A mere five to six years ago, the literacy rate in Malawi was at 62 per cent for the entire population, with that for females at 50 per cent. That African state is blessed with an abundance of unexploited deposits of uranium, limestone, bauxite and coal. There are massive acreages of arable land and an abundance of fish and fresh water.
Yet, in 2009, it remained one of the poorest countries in the world with an adult prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS of 11 per cent. Some 920,000 people were livingwith the disease at that time, with 51,000 deaths reported that year.
Add to that malaria, plague, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, water pollution, improper sewage and industrial waste disposal, and the problems there are major up to this day.
Mali, a country rich in gold, uranium, hydropower, salt, phosphates, granite, gypsum, iron ore, copper and bauxite, is one of the poorest in the world. Half the country lives below the poverty line. The World Health Organization has previously stated that 28 per cent of Malian children under age five were underweight in 2006.
Mali has a literacy rate of 26 per cent for the entire population, with the female literacy rate worse than that.
Zimbabwe has a high literacy rate –– reputed to be about 90 per cent. It also possesses gold, copper, platinum group metals, lithium and coal, among several other resources. But it is one of the poorest in the world, with unemployment as high as 92 per cent. Most Zimbabweans reportedly live on less than $1.50 a day.
The prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS was at 14 per cent a few short years ago, with malaria, bacterial and protozoal diarrhoea, rabies, corruption and poor governance adding to the people’s hardship.
The Central America nation of Honduras is the crime capital of the world. The murder rate, which rises every year, was the highest in the world in 2013. Murderers and other violent criminals are rarely brought to justice.
It is unsurprising that the crime detection rate in Honduras is two per cent. The legal system is largely ineffective as a consequence of widespread corruption and abuses.
In 2012, the Honduran Congress dismissed four Supreme Court judges and then passed legislation empowering itself to remove justices and the attorney general, thus further compromising judicial and prosecutorial independence.
Between January, 2011, and November, 2012, police killed 149 civilians, including 18 individuals under age 19. A former state official, Alex Villanueva, said there were likely many more killings by police that were never reported.
Journalists, who dare to highlight the inequities of Honduran society, are an endangered species. According to Honduras’ National Human Rights Commission (CONADEH), 36 journalists were killed between 2003 and mid-2013, and 29 killed while President Porfirio Lobo was in office between 2010 and 2014.
In 2013, German Enamorado, the government’s special prosecutor for human rights, said that in the first five months of that year he had opened more than 400 cases into police abuse, misconduct and murder. The previous year he had 300 cases.
In 2012 the United States Congress cut direct funding to the Honduran police after allegations that its new leader had ties to death squads and a record of human rights abuses.
In Syria, violence has run rampant since March, 2011. A brutal civil war has seen the equivalent of Barbados’ entire population killed. The United Nation’s Refugee Agency has estimated that more than four million people have fled Syria
to neighbouring countries, with the majority being children. Thousands who escaped Syria, leaving homes and other worldly possessions behind, are seeking refuge across Europe.
Meanwhile in Barbados, the police detection rate of serious crime is so high that that alone should act as a deterrent for morons who persist with their criminality. The literacy rate in Barbados is reportedly at 98 per cent, even though contributing more to one’s own education has evoked near hysteria.
There are no routine extrajudicial killings by state officers, no threat to the livelihood of journalists, no mass exodus of minorities seeking refuge or asylum elsewhere. Social services work and politicians walk unprotected through our streets.
But there is a work-to-rule at the Schools Meals Department because the eight hours between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. are seemingly different from the eight hours between 9 a.m. and 5 a.m. –– and perhaps those between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. Disquiet is present because workers do not want to return to their substantive posts, the kitchen area is hot, and some staffers want to leave before their scheduled time of departure.
At the Central Bank of Barbados, staffers are off the job because of the appointment of another citizen to a higher paying post that reportedly has placed none of their jobs in jeopardy.
And, PSV owners are threatening disruption of a social service as a means of acquiring increased bus fares and duty-free concessions, due to increased insurance costs and because recalcitrant operators are being fined too heavily in the law courts for their traffic violations
Yes, our world is beset with unimaginable turmoil!