Talking point 5 May

To run off, or not to run off? While the opposition MDC in Zimbabwe decides whether it will take part in a second round of Presidential voting, the ruling party Zanu PF has said the vote could be delayed by up to a year.  Teachers meanwhile are threatening to go on strike unless government supporters stop attacking its’ members, many of whom worked as polling officers during the election. How much longer can the stalemate continue? Can Zimbabwe sort this out alone, or is intervention the only option? And should Morgan Tsvangirai return to Zimbabwe to fight a run off?

Being Gay
A debate that got many of you going on this weekend’s blank page was the question posed by ZK Do the media or Hollywood intentionally make examples out of people who are gay? Does it stop people coming out?

 Food prices
Rising global food prices have been discussed a number of times in the last few weeks on the programme and here on the blog after riots and protests across the world. Thousands protested today in Somalia after food traders refused to take old currency notes that have been blamed for spiralling inflation. One African leader is now blaming the UN food agency for rising global food prices. This was the most emailed story on the BBC website when I came into work this morning. Should the UN food body be scrapped? Is an international effort the answer to rising food prices, or a more localised response?

Israel at 60
On Thursday Israel marks the 60th anniversary of its creation as a homeland and a refuge for Jews in the wake of the Second World War and the Holocaust. Is it a Happy Birthday?

And a bit of food for thought. A few stories recently have raised the question of the changing nature of how some parents view their responsibility. This the most recent. Do parents take their responsibilities seriously?




13 Responses to “Talking point 5 May”

  1. 1 Katharina in Ghent
    May 5, 2008 at 10:57

    Happy Birthday, Israel!

    I think that after all the persecution of Jews over the millenia it had been high time that they got their own state. it is only natural that they try to defend their counrty, but of course this defence has gone overboard, at least partly. But it takes at least two for a conflict, and Hamas had the unique opportunity to prove everyone wrong and show the world that they can form a responsible government and do what’s right and necessary for their people. Too bad that they blew it.

    @ Parenting:

    I think that most parents take their responsibility far more serious today that they did 50 or 100 years ago. There were always those like in your story, but the reason why this shocks us today is that it’s not common anymore. Decades ago parents just let their children play on the streets, not watching over them at all, the older siblings had to take care of the younger ones and as long as they all came home in the evening everything was fine. Nowadays there are many, many more laws protecting our children, ie. in the US you mustn’t leave your child alone for a minute until age 12! Many parents almost feel guilty if their kid isn’t a genius, playing Mozart at age 5.

  2. 2 priya - world have your say producer
    May 5, 2008 at 11:39

    On the parenting issue – have a look at this:

    Too many parents are neglecting their children by “dumping” them at schools or child care centres for up to 10 hours a day, the leader of Britain’s biggest headteachers’ organisation said yesterday.


    Are you a teacher? Do you agree – are parents ‘abdicating responsibility’? What form does this take? Has the role of a teacher changed over the years? Or is this unfair – since children have to be at school for a certain numbers hour every weekeday, how can it be called ‘dumping’?

    The “back to work” culture in Britain is being blamed for this: using school as childcare when parents go back to work. So what is better – going back to work and socialising your kids early byu putting them among other children or staying at home longer to bring up your kids?

    What’s the situation in your country?

  3. 3 Katharina in Ghent
    May 5, 2008 at 11:53

    Hi Priya,

    In an Austrian magazine they once showed a ranking about which mother is best for the child:

    1) mother who stays at home and enjoys it
    2) mother who goes to work and enjoys it
    3) mother who goes to work but hates it (does it just for the money)
    4) mother who stays at home but hates it

    Austria and Belgium have very different philosophies: In Austria you’re expected to stay at home for at least 2 years, and there is very little childcare provided for younger children. In rural areas mothers have problems to find kindergarten spots for children 3-6, often it’s only provided in the morning. This situation is appraised by conservative politicians, but the birth rate is actually quite low.

    In Belgium, mothers can stay at home for 15 weeks after birth, many stay a little bit longer, but it’s fair to say that within 6 months most are back to work. While you may have to search a little bit to get a daycare spot, you will find one in the end, and the birth rate is higher.

    Which one is better? It all depends on the parents, the children and the daycare. My son has been in daycare since he was 11 months old and is a very happy, responsible, respectful, considerate 5 year old, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. My nephew, who’s mother is a child psychologist, has been at home until age 3 1/2, and is quite badly misbehaved, attention-seeking and destroys what he gets into his fingers. I’m sure you can find exactly opposite examples, but what I want to say here is that daycare in itself is not a bad thing, it’s all the factors taken together that make or brake a child.


  4. 4 thelegendali
    May 5, 2008 at 12:18

    Hi Priya,
    I 100% agree with you. Many parents now a days are escaping the responsibilities of taking care of their children and as a result those kid end up in day care centers or some child care unit. This problem is prevalent among teenage parents. The world needs to know the plight of these children and something needs to be done about it. The children need parental to feel that theey are loved and cared for.

  5. 5 thelegendali
    May 5, 2008 at 12:29

    Should we actually be blaming the UN Food Agency for the shortage or rise in price of food on the world market or those industrialised countries whose activities have depleted the ozone layer of the atmosphere thereby leading increase in temperature all over the world. This rise in temperature have caused prolong drought in most of the major food producing nations and even 3rd world countries which in the past could do subsistance farming for the very poor people. I think the solution to this problem is for the industrilised countries to cut down their carbon emission so that we can have better conditions for farnimg.

  6. 6 selena
    May 5, 2008 at 13:15

    Children? Where are the children? I don’t see any children!

    All I can see are mini adults, thrust out into a competitive world before they have cut their first tooth.

    I have the opportunity to be able to see both the rural and urban perspectives. There is no difference. The same things are happening in isolated rural areas as in the larger centres.

    In the rural areas, parents use their cars to drive their children long distances for music and ballet and art and figure skating and hockey and to see the latest Hannah Montana… and so on and so forth. Parents don’t want their children to miss out on a thing. Of course no one asks the children what they want!

    *Children* don’t have a minute to relax and think for themselves and just savor being a child.

    When I grew up, I spent much of my time writing poetry and contemplating the ocean and the sky and the nature around me. Sadly, for me, that day has gone.

    Does it matter? I guess it depends on one’s point of view. 🙂

  7. May 5, 2008 at 13:22

    Is it a Happy Birthday?

    Do the media or Hollywood intentionally make examples out of people who are gay?
    Yes, look at most shows where the hosts or hostesses are gay. It is portrayed as a central theme in their character. Often times they chose the ones who act a bit ‘overboard’ probably due to the entertainment factor. A far different perspective than with a straight counterpart.

    Does it stop people coming out?
    The media has facilitated a friendlier environment for gays (at least the shows with hosts and hostesses who are gay). The news stories on how gays are portrayed are another story.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  8. 8 John in Germany
    May 5, 2008 at 13:55

    Hi All.
    Here in Germany there is an out time for the Mother or Father, which seems to be taken up by both in equal numbers.

    It seems to me that the finding, right or wrong in bringing up children is a generation thing. This is certain, the largest percent age of parents in the developed countries leave the upbringing of thier children to the electronics, television, and computer games, play stations, and handys.

    Those that can afford professional care for thier children , are lucky, and no excuses for this, they are the advantaged few that do not have to worry about a thing, they have already made an agreement with a no1 university, and the future of thier children is guaranteed (as long as alcohol and drugs don’t get in the way.) Children that are raised by parents that are poor, sick, out of work, are at a disadvantage, not because the parents do not care, but because of circumstances. Once again to whom and where one was born is the key to life.
    There is a hell of a difference between two professionals, earning 6 figure incomes, and a man on the dole for no fought of his own, with a wife doing a small cleaning job. and the social making up the difference.

    Teachers are chastised for the slightest loud word, even the threat of a canning brings the well informed parents to the school. “Teachers cant do that”, the same people blame the teachers for the lack of parental upbringing, If the root is bad not even the best forester can produce a straight trunk. A gang of 12-14 year olds attacked a coloured person, sixteen year olds march with the npd here in Germany (extreme right wingers). and so on. And where are we when teachers are assessed in the internet by pupils. Democracy gone wrong.

    A lot of people out there were placed in the right cradle, a few have fought there way up to the top, working to study, and existing on a minimum. The very few know what its all about, many do not. Luckily the question what does your father do? is not part of the interview for a Grammer School any more.

    Every single child in the whole wide world is special, and the day when we all learn to respect this will sadly never come, it would be to near heaven.. So please remember, look at your circumstances before you make judgement or condemn.
    Don’t thank god that Im alright Jack, but pray that he helps those that need help.

    On the lighter side, my professor sold veg on the Croydon Market (Surrey Street) and ive never looked back since.


    John in Germany.

  9. May 5, 2008 at 14:11

    Parenting has changed in the last 50 and defiantly in the last 100 years. It is the root of what has caused many of our social dysfunctions today. The fact is at the turn of the century and up until recent history, most families had two “stay at home parents.” Then the US had majority family structure that was predominately self supported agriculture base. Then a switch to a family structure where the father worked away from home and the children had less responsibilities. Today a two parent working family structure is the norm.

    Children have less responsibility and less self worth in today’s structure. Parents also place less value on the children. In the agricultural setting children were needed to help manage the farm. Talk about slave labor, my father had 25 cows to milk before going to school each morning. Then they were waiting for him when he got home. His parents needed him to do it. now a days children are liabilities and even sometimes as “accidents”.

    That mentality leads to the situations such as the one in the story linked above.

  10. 10 Abdi,in Mandera-Kenya
    May 5, 2008 at 14:18

    ZEC should not be allowed to do any vote recountimg because nobbody in africa will ever beleieve in any results reslesed by any Electrol Body in Africa,After what our electrol body has just done in our own country,it’s a shame that irresponsible,corrupt officials run electrol bodies and they inturn course loss of lifes.My country has lost over 1000 people during the last years general elections-yet the people who caused that death continue to be part of the so called’Grand coalition government”

  11. 11 steve
    May 5, 2008 at 14:33

    Here’s a relevant story on parenting. It has to do with how much should mothers reveal about their “past” to their daughters, and the consequences of revealing too much, too little…


  12. 12 Sheldon from Trinidad
    May 5, 2008 at 15:05

    I’d like to hear debate sparked by a question such as “ How do you feel when you hear the term Collateral Damage being used ? “

  13. 13 selena
    May 5, 2008 at 15:41

    To Sheldon re Collateral Damage…

    Yours is an excellent question!

    When I hear the term, I feel deeply saddened and wish to distance myself from the human race.

    But then I am heartened by the realization that there are many good people in this world who have never had their voices considered.

    I also feel that It is time for the global ruling body to change.

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