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The state of the world. Damned with faint praise.

You'd need to be living under a rock not to know about the problems in Iraq at the moment. You may have even heard about problems in places such as Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe. Sadly, these places are by no means the only places in the world with internal problems. Over the last couple of mornings, whichever radio station Bec has us tuned into has had stories from the military dictatiorship in Burma/Myanmar. It has finally been referred to the UN security council, with an American spokesman saying, "The best thing I can say about them is that they're not trying to build nuclear weapons."

If ever the phrase "damned with faint phrase" could be used, it's in that statement. Kinda like saying, "well, ok, they're destroying the environment, wiping out endangered species, dispossessing minorites and killing large numbers of their own people...but at least they aren't trying to wipe other countries off the map."

So this is where we are. 80 years after the internecine War to end all Wars. 60 years after an horrific genocide after which humanty vowed never again. Not nearly long enough since any given tragedy in too many places in the world. And "the best thing..."

Ignoring contenscious ethical/medical debates, such as euthanasia, I have a simple equation for all policy makers and reporters:

1 life = 1 life = 1 life

Not dependent on nationality. Not dependent on race. Not dependent on gender. Not dependent on station.

A year ago Monday, Rebecca and I celebrated the happiest day of her life our lives. During this time, we did two things which are seemingly out of character with the happiness of the day. I (eventually) broke a glass - to symbolise the death and destruction in the world, even during times of great joy. We asked our guests to make a donation to Care in lieu of a gift, with the money raised going to provide emergency relief funding in the Darfur region of Sudan - we did this because, even though we are happy and safe, there are others who need help and safety and security and a long list of other things.

What then, to make of this piece on the still-worsening crisis. We might once have had a "never again" approach. We can't even say "not at the moment".

And that's the state of the world.

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"Mark - the first week"

"Mark - part 2"

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