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
|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.