Wednesday, October 22, 2003

For the Betterment of All

The recent Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit, like all similar summits, turned out to be another metaphor of the reality of the economic reforms. An article in Washington Post described the ground realities behind the meeting of the leaders (who, naturally, were discussing how to eradicate the poverty in the world):

"BANGKOK, Oct. 20 -- This city of 10 million, known for its endless traffic jams and teeming street life, has been spruced up and locked down in preparation for the 21 leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum that starts Monday. The cleanup has included barring thousands of street vendors from the central city, shipping 10,000 homeless people to army camps and banning more than 500 human rights activists from entering the country.

About 600 Cambodian beggars, mostly women and children, were rounded up and airlifted back home on C-130 Hercules military aircraft. About 3,000 stray dogs were caught and shipped to the countryside. And a banner four stories high and a quarter-mile long, displaying an image of the Grand Palace royal compound, was erected to conceal a slum community that leaders might have otherwise glimpsed...."

While the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad may be refering only to the developing countries ("We are ready to be exploited, but we must be exploited fairly"), but apparently it applied more accurately to these un-people...

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