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Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Friday, December 28, 2007

Kenya's Election and Pakistan's Violence

As we write here in Brooklyn, it is 10:30 in the evening. That makes it 6:30 Saturday morning in Nairobi, Kenya, where ballots are still being counted in Thursday's presidential election. The opposition candidate Raila Odinga is somewhat ahead presently, but the results are too close to call yet. The voting process was pretty uneventful, with only modest violence, and international observers reported little sign of fraudulent activity. There was a brief hiccup when Mr. Odinga was turned away from his own polling place because his name could not be found on the register. But he calmly visited the local officials and learned that a new system of alphabetizing was being used so that he should have been directed to a different line; he returned and was able to cast his ballot. Otherwise, millions of Kenyans stood in miles-long lines for hours to exercise the privilege of selecting their nation's leader. No one complained about the wait.

Perhaps you've heard all this on some newscast or other, but we pay it special attention here as an offset to the horror in Pakistan. A colleague in my office is from there; she was distraught yesterday and explained that every day is filled with the kinds of violence we saw directed at Ms. Bhutto. "There is no system to promote security for anyone," says Sadaf, "and the ordinary people face danger all the time."

These two contrasting situations make us think about the Millennium Development Goals. The goals themselves say nothing about law and order, but the UN's supporting material is quite clear. According to the page "About the MDGs: the Basics" on the website of the United Nations Development Programme, the goals "acknowledge that development rests on the foundations of democratic governance, the rule of law, respect for human rights and peace and security; . . ."

So we wish the Kenyans well and hope they can set an example for the rest of the emerging world; a peaceful election and a firm footing for a new government are key steps in moving even the weakest up and out of daily anguish and poverty. And most of all tonight, we reach out in prayer to the people of Pakistan. This is paraphrased a bit from A New Zealand Prayer Book (page 637):
Universal and unchanging God,
we are one, unalterably one,
with all the human race.
Grant that we who are all made in your image
may, through your unifying Spirit,
break down the walls that divide us.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is good to remember that there is hope in the world -- it is so daerk i soe palces, but there are always places of light, too. BOth are true, and we all experience both wherever we are on the globe.

And I am always awed by the respect and passion people who have not had the freedom to vote display for their franchise. We in America should take note, and thank God for what we take for granted.

12/29/2007 10:45 AM  

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