North Africa and the EOC

Revolts in North Africa and the EOC

We asked Luigino Bruni to share his thoughts 

by Antonella Ferrucci

libya_girlWe recently received an e-mail from a young Syrian lady. After having studied economics and finance, having worked for the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on development projects and poverty alleviation in her country, and cognizant of the limited reach of such actions, she continues to hope to do something more effective for her native land. When she came to know about the EoC project and upon recognizing its values, she asked us, "Why can we not do the same for our country?" How can we not think of what is now happening in the Northern African and Middle Eastern countries which is largely due to the youth?

We asked  Luigino Bruni what he thinks of the issue from the point of view of the Economy of Communion.

L.B. While economy seems to be a distant issue as far as what is happening in the Middle East today, where the protagonists are the new media (whoever still has doubts about modern media should do an examination of conscience.), we should not forget that what triggered all the protests in North Africa were the soaring food prices that worsened decades of economic-social crisis in these countries. Such crises are rooted in colonialism, in the management of oil and raw materials, and the complicated relationship among the Arab nations, modernization and democracy.  Let us not forget that economic interests explain the delayed responses of Italy and the West. The fact is, a dictator can go about killing people without anyone hindering him. It is my conviction that in 2011, the sovereignty of States is not unlimited, and the blatant violation of human rights (like killing those who engage in peaceful protests) should be blocked by the international community.

Luigino_Bruni_06

What seems to be very obvious from what is happening these weeks (which is the most important social issue after the fall of the Twin Towers) also has to do with the search for modernization, for a market and for democracy, which is not just a replica of the Western capitalist and individualistic model. This was clear to me during my recent trip to Africa.   I understood that an entire part of humanity, which has remained excluded from economic and social development since the 20th century, is on one hand always attracted to individual wealth and freedom, but on the other hand it also fears losing its own cultural identity and roots.

Although our small Economy of Communion might seem far from these hundreds of thousands of youth who have taken to the streets to protest against the dictators, the truth is, I believe, that whoever works for an economy of communion today is in fact side-by-side with them. There are different ways to fight this battle. We are looking for an alternative way to development -- one that is inclusive, democratic and in communion. The courage and the love of freedom that drives these people to risk their lives, should remind us that we too, want to change the world. We should be ready to risk everything and to give our lives. It is only this kind of radicalness that draws the youth and encourages many others. Otherwise, even the EOC runs the risk of remaining on the sidelines of historical dynamics that count and that change lives.

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