Jewish World Review Sept. 4, 2002 / 27 Elul, 5762
Debra J. Saunders
To the moon, Jerry
LAST WEEK, as Oakland claimed its 74th murder
victim this year, Mayor Jerry Brown and City
Manager Robert Bobb were in Johannesburg at the
U.N. Earth Summit.
Brown apparently went to tell the world media that
there are two Americas, "the America of George
Bush, of isolation and retreating from cooperation
with the nations of the world" as he told the London
Independent and "the America of cities and states
who are aggressively pursuing efforts to meet our
Back here, there are two Oaklands, one where
residents feel as safe (and unsafe) as ever even as
the murder toll threatens to reach 100 for the first
time since 1997. (Saturday claimed Oakland's 75th
murder victim.) And the other Oakland where armed
thugs have terrorized neighborhoods and shattered
And Moonbeam's in Johannesburg talking up solar
The U.N. summit has been a farce from the get-go.
As the confab convened, The Sun (of London) wrote a
wicked expose on the lavish spreads, which included
5,000 oysters, more than 1,000 pounds of lobster
and shellfish, 4,440 pounds of steak and chicken
breasts and more than 1,000 pounds of bacon and
sausages. The headline read: "Lobsters, caviar and
brandy for MPs (Members of Parliament) at summit
"Money is no object," the head chef of the five-star
Michelangelo Hotel had confided to the paper. And:
"Whether (attendees) want Beluga caviar, foie gras or
bacon sandwiches -- we have it all."
Tory MP Teddy Taylor got it right when he told the
Sun, "I'm sure nothing will be achieved at the meeting
except for the photo opportunities allowing politicians
to say how great they are."
And he probably doesn't know Jerry Brown.
But the problem with the Summit wasn't the
hypocrisy of lobster and caviar at a conference, it
was the premise. The very idea of the conference --
the decision to define famine and squalor as a
function of other countries' prosperity -- doomed it to
Even before the lobster was delivered, participants
were putting down countries that can and do feed
themselves, while putting on a pedestal countries
ravaged by famine -- even where the famine was often
the result of corrupt, dysfunctional governments.
Gar Smith of the San Francisco-based Earth Island
Institute typified that attitude when he said from
Johannesburg that "there is a lot of quality to be had
in poverty." He also said he "had seen villages in
Africa that had vibrant culture and great communities
that were destroyed by the introduction of electricity."
Again, development: bad; other people doing without:
Smith told the New York Daily News that he salutes
Zambia for turning down corn donated by the United
States because it is genetically modified. No matter
that 2.5 million Zambians are expected to need U.N.
World Food Program grain this year. (President Levy
Mwanawasa says the food is toxic. In fact, studies
have never shown GM corn to be unsafe -- even if
some environmentalists fear that growing the corn
could spread its DNA where it doesn't belong.)
"If it were me, I wouldn't let it in my country," Smith
said. "There are other ways to deal with starvation.
We don't have to send them genetically modified
food. We could just give them the money."
Translation: Let them eat quarters.
Alas, some Zambians aren't on Smith's page -- as in
Josephine Namagolwa, a starving villager who stood
outside a warehouse of undistributed grain wracked
with hunger and anger. "We are dying here," she
said. "We want to eat."
I guess some people just don't appreciate the quality
and vibrant culture of starvation.
Or the benefits of relying solely on solar power.
Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.
08/30/02: Gold medal in meddling
08/28/02: The summit isn't sustainable
08/23/02: Your tax dollars on drugs
08/19/02: San Francisco, the city of outrageousness, has done it again! Beware and be aware, America
08/16/02:Fraternite, liberte, envy
08/14/02: Academia's swindle
08/12/02: Humane or inane?
08/09/02: See Dick talk
08/07/02: Gore, the Messiah
08/02/02: The compassionate curriculum
07/31/02: No order in the court
07/30/02: West takes on east in the drug war
07/26/02: PC coffee 'brewhaha' Spineless in Seattle
07/24/02: No wonder the rest of the country has been known to sneer at California
07/22/02: Hail, little Caesar
07/19/02: Doctor of the Universe?
07/17/02: Johnny goes to prison
07/15/02: To win or not to win
07/12/02: A paradise for moderns
07/10/02: Hate crime, terror and murder
07/03/02: "Good things" in stir
06/24/02: True justice
06/21/02: How Davey saved California
06/19/02: Delusions of suppression
06/17/02: The Court's on trial
06/14/02: A real-life Mrs. Cleaver
06/12/02: California crude
05/31/02: FBI, investigate thyself
05/28/02: Your tax dollars on drugs
05/24/02: The Bible and the stripper
05/22/02: Who knew?
05/20/02: A modern modest proposal
05/19/02: Euros could don white hats
05/13/02: Home of the brave -- oops, scratch that
05/10/02: Colorblind U
05/08/02: License to spend
05/06/02: Conservatism can survive despite liberal bias
05/03/02:A speech like air kisses
05/02/02: Bush should end bad sentences
04/29/02: Get ready America, California is gettin' into the slave reparations business
04/26/02: Saudis' money for martyrs
04/24/02: Oooh la la, Le Pen
04/15/02: Drill Alaska -- for the children
04/11/02: A good marriage with an esteemed soul mate -- well, nothing beats it
04/09/02: Tied up and Taliban
04/05/02: No justice in reparations
04/01/02: Schools, yes; fat police, no
03/25/02: The government-induced doctor shortage
03/22/02: Conservative hypocrisy on school drug testing?
03/20/02: And now, about Russell Yates . . .
03/18/02: Bush isn't worried about alienating loyalist voters
03/13/02: No exit strategy
03/11/02: Simon hits the big time
03/06/02: He got away
03/01/02: Mary, Luke, Paul, John and Noah
02/25/02: These are good days for veep
02/21/02: Dirty bill for a dirty mess
02/19/02: Score one for Greta
02/15/02: Dose of justice needed here
02/08/02: Sunshine all around
02/04/02: Does citizenship matter?
02/01/02: End the coverup
01/30/02: Try this for "troubling"
01/25/02: Camp X-ray or Club Med?
01/23/02: Let's stop the deluge of porn e-mail
01/21/02: No 'Little Boy Lost'
01/16/02: Son of Supercar
01/12/02: Beware the European view of the death penalty
01/09/02: Other people's children
01/07/02: It doesn't fly
01/03/02: Going from the Atlantic City Boardwalk to Berkeley
12/31/01: In America, punishment should fit the crime
12/28/01: What I'd like to see in 2002
12/24/01: Don't heckle ink monopolists
12/21/01: Mumia finds safety in numbers
12/19/01 The self-help PBS shopping network
12/17/01 Caught on tape
12/14/01 Know when to hold 'em
12/10/01 Old friends
12/06/01 I read the news today, oh boy
12/03/01 It's not cricket
11/28/01 Admissions and omissions
11/26/01 Guns and abayas
11/21/01 Depraved minds think alike
11/19/01 Guilty, a la carte
11/14/01 Interpreting the entrails of Election 2000
11/12/01 Life and liberty
11/09/01 Safety is as safety does
11/07/01 More hot air on global warming
11/05/01 Bumped Pakistani's molehill
11/01/01 Freedom snuffed out
10/29/01 Give war a chance
10/26/01 Airline bill needs liftoff
10/22/01 The Riordan Principle
10/19/01 Before America gets tired of the war on terrorism
10/17/01 Patriot games
10/15/01 I was a 'McCainiac,' and I have seen the light
10/12/01 University of Censorship's fall semester
10/11/01 Poor little rich boy, Osama
10/07/01 Don't feed Israel to the beast
10/05/01: bin Laden is not our Frankenstein monster
10/04/01: Where no man has gone before
09/26/01: Who's bloodthirsty?
09/26/01: What's to understand?
09/20/01: Barbara Lee's line in the sand
09/14/01: You gotta love this country
09/13/01: ENTER TERROR
09/11/01: You can't clone ethics
09/06/01: NOW's goal: equal rights for women without equal responsibility
08/30/01: What's love got to do with it?
08/24/01: A clean, well-lighted place for junkies
08/20/01: Bush should stand up for justice
08/08/01: Don't give Peace (Dept). a chance
08/03/01: Lose a kid, pass a law
08/01/01: Welcome to France, killers
07/30/01: Why it's easy being green (in Europe)
07/26/01: If disabled means expendable
07/23/01: Condit should not resign
07/18/01: Feinstein should learn her limit
07/16/01: A drought of common sense
07/13/01: The catalog has no clothes
07/05/01: It's Bush against the planet
07/03/01: The man who would be guv
06/29/01: Wheeled, wired and free
06/27/01: O, fearful new world
06/25/01: End HMO horrors
06/21/01: Either they're dishonest or clueless
06/18/01: Freedom is a puff of smoke
06/15/01: In praise of going heavy: Yes, you can take it all
06/13/01: McVeigh: 'Unbowed' maybe, but dead for sure
06/11/01: Gumby strikes back
06/08/01: Los Angeles' last white mayor?
06/07/01: Kids will be kids, media will be media
06/04/01: Draw a line in the sand
05/30/01: Just don't call him a moderate
05/29/01: Operation: Beat up on civil rights
05/24/01: Of puppies, kittens and huge credit-card debts
05/22/01: Bush needs an energy tinkerbell
05/18/01: Divided we stand, united they fall
05/16/01: Big Bench backs might over right
05/15/01: Close SUV loophole
05/11/01: Kill the test, welcome failure
05/09/01: DA mayor's disappointing legacy
05/07/01: If it ain't broken ...
05/03/01: They shoot civilians, don't they?
04/30/01: Executions are not for prime time
04/12/01: White House and the green myth
04/10/01: The perjurer as celeb
04/04/01: Bush bashers don't know squat
04/02/01: Drugging our oldsters
03/30/01: Robert Lee Massie exercises his death wish
03/28/01: Cheney's nuclear reactor
03/26/01: Where California and Mexico meet
03/16/01: Boy's sentence was no accident
03/14/01: Soft money, hard reform
03/12/01: Banks, big credit lines and consumer bankruptcy
03/09/01: Free speech dies in Berkeley
03/02/01: When rats have rights
02/28/01: Move a frog, go to jail?
02/26/01: They knew they'd get away with it
02/20/01: How Dems define tax fairness
02/16/01: The jackpot casino Carmel tribe?
02/14/01: You can fight school success
02/12/01: Hannibal -- with guts this time
02/08/01: A family of jailbirds
02/05/01: Reality's most demeaning TV moments
02/01/01: Justice for the non-Rich
01/26/01: Hail to the chiefs of D.C. opinion
01/24/01: A day of mud and monuments
01/22/01: Diversity, division, de-lovely D.C.
01/19/01: Parties agree: Give back the money
01/17/01: Get tough with the oil companies, or forget pumping more Alaskan crude
01/15/01: Mineta better pray that no attending confirmation senator has ever driven to San Jose during rush hour
01/12/01: Europeans should look in the mirror
01/10/01: Dems' reasons for dissin' Dubya's picks
01/08/01: Jerry, curb your guru
01/03/01: A foe of Hitler and friend of Keating
12/28/00: Nice people think nice thoughts
12/26/00: The Clinton years: Epilogue
12/21/00: 'Tis the season to free nonviolent drug offenders
12/18/00: A golden opportunity is squandered
12/15/00: You can take the 24 years, good son
12/13/00: Court of law vs. court of public opinion
12/08/00: A salvo in the war on the war on drugs
12/06/00: Don't cry, Butterfly: Big trees make great decks
12/04/00: Florida: Don't do as Romans did
11/30/00: Special City's hotel parking ticket
11/27/00: No means yes, yes means more than yes
11/22/00: The bench, the ballot and fairness
11/20/00: Mendocino, how green is your ballot?
© 2000, Creators Syndicate