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New Social Compact

The Quiet Death of Lonmin

Abigail George

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Their souls are silent now. Shot execution style. Flowers do not grow on abnormality.

At first, I saw them everywhere. They had different names besides ‘miners’. Some were vagrants. People who did odd jobs. Some were homeless. Some sold newspapers. Some begged for food. Some sold toys at the traffic light or pretty much anything in order to make a living. Some were garden boys. Yes, in South Africa, we still call grown men ‘garden boys’. I presumed as I had been brought up to believe that they were the masters of their own destiny. The day that Lonmin went down in history, the miners were not quite the masters of their own destiny.

We will never forget the future abandoned. This is what Africa does with revolutionary acts. The miners were people. People who only wanted to be understood but it was deceit that controlled the present. Then the game was up. Then the agenda came. The temptation to distort truth was there alongside the glamour of the international press. Alongside frenzy, there was propaganda too. I am inclined to think and feel very strongly about this, as I am sure all people of colour did. It does not matter what race, what faith, what gender. They changed the world. The miners. They fought for what they believed in. They were bold, brave and brilliant. They dreamed with a kind of certainty about what they wanted not for themselves but for their children.

This is why the miners went to ‘war’. What are the breathing lessons that we learn from war? We inhale death. We exhale inhumanity. War is a nasty business. We did not learn much from Lonmin. Our police followed in the footsteps of the Special Branch that day of the wuthering heights of apartheid. They turned to the literature of the police of apartheid. I can only paint and write about what I see in the post-apartheid world we live in today in South Africa. We live in a land of extremes. Extreme wealth and extreme poverty. Wherever we look there is wrongdoing and corruption at all levels in the spheres of government. We live and believe in the hierarchy of politics because is it not our votes that placed this government into power. In the eyes of the people in power, we do not exist.

They make their own rules. In the end, we are the losers. We want with an irresistible urge things to change. We cannot wait for transformation to take place but how quickly we forget. The zoo parade of the way of life during apartheid when detention, assassination, murder, and imprisonment was the order of the day but we want to believe that there is now a harmony that exists amongst humanity in South Africa not monsters. Death is death and it is not pretty in South Africa. If you have a long memory, you will remember those ghosts. If you are a child, you will remain an innocent. You will visit apartheid in a museum. Perhaps I should not write like this but I look at the world I live like a child. All adults do who have experienced trauma in childhood.

It comes with the history of violence, ghost stories, the major earth, men and women being born with a different texture of hair, the kinkiness of my curls, open parachutes descending like dreams. It comes with having been born learning to welcome the inevitable, the honourable, and conditioned to the universal loneliness of the working classes around us. It comes with being born with a different mother tongue, ordinariness, drink it in, bathe in it, swim in its muddy waters, and stand mesmerised on any shore by its contrariness. The journalists and photographers wearing their Mona Lisa smiles in this volatile region. This colossus comes with being consumed by the habit of looking, living with, surviving danger by habitat and by life. As I write this, I am shattered.

In the process of the days that followed, the miners became warriors. Their wives sang the blues. They danced to the tune of pain. They waltzed to suffering. The sorrows of many spoke to our hearts again. In the weeks that followed the Lonmin case was on television. Fodder. It was a terrifying sacrifice when the volcano people began to speak. I looked at the television screen. On the one hand, it meant nothing to me. On the other, it meant everything. Were they not my estranged brothers and sisters? For example, for years to come if you are a writer, artist, and poet. If you are an African. You are an African if you live in Africa. To the dead I have this to say who were catapulted into another realm from spiritual poverty and victory to another schizophrenic dimension.

The big strings of its orchestration. It comes when a family homes in and start to cry a river and the whole world starts laughing at the macabre of life. It comes with having been raised with a mother, yet another woman, another muse, another goddess. It comes with having been subjected to being called monkeys. These same monkeys riding on your back. A self-portrait. It comes with the flushed curve of your palm, myth, legend, and symbol. Epic. It comes with the pure rhythm of my feet, the snake in my hips. It comes with phenomenally homing in on ancient yet lovely bones in the morgue. Grown up beautifully with peaceful resolutions in the home. Even something like this, like death, a succession of deaths can feed, nurture your imagination.

Your children have to live as you did once. Listening. Oh the tears, the words, the organic observations, the songs exploding into stardom. It comes with watching shadows disappear standing at the water’s edge. It comes with moody blues. Standing on the ground looking up at the sky. Words of a poet, a writer, a documentary filmmaker in slow motion compelling, unique, relevant, fluid, pure while you guess at the intensity behind my words. I am history breathing. Funny how a brush with poverty, with innocence, with flawed human beings, characters everyone on the world’s stage putting everything into perspective. It comes with planting yourself comaed near kindling or a reservoir like a butterfly. It comes with wisdom, grief.

At certain intervals I felt ravished and then sated. It keeps us alive. That what hurts the most. It comes with my version of a lament and an ode. It comes with the intense imagery that inspires men, children and women. Citizens of the world not just a continent. In order for us to become visionaries, our thinking literally has to evolve from a series of compromises. It has to come with the arrival of education, the origins of what was lost in translation. It comes with a feast of novel blueprints on the ego, the intellect, psyche and the brain. Your victory was not a hollow one. Your memory, your struggle, your life, there was glory and depth in all that you did, all that you fought for and it was a gift. I was not prepared for mourning. I do not think that anybody really was.

Abigail George is a feminist, poet and short story writer. She is the recipient of two South African National Arts Council Writing Grants, one from the Centre for the Book and the Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council. She was born and raised in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape of South Africa, educated there and in Swaziland and Johannesburg. She has written a novella, books of poetry, and collections of short stories. She is busy with her brother putting the final additions to a biography on her father’s life. Her work has recently been anthologised in the Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Anthology IV. Her work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She briefly studied film.

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New Social Compact

Lithuania should focus reform efforts on improving quality and efficiency of health services

MD Staff

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Lithuania has made strong progress in reshaping its health system since the 1990s but further reforms are needed to urgently improve the quality of health services and make spending more efficient, according to a new OECD report.

OECD Reviews of Health Systems: Lithuania 2018 says that although health spending, at 6.5% of GDP, is low, the system provides broadly adequate access to care. A well-run health insurance fund covers virtually the entire population and admission rates and physician visits are well above OECD averages.

“Lithuania’s reforms over the past 30 years have created a modern, financially sustainable health system,” said Agnès Couffinhal, Senior Economist in the OECD Health Division, launching the report in Vilnius, with Lithuania’s Minister for Health Aurelijus Veryga and EU Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. “The focus now must be on improving quality and efficiency. Additional resources should be directed to where they will have the most impact on health outcomes.”

Life expectancy is rising slowly, but remains almost six years below the OECD average, with a larger gender gap than in any other OECD country. Women live nearly 11 years longer than men.

Chronic conditions account for the majority of deaths, and excess mortality due to cardio-vascular diseases and suicide are more than double the OECD average.

Fewer adults in Lithuania report being in good or excellent health than in most OECD countries. Only 43% of the population aged 15 years and above reports good or very good health while the OECD average is 68%. Elderly people report particularly poor health.

Many of the deaths which occur before the age of 65 could have been prevented altogether or are due to diseases that could be better treated to avoid fatal  outcomes.

The health system remains too  centred on hospitals, according to the report. Lithuania is still one of the countries with the highest number of beds and hospitalisations per capita in the OECD, and the bed occupancy ratio is below the OECD average in 85% of hospitals. Further restructuring hospitals to ensure complex services are delivered more safely in fewer facilities would improve quality and efficiency.

The modern primary care system already in place must be further challenged to deliver effective interventions which prevent and help manage non-communicable diseases, including poor mental health, and to coordinate care.

Throughout the health care system, the quality assurance culture must be strengthened and stakeholders deliver measurable improvements.

Recent policies to curb harmful drinking go in the right direction but all stakeholders must be more effectively held accountable for progress on public health initiatives.

Greater use of performance data and fostering a culture of policy evaluation of impact would help identify the most efficient way to deliver progress.

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New Social Compact

World’s 100 Most Influential People Working in Gender Policy for 2018

MD Staff

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Marlene Schiappa

Apolitical today announced its inaugural list of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy in 2018. The list honors and celebrates women and men making the world more equitable, whether they exert their influence through policymaking, research, advocacy or however else.

Those in the top 20 include: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Malala Yousafzai, Marlene Schiappa, Katja Iverson, Amina Mohammed, Julia Gillard, Margot Wallström, Justin Trudeau, Caren Grown, Melinda Gates, Michelle Bachelet, Gita Rao Gupta, Marian Baird, Asa Regner, Sadiq Khan, Iris Bohnet, Sarah Degnan Kambou, Maryam Monsef and Gary Barker.

The 100 Most Influential People Working in Gender Policy were curated from nominations from dozens of gender experts from leading organizations, including Women Deliver, Women in Global Health, UNDP, USAID, Together for Girls, the ICRW, the IDB, and the Wilson Center.

The list recognizes pioneering people across seven categories: Public Service, Politics, Academia, Philanthropy, International organisations, NGOs and Advocacy.

Apolitical expect the annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy to highlight what’s working in gender policy, and through the work of those named to provide both a snapshot and a road map for the future of gender policy.

“It’s time to celebrate the people making our societies fairer and better to live in for everybody,” said Apolitical CEO Robyn Scott. “Public servants routinely miss out on the recognition they deserve. This list honors the people doing the work to improve billions of lives.”

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New Social Compact

Emotionism

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Only the existence of Emotions make a human being different from machines. Emotions affect everything we do, coloring every thought and action.

They are an essential ingredient to our lives and our survival. In our societies, there are policies, institutes for every issue either it is good or bad. No one focuses on the emotions of human beings, it includes happiness, sadness, love, patriotism and moments of joy, respect, anger or the determination to achieve something. Although these emotions are universal, they do not depend on languages or any other tool. There are existence of international laws on various issues, applied being the universal one. Then why no one highlights the emotional issues, even if we analyzes all policies and world affairs, all these are based on human behavior.

Happiness, a moment when you forget every sad memory for little time and life looks so perfect. One can feel this by heart. But with the race of acquiring more and more facilities human beings are losing the spirit of being happy in true sense.

Although there is existence of feeling known as sadness, it is there to show the importance of happiness. These emotions are interlinked both are incomplete if any of them is absent. Life is not an easy task to do, it’s a challenge every person in this world is facing in current scenario at different places. Love, being the best of all emotions, feeling of affection.

If we consider the love which is best and most accurate existing in this world is the love of a Mother, it’s everywhere the same. Even if it’s a human or any other living being, its unconditional love, always there to support you and protect you. This emotion can be shared by one’s friends, partners or any other person but it sometimes filled with insecurities. Patriotism, another form of love, the love for your country, motherland. People do sacrifice their lives for the survival of their countries, to show the loyalty with their sacred homelands. They can be uniformed or the others, sacrifice is equally considered.

Respect, an honorable emotion, given to our elders and received by our young ones. It is mostly linked with the Teachers and are considered the best personality in the life of any students. Students respect their teachers with full admiration. Teachers also love their students and sometimes show anger to save them from de-tracking in their lives. They up rise the level of confidence and emotions like self-believing in students which can change a student’s life and can effectively play its role in the prosperity of state. Teachers are the ones who help us to get where we need to go. They show us the realities of life and teaches us to counter these difficulties. Teachers are like the candles, which consumes themselves to brighten the lives of others.

Aims, many people set some goals and aims in their life to achieve them. This emotion is based on motivation and consistency. People do follow some role model and set goals to something specific in their lives. Our history is full of such examples, like Abdul Sattar Edhi, who believed that “No religion is Higher than Humanity” it was the emotion, affection and love towards the human beings and he determined to serve the humanity without the discrimination of race, gender and religion.

Determination, should be like the Founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s confidence as he said, “Failure is word unknown to me” he is the iron man in the list of world famous personalities. Stanley Wolpert writes about Jinnah as “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.”

All human beings are equal, but the thing which make them different is the emotions in them, their will power and their determination. The curiosity to know more and more can makes an ordinary person to an extra-ordinary one and make them like Stephen Hawking and sometimes it results into form of Bill Gates. Human Beings are losing themselves, their emotions are dying and fakeness is covering all of them.  In the current scenario, we need to focus on human emotions, these are more significant and the only possible solution to every problem of this world. For example, terrorism is also spreading due to negative propaganda and psychological tools are used to attract people and recruitment resulting into the spread of terrorism. We need to strengthen the emotions of people. There are climatic issues, this can be eradicated if we introduce the highly qualified seminars to people and tried to arise the emotion of love with environment in human beings, can control nuclear proliferation by spreading love with other states to maintain peace so Emotionism is the best tool to solve every problem. Now, it’s time to use this one. We need to save humans, we need to save the world.

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