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READERS' CORNER - NGOs and St Patrick´s.

From 100 pesetas of coffee, 87 are for northern rich countries, 10 go to intermediaries from countries in the South and only 3 pesetas are for peasants*
PRUDEN MARQUINEZ tells us the truth about North-South economic relations and explains what we can do to change things


 Do you think that it is a fact that from 100 pesetas of coffee, 87 are for northern rich countries, 10 go to intermediaries from countries in the South and only 3 pesetas are fur peasants*?. So, it is. (Facts from: "Geography of the World Supermarket " by Francesco Gesualdi)
 This is a demonstrative example -not only an isolated case- of how the world economy is based on the exploitation of the majority of the population, although, fortunately, we are some of the people that benefit.
 There are United Nation's reports denouncing the situation of 200 million children all over the world that work almost like slaves*. Their hands make the balls our daughters and sons play with, or the carpets that adom our homes. Is it possible to change reality? Who knows? Anyway, it is an obligation to try it if we want to live or enjoy a more humane and kinder world . The solution to this problem is not only a matter of money, mentalities and economic structures have importance too, but it is clear that the more money we have, the more money we have to give.
 How much? 0.7% It is not much money, but to start it is better than nothing. NGOs are associations and organizations that try to solve these problems. According to their points of view, they give and make proposals in order to eradicate poverty injustices or armed conflicts.
 But which one to choose? One necessary condition should be that the NGO has signed the behaviour* code approved by the NGO Coordinator of Spain. This code guarantees, among other things, that its members have got some minimal ethical requirements. Also, it would be desirable that NGOs promote a real change in the economic, social and political structures. In this way, it is important to make a difference between solidarity and charity: "Unlike solidarity, which is horizontal and it is practised between equals, charity is practised from above downwards, it humiliates the person who receives it and never alters power relations, not even a bit. In the best of cases, there might be justice, but high in heavens. Here, on the earth, charity does not disturb injustice, it only aims to hide it". (Extract from : "The World Upside Down " by E. Galeano)
  We can find lots of projects and organizations to support. One example: the project that Mugarik Gabe is encouraging in order to promote the audiovisual autonomy of the Bolivian Audiovisual Indigenous Council. It is a way of empowering* indigenous groups and make them conscious about their rights.
 Punctual financial support is the easiest way to collaborate, but not the only one. You can also give your time to a NGO, consume the products which come from 'fair trade' that you can find in solidarity shops, like Seten's shop, or give your favourable opinion for the abolition of the external debt the 12 of March, the day of The General Elections, in any of the ballot boxes that you will find in the polling stations (electoral schools). It's easy, isn't it? (I)

Also why Ireland celebrates this month. By Eamonn Byme.


 Saint Patrick's Day (17 March) is the most important public holiday in Ireland. On this day every year Irish people dance in the street and listen to music from marching bands. The biggest procession is in New York where thousands of people take part in a spectacular street festival.

 Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in Wales at the end of the fourth century. He was captured by pirates when he was sixteen and brought to Ireland as a slave. Six years later he escaped and went to France where he became a monk.
 When he was forty-five he became a bishop and in AD 432 he was sent to Ireland by Pope Celestine I to convert the Irish to Christianity. He travelled to Antrim to convert his old master Milchru. Then he travelled to Tara (the old capital of Ireland) but could not convert King Laoghaire. He converted King Acnghus of Cashel in AD 448. According to legend St. Patrick accidentally stuck his crozier/staff* in the king's foot, but Aenghus did not complain. When St. Patrick realized what he had done be apologized to the king. The king did not complain because he thought that he had to suffer the pain in order to become a christian.
Snakes and Egyptians
  There is a legend that Saint Patrick banished* snakes from Ireland. It is true that there are no snakes in Ireland today but this is because Ireland became an island (at the end of [he ice Age) when it was still too cold for snakes to cross the land-bridge between Ireland and England.
 It is now believed that the legend of Saint Patrick and the snakes is based on fact. Before Saint Patrick arrived in Ireland some Christians from Egypt had already established a church At Naas (near Dublin). It is thought that Saint Patrick may have asked local kings to force the Egyptians to leave Ireland. The Egyptians brought with them snakes which

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