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The population bomb

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									10   Gulf Daily News Thursday, 13th October 2011




 The population
    bomb...
      most
               By HerBert Grimes


TThe worldserious exampleaboutalwaysoff.
  he       population is almost
  scribed as a bomb that is      to go
                            was Paul erlich’s
book The Population Bomb in which the
                                         de-



first three sections were entitled Too Many
                                                    We must stop these
                                                    Sir,
People, Too Little Food and A Dying Planet.
   This is an old concern.
   In 1798, when there were fewer than a bil-
                                                    M       Y maid came home crying
                                                            because her sister had arrived
                                                    the pervious night from Sri Lanka.
lion people in the world, Thomas Malthus                She took her sister to her new
published his famous Essay on Population            Bahraini employer’s home in Galali
in which he was convinced that “the period          – my maid helped bring her for
when the number of men surpass their                them.
means of subsistence has long since arrived”    .       The family told my maid that she
   Last week’s statistics said that the world       is no longer allowed to see her, her
population has grown seven times since              sister will have no days off and will
Malthus’s prediction of apocalypse and the
occasion will, no doubt, be marked by con-          begin working at 5am and finish at
cerns that, this time, the world will not be        11pm or later.
able to feed itself.                                    Is this acceptable? Yes, she came
   The past century has seen a rapid quicken-       here for a better life and I am sure
ing of population growth. It took the world         she is grateful for the job. But this is
population millions of years to reach the first     a cruel and extreme punishment –
billion but only 123 years to get to the sec-           Published letters are not allowing
ond billion, 33 years to get to the third and            not necessarily the  her, who is
only 27 years to get from there to the fifth.            views of the Editor. new here, to
The sixth and seventh billions have taken                Readers wishing to see her sister,
just 12 years each.                                      make a complaint     not giving her
   As medicine has improved and the quality               through the GDN     any days off
of food improved out of all recognition in the        should provide full de- and making
world’s successive agricultural revolutions,           tails of the complaint her work such
life expectancy has grown. A person born in              together with their  long and hard
1800 could expect only to live into his early            contact telephone    hours.
40s. Now he can expect almost twice as long                   numbers.                                                       n Maids deserve humane treatment and better working conditions
                                                                                Why would
a life.                                                                       anyone want
   This evident good news, which is spread-                                                                         is acceptable. And more importantly, can                        because her mother was undergoing treat-
ing around the globe, brings with it concerns       to work in such conditions? What is this maid                   someone please advise me how I can help                         ment.
about the battle over scarce resources, such        to do to receive fair treatment from this fam-                  my maid help her poor sister?                                      Now my wife is here, but her condition is
as water.                                           ily? If she seeks out her embassy’s help, she                                                  Please help                      not well and she insists on bringing her son
                                                    will be accused of “running away”     .                                                                                         on family visa to take care of her.
   There are already 1bn people who have no
access to clean water or electricity. There are         Such inhumane treatment happens all over                    help the children                                                  When I contacted the General Directorate
                                                    Bahrain and the Middle East. Why many Arabs
2.5bn who have no effective sanitation.
   The concerns are made all the more worry-
ing because it is the poor parts of the world
                                                    – I don’t say all – feel their employees don’t
                                                    deserve to see their families or a day off?
                                                                                                                    I SHALL be grateful if you pass my request to
                                                                                                                      authorities to consider it on humanitarian
                                                                                                                    grounds.
                                                                                                                                                                                    of Nationality, Passports and Residence, I was
                                                                                                                                                                                    told that he can’t come on family visa be-
                                                                                                                                                                                    cause he is above 18.
that are growing fastest.                               I don’t understand this part of your culture                   I am a Bahraini and have retired from a key                     I told them that I am a loyal Bahraini and
   Ninety per cent of population growth             and the power this family has to devalue the                    ministry after 32 years. My family has been                     served this beloved country and the gov-
is taking place in developing countries in          poor maid’s life.                                               living with me for about 20 years.                              ernment and that we are ready to defend
Africa and Asia which raises the prospect, in           She has not come here to be treated like a                     One of my sons travelled to Baluchistan,                     Bahrain until our lost drop of blood.
the minds of the alarmed, that destitution          slave, with no rights. With treatment like this,                Pakistan – having valid resident permit – to                       I asked why I can’t bring my son on my
caused by population growth in the Third            why would she attempt to do a good job or                                                     take care of his                  sponsorship. But I was not given a reasonable
World will show itself in demands on immi-          work hard?                                                                                                                      response.
gration into developed countries. The fear                                                                                                        mother whom
                                                        I would like                                                                              I sent there for                     I appeal to authorities to grant family visa
can incite authoritarian solutions such as          two things from
compulsory state birth-control policies.                                                                                                          treatment fol-                    to Bahrainis’ children who are above 18 or
                                                    the Arab read-                                                                                lowing kidney                     citizenship on humanitarian grounds so they
   In fact, the answer to the fears about popu-
lation growth is essentially the same as it         ers – please tell                                                                             problem.                          can live here peacefully and serve the coun-
was in the last years of the 18th century.          me, how this                                                                                     His permit                     try.
   Three years before Malthus wrote,                treatment of                                                                                  expired and he                       Being a loyal Bahraini, I hope authorities
French mathematician and social scientist           another human                                                                                 could not return                  will consider my request favourably.
Condorcet predicted that the problem of
population growth would be solved by rea-
soned human action. Increases in productiv-
ity and better education of the people would
change behaviour and allow the world to              TODAY is Thursday, October 13, the 286th       Sanchez wins Nobel Peace Prize for spon-       1999 - French MPs adopt a law giving           their pioneering use of tiny loans – micro-
                                                     day of 2011. There are 79 days left in the     soring plan to end civil wars in Central       unwed gay and straight couples the same        credit – to lift millions out of poverty.
sustain a greatly enlarged population.               year. Highlights in history on this date:      America.                                       rights previously limited to the married.      2007 - Myanmar’s junta arrests three most
   This is, indeed, what has happened.               1307 – King Philip IV the Fair of France has   1988 – Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz          2000 - The death toll in an attack on a US     prominent political activists, believed to
economic and social development has been             every member of the Templar order in the       becomes first Arabic-language writer to        warship rises to 17 after the navy says the    be among the last leaders remaining at
accompanied by big reductions in birth rates         country arrested, accusing them of heresy      win Nobel Prize for Literature.                10 sailors missing are presumed dead.          large from a student group at the fore-
and the emergence of smaller families as the         and immorality.                                1990 – Christian leader General Michel         2001 - President Hosni Mubarak issues an       front of a 1988 democracy uprising and
                                                     1815 – British occupy South Atlantic is-       Aoun seeks asylum in the French Embassy        order that 83 suspected Islamic militants      protests that started in August.
norm.                                                land of Ascension to prevent Napoleon’s        in Lebanon following attack on his strong-     stand trial in Egypt’s state security court.   2008 - Police fire tear gas at thousands
   As europe and North America underwent             escape from St Helena, the closest island.     hold by Syrian forces.                         2002 - The run-off vote for president of       of pro-Serb Montenegrins who pelt state
industrialisation, this was the pattern they         1860 – The first aerial photograph is taken    1991 – Twenty-one blacks are killed in         Serbia, the dominant republic of the two-      buildings with rocks to protest their gov-
experienced. The period of greatest popula-          from a balloon over Boston in the US.          attacks in South Africa’s black townships.     republic Yugoslav federation, is declared      ernment’s recognition of Kosovo’s inde-
tion growth coincided with the greatest re-          1880 – Transvaal declares independence         1992 – The pyramids, the Sphinx and oth-       invalid after voter turnout reaches 45.5       pendence. At least 34 are injured.
                                                     from Britain.                                  er monuments survive a Cairo earthquake        per cent, necessitating a fresh election.      2009 - Russia pushes back against US ef-
corded growth in living standards.                   1889 – Boers rebel against British in South    that kills 400 and injures 4,000.              2003 - Philippines forces shoot and kill       forts to threaten tough new sanctions if
   That is why economic growth remains               Africa.                                        1993 – A fanatic fan of tennis player Steffi   Fathur Rahman Al Ghozi, allegedly a major      Iran fails to prove its nuclear programme
the key to the population debate. The other          1923 – Ankara, formerly Angora, becomes        Graf is convicted of stabbing her arch-rival   figure in regional terrorist group Jemaah      is peaceful, dealing an apparent setback
great intellectual ferment of the latter years       new capital of Turkey.                         Monica Seles and receives a two-year sus-      Islamiah. He escaped from prison in Ma-        to President Barack Obama’s hopes for
                                                     1937 – Germany guarantees inviolability        pended sentence.                               nila on July 14.                               Moscow’s backing for fresh penalties
of the 18th century was the argument about           of Belgium.                                    1995 – A Dusseldorf court finds four           2004 - Ex-soldiers who toppled presi-          against Tehran.
the merits of free trade, given its most elo-        1943 – Italy, during the Second World War,     young right-wing extremists guilty of          dent Jean-Bertrand Aristide in a deadly        2010 - With remarkable speed – and flaw-
quent expression in Adam Smith’s The Wealth          declares war on Germany, its former Axis       setting a fire to a house in Solingen, kill-   revolt say reinforcements are advancing        less execution – miner after miner climbs
of Nations.                                          partner.                                       ing five Turks in the deadliest attack on      on Haiti’s capital to halt violence that has   into a cramped cage deep beneath the
   It is still true that trade between free na-      1952 – Egypt reaches an agreement with         foreigners in Germany since the Nazi era.      killed 48 people – a move that threatens       Chilean earth, and is hoisted through
                                                     Sudan on Nile waters.                          1996 – A Kurdish faction captures the city     conflict with armed Aristide militants and     2,000 feet of rock and sees precious sun-
tions is the best way of ensuring that the           1968 – The new military government in          of Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq after         UN peacekeepers.                               light after the longest underground en-
ingenuity of enterprising human beings is            Panama names a civilian cabinet.               having lost it to Kurds, supported by Iraqi    2005 - Islamic militants launch a major at-    trapment in history.
harnessed for a growing population. Where            1969 – The Soviet Union sends third            President Saddam Hussein.                      tack on police and government buildings
there are shortages, they are caused by the          spacecraft into orbit in as many days,         1997 – Queen Elizabeth II begins a con-        in the provincial capital of Nalchik in Rus-
                                                     putting seven cosmonauts in space.             troversial visit to India to mark the 50th     sia’s volatile Caucasus region, turning the
poor having inadequate entitlement to food,          1970 – Canada and China say they will es-      anniversary of the subcontinent’s inde-        city into a war zone wrecked by gunfire               THERE are some things one can
not by an overall shortage of food.                  tablish diplomatic relations. Taiwan breaks    pendence from Britain.                         and explosions. At least 49 people, includ-           only achieve by a deliberate leap
   The fact that Malthus has always been             ties with Canada.                              1998 – A gas explosion sets off a pile of      ing 25 militants, are killed.                         in the opposite direction. One has
wrong before does not, in itself, mean he            1985 – Tamil guerillas attack troops in two    gunpowder used to make illegal fireworks       2006 - Bangladeshi economist Muham-                   to go abroad in order to find the
                                                     ceasefire violations in Sri Lanka.             in Tultepec, Mexico, obliterating a two-       mad Yunus and the Grameen Bank he                     home one has lost – Franz Kafka,
must be wrong again. But we have it in our                                                                                                                                                               Austrian author (1883-1924).
                                                     1987 – Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias      block area and killing 10 people.              founded win the Nobel Peace Prize for
power to make him so.

								
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