n recent Editorials, the Daily Mirror has been warning about the subtle and sophisticated economic neocolonialism which is taking place mainly through transnational giants. With the dawn of the New Year, the world media reported some good news for Sri Lanka’s tall and long serving cash crop, the coconut. The news was that the once condemned coconut oil was among Britain’s top 10 consumer items in 2015. Not only that. Many of Britain’s fashion models and entertainment stars are now known to be using coconut oil to improve their good looks in a natural and healthy way. So gone are the days of transnational cosmetic giants who earn billions of dollars from all sorts of creams while their customers degenerated from beauty queens to skin cancer patients.
We recall how some decades ago transnational soya and other vegetable oil companies allegedly influenced or sponsored once widely respected institutions like the American Heart Association to warn that coconut oil was bad for cholesterol and therefore bad for the heart. Third world activists and even some western prophetic voices continue their campaign against the TNCs and their heartless front organizations while at least two books were written under the title,
“The big cholesterol con.” One author also wrote a book under the intriguing title, “ How to save your heart from your cardiologist” obviously not all cardiologists but those who are now heavily sponsored by transnational pharmaceutical companies and may need to read saust novel on how Mephistopheles claims the soul. One patient friendly doctor said recently how the Bigpharma marketing representatives had tried to persuade him to accept a fully paid overseas holiday for him and his wife. When he politely declined, they had told him that if not his wife, he could go with some other woman.
With President Maithripala Sirisena launching a national food production drive with a vision of producing the nourishing food we need in Sri Lanka itself, we need to be aware and act against the terrible tricks of the trade that TNCs might indulge in to sabotage this noble mission. The biggest multibillion dollar profit making transnational corporations are known to be involved in the arms trade. It is an open secret that many western economies are so dependent on these arms dealers and related companies for revenue and jobs, that they often provoke or promote wars.
Today we see a Middle East flashpoint erupting after Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations with Iran as did other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council. With wars in Syria and Iraq also raging and the terrorist groups ISIS still on the rampage despite some setbacks what might happen next is baffling international affairs analysts.
In the last era when fuel prices fell as low as they have gone today, the Soviet Union collapsed. What will happen in the coming weeks and months perhaps is beyond analysis because there are so many conflicts within conflicts, divisions within divisions and agendas within agendas.
While Western countries and their leaders talk about peace, the visionary Pope Francis in his worldwide mission for a peaceful resolution of conflicts, is making a prophetic challenge to the leaders of rich arms producing countries. He is challenging them that if they are sincere in their search for a just and peaceful resolution of conflicts and peaceful coexistence they must take steps to disarm and disband their huge transnational arms producing corporations. But most analysts say the rich world cannot and will not do so.
One of the world’s most eminent jurists C. G. Weeramantry who heads the Weeamanthry Centre for International Peace is also challenging the nine nuclear powered countries, including our neighbours India and Pakistan to go beyond nuclear non-proliferation and agree to nuclear disarmament. Do we believe in miracles?