The North-South UN Debate in Century 21
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Part 2: The South can be heard loudly, even in silence!

I ENDED Part 1 concluding that the North-South dialogue at the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was yet another hard try by developing nations to dialogue with a deaf and dumb North.
But I also pointed out that ‘It doesn’t have to and will not remain so…’ and that ‘…this is not the end for CARICOM and other developing nations,’ but ‘far from it…’
Why? Because just like the world never stops turning, so does the struggle by developing countries, at all levels at home and abroad, irrespective of the obstacles and challenges.
In this case, ever since the age of independence in the 1960s, the Caribbean has had to adjust to changing times and climes at the United Nations, first seeing themselves and being treated like sardines learning to swim among sharks, considered so small and too little to be of consequences, described by the likes of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and French President Charles de Gaulle as “mere specks of dust” on the global landscape.

Likewise African nations that started gaining independence in the 1950s from Britain and France as the burdens of colonialism were becoming too heavy, liberation movements scoring victories across the continent and Europe deciding to take early steps to avoid revolutions by granting colonial independence with limited sovereignty to mineral and resource-rich continental colonies.
The colonial powers granted ‘independence’, while holding on to ultimate power by tying the new nations to the imperial thrones and parliamentary coat-tails and petticoats through imposed Constitutions drawn-up in London and Paris and bequeathed on silver platters to the former colonies.

European colonialism affected the entire world and the United States of America (USA), born in 1776, emerged prematurely (if not forcibly) from the womb of British colonialism on the American continent, its freedom also fought for by enslaved Africans never compensated, though promised, with 40 acres of land and a mule, per family.
A major common denominator uniting most poor and developing countries that comprise the vast majority of the UN’s 193 member-states is colonialism, which left similar and different scars on the backs and bodies of millions of enslaved Africans and Indentured Indian labourers, in the Caribbean and saw prized jewels and artefacts of infinite value stolen, captured or otherwise illegally obtained in and from the colonies, which have ended-up as crown jewels and museum displays in Europe.

Another shared joint inheritance from colonialism is the lifelong scars that have led to the calls by 14 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states (all ex-European colonies and UN members) for Reparations for Slavery and Native Genocide as reparatory justice for the pillage and decimation of people and cultures in the 530 years since the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus accidentally landed in Hispaniola (the island now shared between Haiti and Dominican Republic), naming the islands and the region the ‘West Indies’ after mistakenly believing he’d landed in the western part of India, as described in his copy of Marco Polo’s diary.
The African Union (AU) and CARICOM, as well as India, have common roots in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade started by the Royal British and French African Companies that started Chattel Slavery that led to the common claim by the 14 Caribbean nations on the 13 member states of the European Union (EU) that built empires off and in other ways directly benefitted from the slave trade.

India’s indentured labourers were transported to the Caribbean on the same ships that brought enslaved Africans to the ‘West Indies’ and The ‘Americas’.
Africa, the Caribbean and India have all belonged to the major international bodies established since independence to promote and pursue the causes of the South, from the Non-Aligned Movement to the Group of 77 to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

Caribbean ex-colonies have always belonged to the British Commonwealth and the French Alliance Francaise (AF) groupings, as respective umbilical cords to the former colonial ‘mother countries’, through which multilateral ties are nurtured between the ex-colonisers and colonised.
Caribbean nations have also joined South American nations in more recent regional entities with similar intent such as the PetroCaribe, ALBA and TCP initiatives and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

But here too, like elsewhere, the former colonial powers still running things at the UN and through other major international institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the EU have always used ideological and political yardsticks to measure and guide their attitudes to such groupings.
Today, all these entities – and related others – always find ways to put the needs of the North above and ahead of those of the South and causes of poor and developing nations perennially end-up at the bottom of the global agenda.

But while the former colonisers and new imperial overlords are losing no time taking decisions that set poor and developing nations even further back in time, it’s time for the developing world, with the numbers necessary and backed by their majority control of most of the natural resources the developed world cannot do without, to start taking stock of their collective value to the international trade and economic system.
Be it Oil and Gas or Food, the North’s Energy and Food Security needs today and in the near future are as threatened as the continuation of the very existence of many poor and developing nations, along lines of current global economic and social conditions.

These are realities that have long existed and were only compounded by neglect and the resulting acceleration of negative effects globally, so it’s fruitless to expect the current global political leadership to change or positively adjust.

So: What is to be done? (and) Where to begin?
The challenges are many, but so are the opportunities, including that the South has always been able to and is now even better able to speak loudly, even in silence.

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