Recently, a woman walked into her bank in Beirut, with what appeared to be a toy gun, and demanded that she be allowed to withdraw around $13,000 of her own money. She said she needed the money to help fund her sister’s cancer treatments.
Savings accounts in Lebanon have been frozen since 2019 except for limited withdrawal amounts. It is just one of many similar incidents in a country suffering from a long and devastating depression which, according to the BBC, has led to poverty levels reaching more than 80% of the population.
In the United States, that “shining city on a hill”, a cavalcade of refugees seeking a better life for themselves and their children have been dropped off at Martha’s Vineyard and elsewhere by the governments of Texas and Florida. . Many of them ended up in New York, no doubt to read what is engraved on a plaque at the foot of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe freely.
I wonder if Florida Governor Ron DeSantis asked the owner of Mar-a-Lago if there was room to house these poor people now that so many boxes of classified documents have been returned to the National Archives. the United States.
This week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed world leaders at the opening session of the General Assembly, its first plenary meeting since 2019, and told them the world was ” mired in a colossal global dysfunction”. António Guterres highlighted the serious financial crises in so many countries; extreme poverty and lack of quality education for children; increase conflicts; social media platforms “that monetize outrage, anger and negativity”; and let’s not forget the climate emergency. “Our world is in peril and paralyzed,” he said.
Here at home, more than 80 times this summer, Ontario hospitals had to close their emergency departments due to a lack of staff. In a shocking Toronto Star article, a tally was taken and determined that at 17 hospitals, the closures “usually lasted between 12 and 2 p.m. and took place overnight. Some lasted a full 24 hours. An emergency in Perth had such a shortage of staff that it was forced to close for three weeks. According to the Star, these closures represent more than 1,700 hours of inaccessible emergency medical care.
How did we get here in human history? We are so lacking in leadership in the face of undeniable calamities, all of which can be dealt with – but are instead pushed aside, left to simmer, exploited. When people can’t get their money back, when desperate families are used for political gain, and when hospitals can’t function properly because a government hasn’t funded a viable health care system, then we stand on the brink. of social collapse.