October 3rd-8th, 2016
7th World Philosophical Forum Dialectical Symposium
in Athens, Greece
OUR FUTURE IN JEOPARDY?
By Ricaardoe Di Done
What a pleasure, what a privilege and what an honour it is to be back in this beautiful city of Athens, a city rich in history and whose heritage has influenced much of the world. It is great to be back to see so many familiar faces and friends who want to do so much for humanity.
I would like to thank the organizers of this event whose objective is to help find a solution for the well-being of our society, and fight poverty and abuse affecting our well-being. I would like to take this opportunity to thank a good friend and one of the top organizers of this Conference, yes, Professor Igor Kondrashin. And I would not forgive myself if I did not mention my long time friend, although he is very young, Professor Timi Ecimovic, for dedicating so many years to improving the welfare of citizens around the world and protecting the environment. Please give them all a nice hand of applause!
My presentation will fall under the following headings:
1. World Governance, a means for Finding Solutions?
2. Genesis and Children Now
3. The Failure of Treaties and International Policies
4. Beyond Physical Poverty
5. Manifesto Entitled Gaia 2031
6. Talks on “W” Book
7. Prevention and The Future of Our Leaders
My friends, family has always been the most important thing in the world for me. Perhaps it is partly due to my Italian heritage that I feel this way, although I know other cultures also share this sentiment. I read many books on the law, the best interests of children as well as child psychology. But, the more I read, the more I realized how reality was totally different. That is why, in 1983, I created the Organization for the Protection of Children’s Rights also known as OPCR. Over the years it became Children Now.
The main objective of Children Now is to find ways to prevent problems before they occur. But indeed, when problems do happen, it is necessary to be equipped with whatever it takes to help children, parents and grandparents in distress. In order to do so, we created a scientific committee that includes professionals from numerous disciplines related to children, family and the environment.
Another reason why I am here today is that the goals of the World government is to better the well-being of society and the environment. It`s obvious our personal goals are part of our larger initiative at this conference.
Importance of working together and creation of a World government
I would like to commend everyone here for coming together to create a World government. It is most important to change the political system so that history will not repeat itself. It is important to work together and to support the United Nations (UN). Unfortunately, if the UN can’t meet its objectives because of barriers such as the five countries with veto rights, or can’t respect the agreements it ratifies, well, perhaps the time has come to create a World government. That is why it is important that we all work together.
As for some NGOs, their dependence on government funding can be a hindrance and we know all too well that the survival of some NGOs depend on the ideologies shared by their governments.
The Genesis of Children Now
That is why I started the Organization for the Protection of Children’s Rights. What made us different from other groups is that we created a Scientific committee with members from different disciplines to ensure that no one profession would impose its own ideology on situations. And over the years we’ve organized numerous international conferences, research projects, literature projects and we presented numerous briefs.
The failure of international treaties and politics
Despite all the work we have done, what amazes me most is that over 30 years has passed and so little has changed. Why are things so slow to change? As an example, last year, who can forget the haunting image of the lifeless 3 year old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, washed up on the Turkish shores? All his family wanted was to escape Syria for a better life for their children.
That image had a dramatic impact on people all around the world. The story became the darling of all the media and politicians around the world. Alan’s parents had been trying to reach Canada, but unfortunately, his death and the refugee crisis immediately became an issue in the 2015 Canadian federal election. When I see this, it makes me so sad.
All of a sudden politicians seemed to care and wanted something to be done about the refugee crisis. I was amazed to see how many of those politicians talked about how we should open the door to these immigrants, how we should be generous and how we should be doing this and that, but unfortunately so few governments want to go to the source of the problem. Did they really mean to act upon the crisis or was it just a political bait for votes? It has been over a year since that little boy’s body, still wearing his shoes and clothes, lay face down on the beach. But between us, has anything really changed since then?
As I said to my 5 children the other day, “Put that into perspective – if we had to leave our house , leave all our furniture and our belongings, leave behind our loved ones and run away because people want to kill us – shouldn’t the world intervene to do something?”
This situation is tragic indeed, but the Syrian conflict is just one of the many deadly threats faced by children. According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, in 2015, an estimated 16,000 children under the age of five died from preventable causes. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, by midnight tonight, at least 16,000 thousand little souls will have left because of a lack of nutrition, medication, clean water, or no water at all. Why is it that nobody is talking about this disaster? Why is there not more outrage at this staggering death toll such as that which was expressed for Alan Kurdi? What are our politicians doing about this shameful situation?
Even in a rich country like Canada in 2013, almost one out of every five Canadian children lived in poverty, 1,334,930 children. Canada ranks 26th out of 35 industrialized countries in child poverty. Action must be taken!
Does it boil down to a question of political will and money? Citizens need to make it clear to politicians that child welfare is a high priority issue for them, both in the wealthy countries that can provide aid and in the countries where aid is needed. Multi-Billionaires such as Bill Gates, Carlos Slim and Warren Buffett together could eradicate all the poverty of the developing countries if only the infrastructure was in place to do so. Again, why is this not happening?
Beyond physical poverty
And yet, there is more than economic poverty. I find it disturbing that so many people think that in industrialized countries we live in an abundance of wealth. Did we ever think about the psychological impoverishment of the children in industrialized countries?
Emotional poverty manifests itself through materialism, family breakdown, absentee parents doing 2-3 jobs to survive, children with unknown fathers… this is why I wrote a book entitled W Book – the who, what, when, where, why. The objective of this book is to question the political, educational, health and judicial systems. I will get back to the W book a little later on.
Let’s take for example children who are being amputated from a parent and/or an extended family member such as a grand-parent, because of a separation or divorce. When you have a child who is one day in your arms and then the next day the child is no longer there because of a parent disappearing with the child or technicalities in the judicial system, needless to say, it does not leave you indifferent. What about the psychological consequences on the child, which so often are irreparable? Such effects are what we call invisible because they do not leave physical scars. Unfortunately, politicians tend to react more to physical scars.
Yes, what about the role of politics? In Canada, we just went through a federal election in 2015. Can we hope that the newly elected prime minister and his cabinet members will put on the agenda issues that matter to people most? And what about the self-proclaimed greatest country on earth, the United States of America and its leaders? And, how about the following five countries; US, Russia, UK, China and France that have veto power in the United Nations? Can we think of a plausible and effective way to counter the power and influence those five countries have on the existing 195 recognized countries?
As some of you already know, the time to do something is long overdue. All of us must join forces in order to maximize our efficiency. The reason I say this is because there are many groups around the world that would like to see changes, as we do. Yes, for the well-being of our children, society and the environment, let us all work together.
Manifesto entitled Gaia 2031
As some of you know, I have also written a Manifesto entitled Gaia 2031. It focuses on the importance of investing our energy towards the well-being of all children, families and the environment, which are interlinked. I want to put an emphasis on the benefits that children derive from growing up with a sense of respect, dedication and love for humanity.
The world is a much better place when these values are prevalent. Without which, the world is a more cruel place. If our environment is filled with manmade poison, not only do we slowly kill the life on this planet but we rob the inhabitants including our children, from a dignified future. If there is no more water to drink and no more air to breathe, we are doomed. If the new generation is totally dysfunctional or disrespectful, we are doomed.
Now, I wrote the W book because I came to the conclusion that the educational system, the health care system, the justice system and the political system all need to be improved. In the W book, I address the problems faced by the world’s children and came up with concrete recommendations which are very doable.
Excerpts of W Book
I would now like to read you some parts of the W Book, the first is from the Preface by Dr. Garfield A Brown from the Medical University of Limpopo, South Africa.
“Ricaardoe Di Done has been calling for this type of global group effort over thirty years now. All the chapters in this book apply directly to the present and future creation of stable communities for children and families. The author has embedded fifteen questions in the six chapters of this book to evoke your curiosity about the present state of the world. The questions of What, Why, When, Where, and Who? echo what any curious child would ask, about the state of the world we are living in. The context in which the questions are discussed covers all aspects of the creation of present and future stable and healthy communities.”
– Garfield Brown, Clinical Psychologist, a friend of mine and a very dedicated man.
From Chapter 6 – Children’s Rights (or a new form of adult democracy)
“ON NOVEMBER 20, 1989, 191 countries signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This treaty was preceded 30 years earlier by the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, also signed on November 20, in 1959.
The 1959 declaration laid out a series of fundamental proclamations on children’s rights. These proclamations, which increased in number under the 1989 convention, were the subject of precision, democratic and measuring instruments that were better adapted to reaching the objectives and remedies needed for children.
All this time, participating countries appeared to concur on these agreements regarding fundamental principles that went beyond social stigmas or political allegiances. However, questions still persist: Where do things stand regarding children’s rights of childhood, to dignity and to independence. What has really changed, knowing that still around 16,000 children die every day?
As I presented at the World Philosophical Conference in Greece in 2010, “I know that we can generate new ideas. We are starting to learn our four R’s like children learning their ABC’s: reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. However, no one has come up with a clever acronym to help prevent the waste of children. We know what needs to be done in developing countries to eliminate poverty. We know what needs to be done in industrialized countries to eliminate psychological impoverishment. Yet it’s not happening.”
And finally from Chapter 2: Education and Literacy
“In the 2004 State of the World’s Children report, Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, highlighted the importance of educating children. He stated that no other policies are likely to increase economic productivity, decrease infant and maternal mortality, improve nutrition and encourage health – including helping to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS – as those policies related to education for all.
In a declaration made in the millennium year of 2000, governments of all nations developed eight global development goals to address crucial issues affecting our society.
They set a date of 2015 by which we should have met these Millennium Development Goals. Yes, ladies and gentlemen we are at the end of 2016. These goals included the following: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality, improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.” What happened? Why wasn’t it done? Isn’t it sad? Yes, there have been improvements, but there’s still 16000 kids dying every day. Shouldn’t countries be obliged to send a report of what has been done and their accomplishments every year or two?”
Prevention and future leaders of tomorrow
I’m going to talk to you about the future leaders of tomorrow: our children of today. How do we create great leaders, not necessarily of countries but of humanity?
We must all create together a major international campaign to better equip our children and families with whatever it takes to become respectful citizens, and this through social media, documentaries and pedagogical tools. Therefore at Children Now, we are presently completing a pedagogical tool focusing on leadership as well as the importance of saying NO to bullying. The latter is a very serious issue causing emotional and physical scars to the victims.
Many countries have identified bullying as a critical health issue and the World Health Organization, along with international researchers from over 30 countries called bullying `a health concern that clearly transcends national boundaries`. Prevention is key in the fight against bullying. With our pedagogical tool on that matter, our objective is to sensitize children and parents on the importance of respect, saying no to all forms of bullying, preventing violence leading to street gangs, bringing awareness to racial discrimination, as well as the benefits of good nutrition and sports.
You may say that all this is nice, but the question is the following: how can we integrate these tools in our educational system in all continents and help children to become more respectful citizens? This, perhaps through other avenues which are not tinted with bureaucracy nor red tape– like our traditional educational system–, such as sports like soccer. The latter is an inexpensive sport compared to hockey or football, to name a few.
Therefore, my big question to you all is: how can we all work effectively to reach all the children in the world, no matter the race, religion or color in order to give them the necessary information to make the right choices?
At the same time, how can we create a vast campaign of awareness to reach all parents and extended family members such as grand-parents, who have so much to offer, and who are too often forgotten on the back burner?
I would like to finish with this: I will never forget my stay in Kenya where I visited centers for children with AIDS. I was moved by these innocent children, whom I had hugged one by one. Unfortunately, a few days later, one of them had died. What is the world doing about the case of the sick and dying children who do not receive the necessary care when it is available? Although some progress has been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS related illnesses, too many children are still dying or being orphaned.
It’s now 2016 – why have goals set by governments and international organizations to diminish or eradicate poverty and diseases not been met?
Here we are gathered today, all of us, because we want to create a world government. So let’s decide what should be our priorities. I am inspired and delighted to be part of this group. I commend you all for being here: so many wonderful people who want to make a difference and create a world filled with love. Let us make sure that soon we will never again have a beautiful child in our hand one day, and the next day, he or she is no longer there due to a lack of nutrition, medication or water. Or a child, who is abruptly taken away from our arms because of judicial technicalities or a parent who unilaterally decided it was OK to disappear with the child.
I ask all of you here today to get together and work hard in order to create a better world through our leadership program, and this by making sure that we can reach all the children of the world, whether it is Wang, Konstantina, Kokui, Benoit, Ali, José or Veronica, so that they can each have a voice and live in peace and harmony. We don’t have to make giant steps. Small gestures in great numbers can go a long way.
Let us all put our energies together
Let us all work together
Let us all be unified
Together there is no doubt that we will make a difference for the children, family and humanity.
We especially owe it to our children, those who don’t have a voice and who are so vulnerable.
I love you all.