More Water, Less War

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Jeffrey Sachs

Although for some years now in my books I have been including articles, talks, and examples mentioned by the media regarding the tragedy of the war for water—bloody conflicts that have been dragging on around the globe for centuries—it is worth reproducing what Professor of Economics Jeffrey Sachs told "The Guardian" newspaper on April 26, 2009, and which I published in my recent book Jesus, a Dor e a Origem de Sua Autoridade [Jesus, the Pain and Origin of His Authority].

In a text entitled "Stemming the water wars," the director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University reports: "Many conflicts are caused or inflamed by water scarcity. The conflicts from Chad to Darfur, Sudan, to the Ogaden Desert in Ethiopia, to Somalia and its pirates, and across to Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, lie in a great arc of arid lands where water scarcity is leading to failed crops, dying livestock, extreme poverty and desperation."

Mark Knobil

The Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals delivers a serious warning when he says that governments lose their legitimacy vis-à-vis populations when they are incapable of meeting the most basic needs of their people. He says that politicians, diplomats, and generals address these crises as if they were ordinary problems in the administrative or military fields. However, measures for recruiting armies, organizing political factions, combatting local guerrilla leaders, or confronting religious extremism do not achieve the result of supplying communities with water, food, and means of subsistence, which are urgent demands, since the structural challenge has not been resolved. The North American economist also warns: ". . . Water problems will not go away by themselves. On the contrary, they will worsen unless we, as a global community, respond. A series of recent studies shows how fragile the water balance is for many impoverished and unstable parts of the world."

This is a serious warning from Professor Sachs. The joint effort needed for resolving problems like this one is more than urgent, as we observe what is happening in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Water is a basic need, without which life cannot exist. Its fair distribution needs to be above political, religious, economic, and military interests. Only an international mobilization can put an end to the drama being experienced by our Brothers in humanity and, in a short while, by us.

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Alziro Zarur

We must contritely ask for the help of God, of the Christ and of the Holy Spirit when making decisions so we may adopt right measures in a more effective manner in order to achieve a good outcome for such a serious problem, which is ravaging multitudes of people. Alziro Zarur (1914-1979) wisely taught us that "the secret of the government of peoples consists in uniting the Humanity on Earth with the Humanity in Heaven [Spiritual Heights]."

In other words, we need to listen to the components of the (still) Invisible World, through prayer, direct invocation, meditation, or intuition.

José de Paiva Netto is a writer, journalist, radio broadcaster, composer, and poet. He is the President of the Legion of Good Will (LGW), effective member of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI) and of the Brazilian International Press Association (ABI-Inter). Affiliated to the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Union of Professional Journalists of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Writers of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Radio Broadcasters of Rio de Janeiro, and the Brazilian Union of Composers (UBC). He is also a member of the Academy of Letters of Central Brazil. He is an author of international reference in the concept and defense of the cause of Ecumenical Citizenship and Spirituality which, according to him, constitute “the cradle of the most generous values that are born of the Soul, the dwelling of the emotions and of the reasoning enlightened by intuition, the atmosphere that embraces everything that transcends the ordinary field of matter and comes from the elevated human sensitivity, such as Truth, Justice, Mercy, Ethics, Honesty, Generosity, and Fraternal Love.”