I support the BLM campaign, but BAME lives seem to matter less when they are the lives of people living in poor countries – look at any news channel and compare the coverage given to relatively low impact disasters in the USA compared to events that kill thousands in Africa or Asia. Why aren’t more of us protesting about our complicity in selling arms and providing training to the murderous regime in Saudi Arabia to enable them to prosecute the humanitarian disaster that is the war in Yemen? Why do we tolerate the US and UK Government using drones to murder people we are not at war with, without legal process, and with reckless disregard for civilian casualties? Why do we vote for Governments that maintain our rich country privileges by increasingly draconian measures to keep refugees (many from wars that the US and UK initiated) outside our borders? We are right to protest against racism at home and abhor the abuses of the past, but we still buy cheap clothes produced in appalling conditions by workers paid a pittance. We cling to our high consumption lifestyle, reducing greenhouse gas emissions just enough t save ourselves, but never contemplating cuts that are steep enough to allow the poorest nations to enjoy even a fraction of the wealth that we thoughtlessly squander. We don’t even question the ethics of COVID 19 measures that are causing a global recession that will cost millions of young lives across the planet in order to add a few years to the life spans of a few hundred thousand mostly old people in rich countries.
Those of us living in rich countries are all guilty of maintaining our comfortable life styles by taking a grossly unequal share of the world’s wealth while keeping the poor powerless and firmly outside the barbed wire. Now that the environmental limits to consumption are clear, we can no longer argue that the lifestyles we enjoy will eventually trickle down to everyone. We may join the odd protest and try to consume ethically, but to the best of my knowledge, no rich country has ever elected a Government that was seriously committed to reforming the current world order. It may make us feel good to overthrow the statues of those who committed vile crimes in the past, but our ‘woke’ feelings of moral superiority rest on very shaky foundations – our descendants may be just as keen to tear down any monuments we leave behind.