The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Inequality Truths: Guest Blog

Greg Barron
Recently I had the good fortune to meet Greg Barron, an Australian author of three books.  The plot of his first book, Rotten Gods, involves an extremist hijacking of a conference centre.  The book is set slightly into the future, where climate change has become readily apparent, affecting the poor of Africa and elsewhere.  Greg did a lot of research for his book including travelling into the Horn of Africa, where he clearly saw the inequalities of the world.  I asked him how his understanding of inequality changed as a result of his research for his book?  Here is his reply:

I’d always understood that society is not equal. Everyone knows that there is a wide spectrum of economic standing ranging from billionaires to the truly destitute. What changed, for me, was an understanding of the truths that hide behind the statistics.

Through the necessary research for Rotten Gods I discovered just how many humans occupy the poverty stricken end of the scale, and this understanding came through travel in the Middle East, Asia and East Africa. When we read that 80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day it tells a story, but doesn’t evoke sympathy like a mother begging for money to feed the skeletal child she holds in her hands, or shanty towns, with endless row after row of makeshift housing, or children sifting through rubbish at a dump for food.

I also learned that financial comparisons can be meaningless. The buying power of money is hugely variable. You can buy a rice and curry meal from a street vendor in Yangon for the equivalent of fifty cents, then walk into the centre of the city and spend fifty times that amount for a similar meal at a restaurant frequented by Western aid workers and travellers.

Through my research I came to understand that many of the economic and legal systems in place, throughout the world, have the effect of either maintaining inequality or widening the gap. The rich are able to use the system to protect their wealth and power, the poor have no such ability.

Not all inequality is economic, in many countries certain races or religious groups also suffer political discrimination. This has been the case, in several different ways, with the Shia and Sunnis in Iraq. The massacre in Rwanda came about because the Hutu majority was tired of being repressed by the Tutsi minority.

Inequality can be gender-based. In some cases, such as most Arabic states, and to a lesser extent, Western countries, one gender has an unfair stranglehold on most of the wealth and power.

Some groups, such as the Rohingyas, have no political or economic power at all.

Inequality underpins so much of the violence and conflict in the world today. From Syria to Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen, I personally believe that inequality is a more pressing concern for the human race than even Climate Change. History tells us that inequality ultimately becomes instability. The Arab Spring, London Riots and even the Occupy movement that spread across the West a few years ago are just early signs of what is yet to come.

All people, everywhere, will fight for a better life, and the informative power of the internet is showing the destitute that better lives are possible.

I wrote Rotten Gods as a work of fiction, but I wrote it angrily, in the spirit of wanting to change the world. It hasn’t worked yet, but I’m still hoping.

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