Gaza blockade, Israeli attacks, Hamas politics)||35|
|World Hunger (over 1 billion hunger)||22|
|Democratic Republic of Congo (violence against civilians)||21|
|USA (wars in Iraq, Afghanistan)||21|
|Copenhagen Climate Summit (summit failure)||19|
|Sudan (violence against civilians, Darfur and South Sudan wars)||16|
|The international community (non-action)||16|
|GMO seed and food market manipulation||14|
|Afghanistan (corruption, failed elections)||13|
|Somalia (civil war)||13|
|Zimbabwe (failing social system)||13|
|Sri Lanka (civil war, crimes against humanity)||10|
|Pakistan (war in Swat, suicide attacks)||10|
|China (bypassing arms embargoes)||9|
|Iran (post-election violence)||9|
|LRA (violence against civilians)||9|
|Aid Agencies (failure of accountability)||9|
|Neocolonialism (land hogging in Africa)||8|
|Ethiopia (famine, civil war)||7|
|North Korea (civil rights)||6|
|Guinee (violence against civilians)||5|
|ASEAN (human rights)||3|
|Belgium (failure to cater for homeless)||2|
Let's hope that 2010 will mean a fresh start for a better year. A year we, humanity as a whole can be proud of.
I know, I will be an optimist until the day I die...