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Thank you for visiting my website.  There are seven categories. Please look at the list on the right and click on the one you want to read.  Each category has a list of articles from which you can choose.  Feel free to post your comment in the bubble.

The photo on top is my spouse Muriel on the left and my sister Taeko on the right taken in South Africa.  Picture on the right is me, Tad Mitsui and my cat, George.

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WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN!

WE KNEW BUT DID NOTHING

Many people predicted what we are witnessing today: deadly conflicts, mass migration, and starvation, all due to injustice. We were warned so we knew: humans are not so dumb. Then how come the world did nothing and let the predictions come true. They were preventable. The reason: there was no strong enough political will. Politicians saw lack of interest among their constituencies. We see only short term gain and are willfully blind to reality. Many who cried out and warned about an impending crisis were called bleeding-heart crying wolf and were laughed at.

In 1968, there was a huge UN conference about development in Uppsala, Sweden. I remember it well because it was my first year in Africa and extreme poverty was in front of me. The world came together to discuss development to eliminate inequality and poverty. It warned of dire consequences if the issue was not addressed. There would be conflicts and unrest because of inequality and injustice. Due to advanced technology of mass media e.g. televsion, poor people could see how other world lived and their misery was not normal. They wanted the same thing. It was predicted, consequently there would be uncontrollable and unstoppable mass migration like breached Hoover Dam.

In 1974, there was another big UN conference about imminent food crisis. It was held in Rome, Italy. But one thing I remember very well is Henry Kissinger’s bold promise. He was Secretary of States of the U.S.A. He said: “In ten years, there will be no child going to bed hungry.” Ironically, exactly ten years later, 1984, I was on the way to Geneva, Switzerland, to be a member of the team to coordinate the food aid to Africa. In the 1980’s, in Ethiopia alone about one million people died of starvation.

So here we are in 2016, there are conflicts in the Middle East, drought and starvation in Africa (again), and unstoppable mass migration in Europe.

We have been hearing about the climate change for more than two decades. Record breaking hot summers, melting ice in the Arctic, bigger and bigger forest fires in California and Canadian Prairies. Still there are enough number of people who deny that there is a crisis. They say it comes around every now and then. Don’t worry about the planet earth. It will survive; without us.

“When will we ever learn.” – Bob Dylan

Build a wall between friends not between enemies

WALLS DON’T WORK BETWEEN ENEMIES

Donald Trump wants to build walls between Mexico and the United States and force Mexico to pay for it. Good luck! I just hope and pray that there are enough voters with common sense in the States, so we will never have to worry about that possibility.

Canadian journalist, Marcello di Cintio visited controversial eight walls and wrote a book about them. He, in the introduction, also mentions several historical walls e.g. the Great Wall of China, the Walls built by Roman Emperor Hadrian in Britain, Maginot Line before WW II, and the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. He concludes: “History has not been kind to the old walls. Almost all the historical walls inspire scorn and, when they failed (almost all of them did) ridicule.”

Di Cintio visited and examined more recently built walls, barricades, and fences such as the fence around the Town of Mount Royal in Montreal to keep French speaking people out, the West Bank walls to stop Palestinian terrorists, the one that separates Catholics and Protestants in Belfast, the one between Greeks and Turks in Cyprus, and the Western Sahara wall to keep Saharawi out of Morocco.

His conclusion: none of them have been working, nor have produced results as the builders wanted to. Then how come some people still think they are worth the moey? I guess it’s the price you have to pay when you ignore the lessons from the past.

Granted fences can be good: “Mending the fence,” means repairing a damaged relationship. A fence, in this case, means a respect for individual dignity and privacy. So here is what I think: barriers, fences, and walls work for the better where there is already good relationship existing. But if there is hatred between them, barriers exacerbate a bad situation. Then any separation mechanism never works, because resentment leads people to find ways to circumvent it, or even to tear it down. So work on becoming better neighbours first.

Di Cintio quotes Dr. Seus’ book about the wall between Yooks and Zooks: A Yook grandfather tells the need for the wall, ‘It’s high time you know the terrible horrible thing Zooks do. They eat bread with butter side down. We Yooks eat it with butter side up.” Walls can make enemies out of two good peoples. But good neighbours can build a beautiful fence together to celebrate friendship.