Sunday, February 1, 2009

Speaking Truth to the Rich and Mighty

It was unclear from Tim Weber's wrap-up account of the World Economic Forum (WEF) filed from Davos for BBC NEWS whether or not Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the final speaker on the program. Nevertheless, Tutu may have hit on the most appropriate last words for the whole affair:

We spend billions on banks when we know that a fraction of this money could save all the children in the world.

I can think of no better conclusion for this five-day departure from any sense of reality by the rich and mighty. Tutu reminded both attendees and the world at large that, where the poor or concerned, the whole show is still run by faithful disciples of Marie Antoinette's let-them-eat-cake principles of wealth-sharing. Perhaps the harshness of the reality that Tutu brought to the stage in Davos was enough to shake WEF founder Klaus Schwab into acknowledging that "word that dare not speak its name" by recognizing the need for reform in the "final benediction" he delivered to his Davos guests. I, for one, would have preferred a more Catholic approach to closing this ceremony. In my (unauthorized) translation of the Latin text, the Priest concludes by declaring, "The Mass is over," to which the congregation replies, "Thank God!" Amen to that.

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