Faisal Rashid: Civilized co-operation and the path to a better future for all


Unity is strength, division is weakness is a great Swahili proverb from Africa.

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With more than 7.7 billion people on our planet now, and with all the science and technology at our disposal, development can occur much better globally if we are united together as human beings. Co-operation among civilizations can be fascinating, if countries and individuals can look towards the future with the common vision of making the world a better place for our children and coming generations.

As 2019 gets underway, almost every rational and emotional human being realizes our fellow global community members have unfortunately seen a lot of suffering in Africa. I find it difficult to imagine that a major portion of Africa’s 1.2 billion people still struggle due to extreme poverty, and we can do very little to support them due to our own challenges and busy lifestyles.

Economic and social problems, as well as a lack of stability have been affecting millions of lives in Africa. Education and healthcare are considered to be basic and fundamental rights, but the realities in Africa and other developing regions of the world are not that ideal. Sadly, millions of children don't even have parents to take care of them, and harsh living conditions are made that much harsher. Many villages and communities wake up to the same routines, having no source of income or opportunities, relying on aid, and daily burying community members who have died due to lack of healthcare and food.

Suffering in their eyes can be seen in pictures, documentaries, or when people visit such communities. Wilderness, lawlessness, and the sorrow of millions of lives is too painful to describe indeed. 

Despite the tragedies highlighted, there's always the element of hope. There are many regions of the world that were underdeveloped a century ago, but within decades have been developed.

Some unbelievable accomplishments of African civilizations in history have been fascinating, and there are many incidences of kindness of Africans in history that are also inspiring. In fact, most historians consider Africa to be the origin of mankind. Discoveries of resources, and occasionally vision and determination of nations and individuals to change makes a big difference. Science, technology, education, healthcare, and economic development has modernized many segments in the world and I hope to see a great new beginning in Africa, as a global community member.

It does not take millions of people to bring positive change, but sometimes just a few individuals to lead and develop their nations.

Robert F. Kennedy’s speech at University of Cape Town (South Africa) in 1966 was considered to be among his best. He said then, "Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

One of the most fabulous pictures I saw on internet was about happiness reflecting on the face of two girls sitting in the wilderness of Africa, with their beautiful ornaments in front of them. Another wonderful image in my mind remains from a documentary in which I saw a Bedouin family sharing a meal in one large bowl, with parents and children lovingly living together in a tent in the extreme conditions of the Sahara. Their love for each other made them complete, and their contentment seemed legendary. 

It's a good development that 54 nations of Africa are realizing the importance of unity, and Africa Rising has commenced in some regions. It is about rapid economic growth and development in the African continent. Also, I believe that it was rightly highlighted by Nelson Mandela in his quote, “I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent.”

Equally important is the ethical obligation that, as global community members, we continue to do our best for developing regions in our community and around the world, including Africa.

Faisal Rashid is a global community member living in Fort St. John.

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