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G8 Summit

By jointly declaring that they would double support to African nations and add US$ 1 billion support to Palestine the G8 Summit held in Scotland was ended up the other day.

The maintenance of social infrastructures such as transportation, water and electricity, the vitalization of economic activities such as production, distribution and consumption, the improvement of living environment such as education, medical services and welfare − I have no objection to recognizing that supporting activities to those fields are an important and urgent issue, however judging from my experiences in having actually engaged in the ODA, Official Development Assistance, in the field, I can not efface my frank question 'Will Africa or Palestine be really revitalized by such support?'

A variety of states such as Japan, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank and the various organizations of the United Nations have been offering support by investing enormous funds in so called 'developing countries' from World War II downward, however I have rarely heard some story that the developing countries have gotten well through the support.

The support is effective in its way in pressingly coping with such natural disasters as earthquakes and tsunamis as well as such social disasters as famines and epidemics, however it is no exaggeration to say that the support has almost been powerless against such sustainable development as improving the quality of people's daily life, in other words supporting activities have been able to cure a disease but unable to make the developing countries vigorous, probably will be unable to do so.

One of the popular programs offered by BBC World, covering the world as well as CNN, is 'QUESTION', a studio audience participatory program. In the program a studio debate on Africa was broadcast the other day after the joint declaration of the G8 Summit. Among such radical opinions as 'Africa is not poor, therefore advanced countries have still been exploiting it, haven't they?', one of the participants questioned 'Asia has been developing by itself somehow, why shall Africa depend upon others?' and they had a hot argument on the question for a while but could not come to any clear conclusion.

One of my old friends is a brain surgeon, once he said to me 'The operation result of a patient who attempted suicide is hopeless, because the sewn-up diseased part will not adhere to each other. It seems to me that a living body of a person who has no intention to live is nothing less than dead.'

It may be possible to briefly cure a disease called disaster to some extent, however it suggests that in order to get well self-determination of getting well is indispensable, doesn't it?

In order to make a determination a sense of self-identity, what I am, becomes a premise. One of the invaluable keys to backing the self-identification up is culture as well as cultural assets in which culture is embodied.

It is obvious for everybody that supported countries or regions will be unable to get well, in other words to develop themselves by themselves with their own pride, even though the G8 nations who has one-sidedly been piling up cultural assets which symbolize the identity of African and Asian, e.g. Palestine, people but never reply to the return request from such countries and regions. Japan can not escape the sin because the number of cultural assets Japan has looted is further smaller compared with other G8 nations.

This theme shall be discussed more, hence I never think that I could dismiss the issues. Thinking that I should have raised the issues, I ventured a rough-and-ready essay. Incidentally the Jordan National Museum construction project I have been involved now is one of the ODA financed by the Japanese government.

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