Four decades on this planet have afforded me few truths, albeit strong ones, and none more so than my parents’ favourite refrain, summed up with “You must get an education”, no doubt stemming from their desire to give me a rosy economical future. My conclusion, though, is that getting and imparting an education is the only salvation this poor world of ours has.
Most of the woes we are witness to stem from ignorance – it’s a lack of education that allowed an imbecile Prime Minister to rule for over a decade and ravage my poor country, it’s a lack of education that pushes to the forefront caricatures like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry, mouthpieces of one bite asinine statements with no bearing in fact, that are nonetheless treasured as truth. It’s a lack of education that make throngs of Chinese people believe that rhinoceros’ horns powder cures all kind of ailments, prompting a poaching market that has left innocent rhinos to bleed to death all over Africa. Again it’s a lack of education that allows some tribal societies to stone women, kill homosexuals, keep girls from schooling and the list goes on.
No corner of this planet is immune or unhampered by it and the efforts to teach, whether basic literacy or common sense to lunatics, have come to a perilous halt. Then again, it might all boil down to the economy. In Western nations, painful cuts are affecting institutions of learning from kindergartens to universities. Impoverished masses battling starvation in the Horn of Africa are using whatever little resources they have to stay alive, forget learning to read.
A few days ago, one of the young members of my team asked me if Italy had beaches. I sat down, grabbed a napkin and drew a crude map of the boot surrounded by seas. He is a bright kid and will never forget it and maybe will pass along that information to somebody else. Ignoring the existence of the Amalfi coast will not necessarily be detrimental in the big scheme of a life but believing that global warming is pumped up fiction or that Adam and Eve walked with dinosaurs is disastrous to the bottom line of a country that is not so slowly losing its leading edge, aided and abetted by the moral collapse of those who do have an education but prefer to not know or to look the other way for selfish reasons and a lack of care for those suffering.
I come from a Roman Catholic country, where the Church ruled supreme for centuries on a myriad of states with a simple trick – keep the masses in the dark. It seems like clever politicians and rulers the world over are perpetuating this crime with impunity. The Arab Spring is a mere drop in the ocean of collective awakenings – with the approaching of banned books week, it seems what we need more than ever, it’s those very same banned books of lore and new ones currently lost in the cacophony of survival.