The World's Deadliest
Place for Children
We're all guilty, especially the rich people.
"Our assistance just lets wealthy Angolans off the hook, as we subsidize their lavish lifestyles.
And let's not forget about Western oil companies that occupy these towers.
They, too, have blood on their hands."
-- Nicholas Kristof
What unsettles me
is the Western role
in this corruption
-- Nicholas Kristof
"What unsettles me is the Western role in this corruption. Western oil companies and banks work closely with Angolan officials, enabling the kleptocracy, and the United States and other governments mostly avert their eyes from the corruption, repression and humanitarian catastrophe.
A generation ago, the United States supported a brutal warlord, Jonas Savimbi, in Angola’s civil war. He lost. Now, because of oil interests, we have allied ourselves with the corrupt and autocratic winner, President José Eduardo dos Santos, in a way that also will also be remembered with embarrassment.
Secretary of State John Kerry visited for two days last year, and, in December, he hailed “the great dividends of our partnership with Angola.”He and other officials have enveloped Angola in a big hug.
“Publicly, the U.S. is mute, or at most tepid, when it comes to the crushing state repression,” noted Leslie Lefkow of Human Rights Watch.Tom Burgis of The Financial Times has a powerful new book, “The Looting Machine,” asserting that firms, including Goldman Sachs and Carlyle Group, backed an oil company called Cobalt in investing in oil operations in which Angolan officials secretly held stakes worth staggering sums.
Likewise, American oil companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips are active in Angola. Groups like the One Campaign have pushed to require international oil companies to disclose sums paid to governments so that the money can be tracked — increasing the chance that it makes it into state coffers and not private pockets. Europe and Canadaare requiring their companies to make these disclosures.
But the American Petroleum Institute is lobbying hard to water down disclosure requirements. The oil industry apparently seeks to sustain an opaque system that has allowed the Angolan president’s family to earn billions even as the country ranks No. 1 worldwide in child mortality rates."
"The Looting Machine’ takes you on a gripping and shocking journey through anonymous boardrooms and glittering headquarters to expose a new form of financialized colonialism. Africa’s booming growth is driven by the voracious hunger for natural resources from rapidly emerging economics such as China. But in the shadows a network of traders, bankers and corporate raiders has sprung up to grease the palms of venal local political elites. What is happening in Africa’s resource states is systematic looting. In country after country across the continent, the resource industry is tearing at the very fabric of society. But, like its victims, the beneficiaries of this looting machine have names.
For six years Tom Burgis has been on a mission to expose corruption and give voice to the millions of Africans who suffer the consequences of living under this curse. Combining deep reporting with an action-packed narrative, he travels to the heart of Africa’s resource states, meeting a warlord in Nigeria’s oil-soaked Niger Delta and crossing a warzone to reach a remote mineral mine in eastern Congo. The result is a blistering investigation that throws a completely fresh light on the workings of the global economy and will make you think twice about what goes into the mobile phone in your pocket and the tank of your car."
by Nicholas Kristof
God needs our cooperation.
God's hope is that you and your children may live.
Re-prioritizing the way we live, and the way we
practice business, is an essential first step.
God is the One who invites us (and empowers us) in our particularity to select the optimal choice for our own flourishing (optimal in terms of maximizing experience, justice, compassion, and love) and for our mutual flourishing; to exist is to be self-determining, inter-connected, and creative to some degree.
We and everything in the cosmos become co-creators with God in fashioning the present (which has primacy) out of the possibilities offered by the future and the constraints received from the past. God’s primary mode of power is persuasive, not coercive. That goes for us too.
- Rabbit Bradley Artson, The Constellation of Process Theology
I do not believe in the up there/out there bully in the sky. I would much rather celebrate the cosmic companion who is creating a universe in which I, and the rest of creation, am invited toward cosmos, connection, justice and love. You already know in your heart what your best choice is at this moment. Yet, even now, you remain free to demur, free to indulge your anger, your pettiness, your hunger, your exhaustion — whatever it is that makes you deviate from the mitzvah that awaits, and your truest, best self, the tzelem Elohim within. But God loves you with an ahavat olam, an abiding love. God bids you to make the best choice and gives you the capacity to make it. “See,” God says, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your children may live.”
-- Rabbi Bradley Artson, God Almighty? No Way!