Tag Archive | Sri Lanka

Dyncorp, the Private Military Corporation at the Heart of U.S. Foreign Policy Scandal*

Dyncorp, the Private Military Corporation at the Heart of U.S. Foreign Policy Scandal*

By Elizabeth Vos

Over ten years ago, Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney asked Donald Rumsfeld during a hearing on the proposed 2006 Department for Defense Budget:

“Mr. Secretary, is it policy of the U.S. government to reward companies that traffic in women and little girls? That’s my first question.”

McKinney’s query, broadcast on C-SPAN, received few solid answers.

Cynthia McKinney is not the only legislator who has asked questions about the role and funding of U.S. paramilitary organizations. Janice Schakowsky, a Democrat Representative of Chicago was quoted by The New York Times:

”Is the U.S. military privatizing its missions to avoid public controversy or embarrassment — to hide body bags from the media and shield the military from public opinion?”… “ the contractors… don’t have to follow the same chain of command, the military code of conduct may or may not apply, the accountability is absent and the transparency is absent — but the money keeps flowing.”

The New York Times article described the essential problem of the government using private contractors like Dyncorp: “Outsourcing military missions also lets the Pentagon do things Congress might not approve… while the Pentagon has secrets, it also fundamentally recognizes that it is a public institution. Not so the contractors, whose first allegiance is to their shareholders.”

Dan Baum wrote in his 2003 article Guns For Hire: “DynCorp offers the military an alternative to itself.”

Cynthia McKinney served six terms in the United States House of Representatives. She left the Democratic Party in 2008, and ran as the Presidential candidate of the Green Party of the United States.

 

In addition to its paramilitary endeavors in the field, Dyncorp has placed heavy emphasis on IT. It became heavily involved in the software industry in the 1990’s under the leadership of Paul Lombardi. In 2003, Dyncorp was acquired by “Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC),” primarily a software firm providing services such as: “various cloud offerings, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), private cloud solutions, CloudMail and Storage as a Service (SaaS).”

Dyncorp’s early emphasis on IT while under the leadership of Lombardi and CSC may explain part of Cynthia McKinney’s question for Donald Rumsfeld. She demanded on record to be told who had received IT contracts at the DOD and other departments which had “lost” trillions of dollars. McKinney asked during the Department of Defense Budget hearing:

“My second question, Mr. Secretary, is, who has the contract today to make those systems communicate with each other? How long have they had those contracts? And how much have the taxpayers paid for them?”

McKinney’s question was answered by Ms. Tina Jonas, who refused to give names on the record. Ms Jonas served as the “chief financial officer and assistant director of the Finance Division,” of the FBI before she was “nominated by President Bush to be the undersecretary of defense at the Department of Defense.” She has also held leading positions in numerous private companies associated with aerospace and defense.

CSC has also been investigated for fraud, with Margaret Hodge describing it as a “rotten company providing a hopeless system.”

In 2010, Dyncorp International became a subsidiary of Cerberus in a deal valued at $1.5 billion. Cerberus’ founder has been described as “a notable backer of Republican candidates… [who] served on Mr. Trump’s economic advisory council.”

From Salon’s 2002 Article “Crime without punishment,” by Robert Capps

 

However, Republicans like Donald Rumsfeld have not been the only defenders of Dyncorp. A 2009 email released by wikileaks reveals Cheryl Mills warning then- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of a possible upcoming Washington Post article. The expose would describe an event where Dyncorp employees had hired a 15 year old boy to do “mock lap dances,” with “DynCorp employees putting dollar bills in the boy’s waistband, just as they would a stripper’s garter.” Additional Wikileaks cables described the event in terms of “purchasing a service from a child,” emphasizing strategies to convince a journalist not to cover the story in order to not “risk lives.”

Although the email between Mills and Hillary claims “no sex took place,” the tradition of bachabaze in Afghanistan often involves rape, the boys “sold to the highest bidder.” BBC News reports: “The most disturbing thing is what happens after the parties. Often the boys are taken to hotels and sexually abused…There are many people who support this tradition across Afghanistan and many of them are very influential.”” BBC News also interviewed a bacha who reported that: ”Sometimes he is gang raped.” Meanwhile CBS News reported described Dyncorp’s “Dancing Afghan Boy Problem.”

Photograph from The Daily Mail article: “The secret shame of Afghanistan’s bacha bazi ‘dancing boys’ who are made to dress like little girls, then abused by paedophiles”

 

Dyncorp’s involvement in another a sex scandal with minors while serving in a war torn country may well have felt like deja vu for the Secretary of State, considering the infamous Dyncorp scandal in the Balkans during Bill Clinton’s term in office.

Ben Johnston filed a RICO lawsuit against Dyncorp after he was fired ostensibly for reporting human rights abuses by their employees in Bosnia. In a 2002 report titled “Dyncorp Disgrace,” Johnston was quoted:

“…None of the girls… were from Bosnia… They were imported in by DynCorp and the Serbian mafia. These guys would say ‘I gotta go to Serbia this weekend topick up three girls.’… “DynCorp leadership was 100% in bed with the mafia over there.”

Salon reported:

“Johnston recoiled in horror when he heard one of his fellow helicopter mechanics at a U.S. Army base near Tuzla, Bosnia, brag one day in early 2000: “My girl’s not a day over 12….… the bragging about a 12-year-old sex slave pushed Johnston over the edge. “I had to do something,” he says. “There were kids involved.” …. At least 13 DynCorp employees have been sent home from Bosnia … for purchasing women or participating in other prostitution-related activities. But despite large amounts of evidence in some cases, none of the DynCorp employees sent home have faced criminal prosecution.

Johnston’s RICO lawsuit was not the only instance of wrongdoing to come out of Dyncorp’s U.N. peace keeping contract in Bosnia. The Guardian wrote: ”Kathryn Bolkovac, from Nebraska, was sacked by Dyncorp of Virginia, to which peacekeeping police work in Bosnia had been outsourced…” “She signed up with DynCorp, providing American personnel for the U.N…” Bolkavac’s story was later fictionalized into the film Whistleblower, starring Rachel Weisz.

Poster for the film The Whistleblower, starring Rachel Weisz

 

The Oxford Journal of Conflict and Security Law published an article which read:

”U.N. military peacekeepers are increasingly being accused of human rights abuses while deployed on U.N. missions. These personnel are rarely held accountable for their conduct given that they are granted immunity from criminal prosecution by the host State by a plethora of legal instruments, in particular a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).”

The contractors fell into a legal grey area between a broken Bosnian legal system and American military oversight. Washington University Global Studies Law Review also published:

“U.N. Peacekeepers and Sexual Abuse and Exploitation: An End to Impunity.” Author Elizabeth F. Defeis wrote: “The United Nations … stands accused of egregious acts of sexual abuse and exploitation committed by U.N. peacekeepers and civilian personnel.” Authorities claimed the Dayton Peace Accord put the men under Bosnian authority, while the U.N. affords legal immunity to peacekeepers

Culpability was further complicated by the international nature of Dyncorp and its subsidiaries. The Guardian explained:

“Although Dyncorp was an American company, her [Bolkovac’s] contract was governed under the laws of England.” Despite Dyncorp International’s being located in Texas, “Dyncorp Aerospace in Aldershot is a British Firm… a British subsidiary of the U.S. company DynCorp Inc.”

Ben Johnston eventually settled out of court , while Bolkovac won her case against Dyncorp. Salon reported:

“both Johnston and his attorney said they viewed the settlement as a victory — and as a vindication after two years of fighting the company.”

The New York Times related Bolkovac’s victory:

“A British tribunal has ruled that a former member of the U.N. police force in Bosnia was unfairly fired after she reported to her superiors that colleagues in the police force used women and children as sex slaves in connivance with Balkan traffickers.” The Telegraph also reported: “The tribunal stated, ‘It is hard to imagine a case in which a firm has behaved in a more callous manner.”

Kathryn Bolkovac, who was featured in The Telegraph’s article, “What the U.N. Doesn’t Want You to Know”

 

In the aftermath of Bosnia, the United States demanded heightened immunity for Americans serving as U.N. peacekeepers, as opposed to increased accountability. Dyncorp continued to receive contracts.

The U.N. was implicated in further sex abuse scandals in nations where peace keepers operate with immunity. In 2012 Reuters reported:

“Two U.N. peacekeepers from Pakistan have been sentenced to a year in prison for raping a 14-year-old Haitian boy… Several peacekeepers have been accused of rape, in addition to the Pakistanis, in cases that have fueled public protests and demands that members of the U.N. force be stripped of their immunity and face trial in Haitian courts.” U.N. Peace Keepers were also reported to have been caught on video raping an eighteen year old Haitian youth.

In The Guardian’s article: Report reveals shame of U.N. peacekeepers:

“Embarrassment caused by the misconduct of U.N. forces [in] Haiti, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Cambodia, East Timor and the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC) … [troops] … were regularly having sex with girls aged as young as 12, sometimes in the mission’s administrative buildings.”

The situation in Haiti was so serious that BBC reported Sri Lanka had: ”promised to look into allegations that 108 of its U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti paid for sex, in some cases with underage girls …more than 700 peacekeepers in Ivory Coast were suspended…”

Dyncorp was once again contracted to provide troops for the U.N. in Haiti during this period.

In 2015 Rosa Freedman, senior lecturer at Birmingham Law School wrote in an article published by CNN:

“Why do peacekeepers have immunity in sex abuse cases?” She explained:

“The problem is not new. Over the last two decades, peacekeepers have been accused of abuses in Liberia, Congo, Bosnia and Haiti. Personnel have forced women and children to have sex in exchange for food, have trafficked women into U.N. missions and systematically raped them, and have committed other egregious acts of sexual violence

In 2011, “DynCorp agreed to pay the United States $7.7 million to resolve allegations that it submitted inflated claims for the construction of container camps at various locations in Iraq.” In 2009 The Washington Post had reported that Dyncorp was being forced to “Replace the senior managers… after [The State Department] launched an investigation into the company’s handling of an employee who died of a possible drug overdose.” Dyncorp reportedly lost $1 billion it was given by the State Department to train Iraqi police .

Despite all of this, as late as December last year, Dyncorp received a new $94 million contract with the U.S. Navy. Dyncorp will:

“facilitate humanitarian aid, civic assistance, minor military construction and contingency programs to support exercises and other initiatives…”

The numerous scandals embroiling Dyncorp over the years have exemplified McKinney’s first question to Rumsfeld; “Why do these companies continue to receive government contracts?”

Source*

Related Topics:

DynCorp Mercenaries Replace Blackwater Mercenaries in Yemen*

Two-Thirds of Afghanistan Reconstruction Money Went to DynCorp International*

Trump is Filling Top Pentagon and Homeland Security Positions With Defense Contractors*

The U.S. Spent a Half Billion on Mining in Afghanistan with ‘Limited Progress’*

U.N. Peacekeeper Gang Rapes*

With Cover-ups UN Quietly Offers DNA Tests for ‘Peacekeeper Babies’ & Sexual Abuse Claims*

Pentagon Approves U.N. Use of Force against Civilians*

From Child Trafficking to Head of U.N. Ops. in Haiti

U.N. ‘Peacekeeping’ Force Open Fire on Protesters in Haiti*

After Creating Haiti’s Cholera Crisis, U.N. Can Barely Fight It*

U.S. Rape and Sodomy of Iraqi Women and Children*

U.S. Soldiers Raped Boys in Front of Their Mothers*

Japan Officially asked the U.S. to Stop Military-related Rapes*

U.S. Sponsors Rape in Congo*

50,000+ Okinawans Gather for anti-U.S. Military Rally after another Rape and Murder by U.S. Soldier*

Children Sexually Assaulted at E.U.’s Official Refugee Camps*

 

Sri Lanka’s New President Puts Immediate Ban on Glyphosate*

Sri Lanka’s New President Puts Immediate Ban on Glyphosate*

Sri Lanka’s newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena announced Friday that the import of the World’s most used herbicide glyphosate will be banned with immediate effect. The release of already imported stocks has also been stopped.

Sirisena, a farmer and former Health Minister stated that glyphosate is responsible for the increasing number of chronic kidney disease (CKDu) patients in Sri Lanka and added that the move would protect the Sri Lankan farming community

Test Yourself and Your Family for Glyphosate

In Sri Lanka alone CKDu now afflicts 15% of people of working age in the Northern part of the country; a total of 400,000 patients with an estimated death toll of around 20,000.

Sri Lanka’s ban comes after two scientific studies led by Dr. Jayasumana showed that drinking water from abandoned wells, where the concentrations of glyphosate and metals are higher, as well as spraying glyphosate, increased the risk of the deadly chronic kidney disease (CKDu) by up to 5-fold.

It also follows the recent World Health Organization announcement that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen.

Sri Lanka did ban the sale of glyphosate herbicides in March 2014 but this decision was overturned in May 2014 after a review. The decision by Sri Lanka’s new President  however has huge significance following the latest WHO report on glyphosate.

Sri Lanka now becomes the second country to fully ban the sale of glyphosate herbicides following El Salvador’s decision in 2013, also taken due to the fatal CKDu disease. Bermuda has also put a temporary ban on glyphosate imports and is holding a review.

Source*

Related Topics:

TPP Preparedness: EU Drops Pesticide Laws*

Ancient Tools Turn Ethiopian Wasteland into Fertile Farms*

 

Ancient Indian Ways Used to Change Dust Bowls into Lush Villages*

This Sri Lankan Newspaper REPELS Mosquitoes

This Sri Lankan Newspaper REPELS Mosquitoes

By Stephen Luntz

Sri Lankan newspaper Mawbina has taken fighting dengue fever to new levels. For national dengue week they ran the usual articles on how to avoid getting bitten by dengue-carrying mosquitoes. However, they went further producing poster ads coated in citronella essence and hanging them in bus stops, allowing people to huddle at the stop under the ads’ protective smell.

The highlight of the campaign came on the April 7, World Health Day. As the video below notes, “People read the newspaper in the early morning and evening, the time the mosquito strikes. The entire newspaper was printed using inks with citronella essence mixed in. As they claim “Every letter of every word stopped mosquitos from biting.”

As a commercial venture the project was a huge success – with the edition selling out by 10am, a sales increase of 30%.

Dengue, sometimes known as breakbone fever because of the excruciating pain involved, is a threat to 40% of the world’s population, according to the World Health Organisation. Although death is rare, particularly with rapid treatment, it can disable sufferers for long periods of time,

Globally there are between 50 and 100 million infections each year. Moreover, dengue is growing in frequency as the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes that carry it flourish in urban environments.

There is no vaccine for dengue, and the bednets that have been so effective in cutting malaria transmission don’t work against insect species that bite during the day. Sri Lanka was the first place where overuse of DDT led to resistance among malarial mosquitoes, making the insecticide almost useless. Control mechanisms focus on removing breeding sites or making them unsuitable, and targeted insecticide use under conditions less likely to produce resistance.

Source*

Related Topics:

Can the Smarter Mosquito Outwit the GM Mosquito!?

Fighting Malaria with Nature

Your Age Matters to Them

Your Age Matters to Them

By Hwaa Irfan

It is not without surprise recently, that two-thirds of the British public rejected plans for extended pension age at which one retires. In fact for those aged 45 – 54 the rejection was at 73%! For how much longer did they expect to control the way in which people work to provide themselves with all the things that the system said we should have in order to make our lives worthwhile, when the global economic crisis has come at a time when they may question the point of it all! The 45 – 54 year olds will know what it is like to give up one’s life to be a wage-slave, relinquishing one’s dreams, and forsaking one’s life without really being happy, to goals that removed them far away from being who they really are in nature, and goals that removed them far away from having healthier family relationships, and even one’s God. They have almost become enslaved to false dreams, and would only have maybe 10 -15 years to enjoy the fruits of their labor (providing they are still in good health), and for others those false dreams are real dreams that they are frightened to let go of. Regardless, the British government is not alone in solving what is a problem for them, the shrinking working population!

From Him we come and to Him we return. This truth is all prevailing in our Book of Guidance, the Qur’an. From being a child to becoming a grandparent, insha-Allah, is part of the natural course of human life as we as humans have always known it to be, with never a thought that in our progressing years we would be considered to be redundant to those that came through us as children, and to society at large.

This negative perception of the elderly has unfortunately become all too prevalent in the materialistic youth-orientated West, and has been encroaching upon the Muslim man, woman, and child in both Western and non-Western societies. All aspects of lifestyle in the secular world are in reference to youth, expediency, productivity, and expendability. Globalization has been shaping and grooming us towards objectification of our bodies, our minds, and now our lives as part of the Gross National Product, to serve the State for the benefit of the State, as means of production, and pleasure. When we do not serve as these tools, our presence in society is increasingly questioned.

Here we explore the issue as a problem as presented by Western progress since the industrial revolution, its encroaching impact on developing countries, and the valuable members of society who have made many invaluable contributions, the elderly. We will also explore the solutions that are embedded within the Mercy to Mankind, Islam, and practices that help to realize that it does not have to be all bleak.

Current Statistical Projections

Population ageing is a term used by the United Nations, U.N, meaning when a majority of the population is ‘older’ or retired from employment. It became a political issue in Europe, which has been experiencing an ageing population due to a decrease in rates of fertility, and an increase in longevity. The life saving developments of modern medicine has done much to abate the fear of death from infectious diseases. Unlike previous centuries, one is more likely to survive childhood, and live beyond 40 years of age. More children survive to adulthood, and with adulthood they are more likely to experience parenthood, and survive to see their grandparents. However, the drastic reduction in fertility rates in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Japan, and Canada has raised much concern. In addition, developing countries such as Taiwan, China, Thailand, Malaysia and India are changing from being agricultural nations to industrialized societies, which has now made them members of the nations of population ageing.

From the 2002 Assembly on Ageing, this phenomenon is described as being ‘pervasive’ in a report by the Population Division of the U.N. The 2001 U.N. report entitled: “World Population Ageing: 1950 – 2050” was sponsored by the United States National Institute on Aging, and the U.S. Bureau of Census, a country that is renowned for statistical analysis of every man, woman and child according to, age, gender, race, habits, health, income, and political, and religious persuasion.

According to the above mentioned 2001 report, only three countries in 1950 had over 10 million older people out of a global aging population of 250 million. The 2001 report stated:

    “The number of older persons has tripled over the last 50 years; it will more than triple again over the next 50 years”

The sample comparative statistics breakdown as follows:

1950 = 3 countries
• America 20 million
• China 42 million
• India 20 million

2000 = 12 countries, including:
• America 46 million
• China 129 million
• India 77 million
• Japan 30 million
• Russian Federation 27 million.

According to the above mentioned 2001 report, in 1950 1 out of 12 persons was 60 years of age, in 2000 1 out of 10 persons were 60 years of age, and by the years 2050, 1 out of 5 persons will be 60 years of age. Demographically Europe represents the region with the highest aging population, which is contrasted by Africa being a region with one of the lowest aging population; however the aging process is catching up in developing countries within a shorter period of time than in the West in general. As developing countries make fast progress in modernization programs to catch up with the West, ageing populations has become one of the consequences. It is projected that over the next 50 years a 70% (395 million) increase in the aging population in the developed regions, and a quadrupling effect will occur in developing countries increasing from 374 million to 1.6 billion.

• “By 2050, nearly four-fifths of the world’s older population will be living in the less developed regions”
• In Arab countries 29% of the population will be aged under 15 by 2025, and the ageing population is estimated to be at 15.80% (41.60 million) by 2025.

However, with the above forecasts in mind, one should question on what basis these forecasts are made. Demographer, Ronald Lee from the Population Council in his report “Quantifying Our Ignorance: Stochastic Forecasts of Population and Public Budget” (2005) points out these type of forecasts involve extrapolation with little intellectual content, and as a demographer the results can only be probabilities rather than fact. As an example, Lee points out that:

    “If a fertility rate for a 27-year-old woman is 0.5 per year that means that there is 50 per cent probability that a particular woman will give birth within a year, and a 50 per cent chance that she will not, and similarly for probabilities of death, survival and migration. This intrinsic certainty on the individual level is diminished when we talk about larger groups of women, because it tends to average out, but it never disappears completely”.

It is all a matter of guesswork without knowledge of what the future will bring, and an ensuing fear arising from self interest. As such, it is with extreme caution that projections on population ageing should be considered. A prime example is the case of East Asia from 1965 – 1990 whereby the ageing population grew four times that of the dependent population. However the guesswork is taken as fact, and a factor upon which policies, and politics are made. Phillip Longman of the New American Foundation represents one such voice, who viewed the growth in the working population in East Asia as a bonus, and one that could be repeated in the Middle East by:

    “…freeing up a huge reserve of female labor and other social resources that would otherwise have been committed to raising children”

These projections are full of fear, and make assumptions about the future based on fear of loss of power. These fears are paid great attention to, and are employed in the formation of policies, and shape political agendas. The fears that arise from what is in fact the unknown include:

• Less people means fewer consumers, which is detrimental to the global economy

• Fewer new businesses, innovations, and technological developments

• Taxed workers will have to pay more towards pension schemes

• Voting patterns will change

However, Longman underpins all of these fears and more when he said:

    “…capitalism has never flourished except when accompanied by population growth”.

In none of the arguments is it considered that the system that has developed the global economy is no longer sustainable, or that there is something inherently wrong in viewing a percentage of the population as redundant to society.

Secularism/globalization has had its impact too, wherein marriage and the family are not considered with such importance as in religious communities. In GNP terms, it is beneficial because it ‘liberates’ those who can participate in the labor market. In the Population’s Council Demographic Faces of the Elderly (2005) it is noted:

    “The next 50 years may see sizeable increases in the proportion of older men and women who lack family members to help them. More will reach older ages without ever being married and more will spend the end of their lives having divorced and not remarried. Both of these changes are likely to be more common among men. Their effects will also have larger repercussions for men, because men are more likely than women to lose contact with their children following divorce. Also, baby boomers had relatively small families; giving them few children to call on for help later…”

Here, despite current trends, the importance of the family is brought back on the agenda, and is seen as the most stable means of producing future generations, albeit for the labor market!

Currently:
• 1 out 10 people are 60+ years of age, and it is believed that 1 out of 5 will be 60+ by the year 2150.
• A majority of older persons are women (55%)

• Currently, 1 out 5 Europeans are 60+, and 1 out of 20 Africans are 60+

• In Arab countries 42% of the population was aged under 15 in 1975, which had fallen to 38% by 2000

Perceptions of Old Age

Reinforcement of the negative perception of age as one grows older is instilled through teaching modules, one example of which uses terms like “The Graying of America”. Students of such courses in turn learn to look on their elders differently, and to even fear their own natural ageing process. This fear turns young people, and the middle-aged into products of that fear that have boosted sales in products that sell the concept of youth, and what one can do in order to retain a youthful look, and the kind of self interest that is all consuming mentally, emotionally, as well as physically. It has made members of society become blinded by the material, which promises much, and gives little in return.

In June 2009, a demographic survey entitled Growing Old in America: Expectations and Reality” by the fact-tank The Pew Research Center, was released. In this survey, participants (2,969) were asked what their benchmarks were for old age. The benchmarks were as follows:

• When one turns 85: 79%

• When one cannot live independently: 73%

• When one cannot drive a car: 66%

• When one turns 75: 62%

• Frequently forgets familiar names: 51%

• When one’s health is failing: 47%

• Has trouble walking upstairs: 45%

• Has difficulty controlling one’s bladder: 42%

• No longer sexually active: 33%

• When one turns 65: 32%

• When one retires from work: 23%

• When one has grandchildren: 15%

• When one has gray hair: 13%

These personal benchmarks differ from any governmental benchmark. A governmental benchmark aims to reduce any burden of cost, and is essentially about being a part of the labor force, one’s level of productivity to the state, and as a consumer of the manufactured products which sustains the present socio-economic system. We indirectly learn from a youthful perspective that self matters more, to the extent that when it comes to making the kind of tax contribution which provides for the elderly, we become quite reluctant, and when possible avoid making that valuable contribution. It is like not paying zakah, and then expecting the waqf to function when one is in need. This, and additional factors are at the core of the problem.

The Elderly

To be concerned with the global repercussions of an ageing population implies that there is a global eye on the situation as opposed to a national one. Exploring the composition of the world population, gathering data and whatever additional information is deemed required needs a lot of effort, coordination, and a global agenda. This is indicative by the fact that the main report on the Middle East was carried out by a U.N. body (ESCWA), and on Africa by Help the Aged International.

Human evolution is an ongoing process, however at what level given current management of society, and the world in general has yet to be defined. What is understood however, are the biological changes that have occurred as a result of environmentally induced changes. The result is a general increase in body size, a longer life span, and increased mental health disability. Man is not predisposed to know the measure of all things, and neither is he endowed with foresight when it comes to the repercussions, and as man tries to ‘manage’ what he has created, so too are the perceptions of the population ‘managed’. In this case we refer to the perception of the elderly.

In the demographic survey entitled Growing Old in America: Expectations and Reality” it became apparent that the benefits of old age fell short of what was expected by the younger generation on becoming old. Such benefits included:

• Spending more time with family

• Traveling more for pleasure

• Less stress

• More time for hobbies

• Starting a second career

• Doing volunteer work

In reality, the American elderly spend their time:

• Talking with family and friends: 90%

• Reading: 83%

• Taking prescription medication: 83%

• Watch T.V.: 77%

• Pray: 76%

• Drive a car: 65%

• Doing a hobby: 43%

• Take a nap: 40%

• Shopping: 39%

• Use the Internet: 28%

• Vigorous exercise: 22%

• Trouble sleeping: 22%

• Getting into an argument: 4%

The above was asked of people aged 65+. It is not necessarily the old age that the younger people look forward to, especially when it comes to the desire for traveling and a second career!

For the elderly like the young, the family is the only social means of continued support, care, compassion, and membership to society. Without that companionship, and that love, one feels at loss, especially the elderly, after years of dedication to the family that now cares for them. This practice still exists within developing, and underdeveloped nations, where family matters.

In countries like the U.K. and the U.S. an attempt to relieve the financial burden of sustaining pensions, came in the form of an invitation to those approaching retirement to delay retirement, which for those approaching retirement reluctantly, was a reprieve from being cast on the dump of uselessness.

Left alone, the elderly are subject to loneliness, which turns to depression; and long-term depression turns to physical and mental ill-health. It is not too uncommon to find an elderly person found alone and dead without the knowledge of neighbors until the smell of their rotting body, permeates the front door of their homes in the U.K. Unable to provide themselves with adequate heating, food or companionship; it is not unusual to die alone. Who would have thought whilst in one’s youth that one’s life would end in this manner!
Approximately 2.1 million American elderly are physically, psychologically and financially abused according to the American Psychological Association based on reported cases.

At the time of the UN report on ageing , a study was being done on mental health and ageing in the U.K. It found:

• 25% of the elderly are clinically depressed from long stay in hospitals

• 30-40% of the elderly in residential and nursing homes displayed forms of clinical depression

• 30% elderly who regularly go to see their GP are depressed

• 26-44% of the elderly are under government care schemes in the home.

• Two-thirds of those diagnosed with depression are likely to be found three years later dead or psychiatrically ill.

Along with depression, one can add dementia, senile dementia, a weaker immune system, frailty, cardio-vascular, and Alzheimer’s Disease. This is not reduced with the establishment of old people’s homes, where many old people feel cast on the dump of exclusion from society, especially their family and friends.

However in Australia, a process is taking place dubbed as the “feminization of ageing”. The violent changes underpinned by conflict in the Middle East have contributed to an increasing number of elderly widows leading to the “feminization of ageing”. However as in the U.S., there is adoption in the Middle East that those of healthy minds and bodies should be able to work, meaning that if one has not provided for one’s retirement, one should not expect society to! Not only this, today, an elderly person does not exact the same level of respect as of yester-year and is subject to all forms of abuse around the world, even from within their families. From abuse of property belonging to the elderly, to forms of physical abuse, the rise of elderly abuse is forever increasing in industrialized nations, more so in developed nations than in developing nations.

In the ‘African Union Policy Framework and Plan of Action for Ageing’ by Help the Aged International, the fact that the report was done by or on behalf of an outside agency is indicative in the summation of Africa, i.e. Africa = HIV-AIDS. However, it is noted that most of the older Africans live in rural area, and that they are less likely to be subject to HIV-AIDS. The report itself cannot quantify the ageing population of Africa, and as such makes a lot of recommendations based on suppositions in coordination with the African Union. However, the situation for older Africans is similar to the Middle East in terms of the external forces. i.e. globalization which has led to the disintegration of the traditional family through poverty, migration, political instability, erosion of cultural values, urbanization along with the legacy of colonialism. However the concept of “elderly” is yet to be defined in African terms that can be recognized by the U.N. Many older Africans are less likely to find employment or to have access to health care as defined by the West. However, the report does point out that:

• The positive role that African elderly play in traditional medicine and looking after the family, and the community

• That the elderly produce their own food, and provide food for their families to sell on the market
• Urbanization has led to many older Africans living alone in rural areas.

• The issue of land ownership which frequently falls into family disputes, especially older women who are widows.

The countries of the Mahgreb (North West Africa) lead in the Middle East, with an intended comprehensive policy that is aimed at supporting the elderly within the traditional family structure than the creation of external resources, which are more than likely not sustainable in the long term. This policy also extends to the Gulf States, and the Arab Mashreq (East). This is in tandem with care facilities for displaced peoples, both of which covers health, and psychological support. Aiming to join forces with the traditional family structure, NGO’s, and volunteers, maybe the social safety net that is disintegrating throughout the region, can be repaired. However, cooperation is also hoped for with the private sector, which is about profit, not people!

The Family

The family is the primary social support mechanism, and this fact remains unchanged for all members of the family. In developing countries it has been found by the Population Council that 40-80% of the elderly live with an adult child. Factors that determine living arrangements include whether a family lives in a rural environment or the city, which in general is not designed for an extended family arrangement, socio-economics rather than family size, and better educated elderly who are more likely to live on their own. Nine per cent of elderly women, and 11% of elderly men live on their own. Unwittingly the Population Council supports the importance of the family in the report In the Demographic Faces of the Elderly they note that:

• “Most older adults receive whatever care they need from relatives”

• Older married couples count on each other for support

• Most men fare better than women because they remain married until they die, while most women become widows

• Marriage provides older women with financial support where there are no pensions or retirement benefits

The report calls on preventative measures to be taken pertaining to the functioning of the elderly, to ensure the health and financial support of the elderly, but given that the current system is frankly unsustainable, and sources of income are questionable, surely the best preventative measure is to reverse the individualistic nature of society placing preference, and support on the family for the family, and consequentially society at large.

In the U.S. the Pew Research Centre 2009 telephone survey showed different living arrangements for the elderly whereby 9 in 10 respondents to the survey live in their own homes. Of these:

• 30% aged 65-74 live on their own

• 66% aged 85+ lived on their own

• 81% have relatives and/or friends nearby who they can turn to

In the Arab countries, the age of retire ranges from 50 to 68. A more comprehensive overview is given for the reasons behind the decreasing role of the family in the life of the elderly in the Arab Plan of Action on Ageing to the 2012 (2002) as it pertains to Arab countries. The reasons included:

• Urbanization

• Transfer of technology

• Upsurge in education

• Migration

• Globalization: Economic, technological, cultural

• Political instability

• Changing ideologies over the role of women

The impact of the above was stated in the report as follows:

    “Those factors have also exacerbated many of the psychological, health and social problems which have limited the capacity of older persons and prevented them from adapting to the latest developments. The various roles which older people were able to continue to perform within and outside the family have diminished. Those factors have also had an impact on the effectiveness of social policies and programs related to social and family care for older persons”.

And the above extract probably underlies the situation in most countries both developed and developing, an important piece of the puzzle that is sorely missing in order to seriously find a workable solution. The impact of the above as outlined by the report includes:

• Family care of the elderly is no longer as common as it used to be with the erosion of the traditional family

• The “extended family has given way to the nuclear family”

• “Family cohesion has suffered”

• There is increased psychological problems and social isolation of the elderly

• Diminished societal values

• The “mutual respect between generations has diminished”

• The “youth and the elderly no longer share the same values”

• Elderly women who have never had paid employment have little access to “social and health benefits”

• A general loss of status for the elderly bearing in mind that not all Arab countries provide pensions

Pension Schemes

With an increase in the ageing population, and the decrease in the working population, the financial resources to provide for the elderly have become compromised. The independent lifestyles that are so prolific in the countries with aging populations represents a factor when it comes to the extent these societies as a whole are willing to support members of their own communities. Each member of a family is expected to contribute to the income of a family once they have completed higher education. As such one starts to contribute towards one’s retirement on employment.

The pay-as-you-go pension scheme was considered the solution, but the pay-as-you-go social security schemes around the world have proven to be fine only in theory. It represents a transfer of funds from the younger to the elderly, and is dependent on being able to maintain employment, but represents a burden for the younger generations in societies where independent lifestyles is the norm. The retirees are living longer, and are therefore in need of benefits for a longer period than previously thought. In addition, people are leaving the work force at an earlier age, and not only for health reasons!

In Brazil, the pay-as-you-go social security scheme is applied to the rural communities. The impact has witnessed a change from the elderly feeling compelled to move in with their adult children, and instead their children move in with them! Scholar and demographer, Ronald Lee, perceives this as a problem which prevents individuals from providing for their own pensions. One might be reminded that some of the individuals who attempted to do just that lost their life savings due to the global economic crisis in 2008! With all the simulated theories over what could and does not work, the irony is that Lee comes to the following conclusion, which also reinforces the importance of the family:

Countries of the Third World mostly have family support systems, which are effectively unfunded pay-as-you-go social systems at the family level, not the national level

1. Some generations would have to support the elderly, whilst saving for their own retirement, thus freeing their own children of the obligation

2. That the cost of provision is spread amongst siblings

3. “They have more appealing options for dealing with population ageing than the industrial world”

However, on point 2, it might be worth adding the fact that each generation supports the older generation is more protective of society as a whole, regardless of one’s income bracket!

Private pension schemes developed as a way out to solve the burgeoning problem that public pension schemes alone could not cope with, and that is the rising aging population. Private pension schemes requires like any pension scheme, contributors, and subscribers, i.e. the pensioners themselves. Unlike public (government) pension schemes, private pensions schemes are profit orientated. Government pension schemes are raised from taxes, and no investments are made.

American employers were given a tax incentive by the 1942 Revenue Act. However, recent events have shown this to be a government get-out clause that affects only the elderly. The private pension schemes have investors who seek to make a profit. There is no guarantee that someone who pays their contributions to a private pensions scheme will benefit, especially as private pensions schemes are vulnerable to bankruptcy. The motor giant General Motors provides a prime example of what can happen.

Before the 2008 global economic global crisis, the huge motor industry magnate, General Motors, GM, was facing problems with its own pension scheme for its own employees. With 2.5 retirees claiming for every active employee, GM was managing an unfunded pension debt of $19.2 billion in 2004.

An American elderly is left with little choice, as pensions are provided mainly by the private sector in the U.S.
Early retirement has become another option by which governments short-sightedly sought to reduce the financial burden. A person who decides to take early retirement (aged 52+), which varied from country to country, has been found a catch 22 for those who take the decision to retire early or to stay in employment for another year. In reality, what happens is that an early retiree receives less in benefits than if they were to retire at the mandatory age. This has been found to be the case in most countries by the Population Council. The under-side of this is that effectively, governments are in fact reducing the labor force that they are in need of.

Health and Social Welfare

In the Population’s Council Demographic Faces of the Elderly, we are told that the number of old people in the future can tell us how many hospital beds, geriatricians, home health aides, food service workers, and how many working adults there will be to provide financial support. This is an assumption based on the way the elderly have been treated in the West, where the aged experience rapid debilitation because of their perceived little use to society. The achievements in healthcare have contributed markedly to longer lives, and yet there is talk of halting this development amongst the medical profession.

In the Arab countries it has been the Gulf States that have led in the provisions of a social welfare service for the older person, as well as educational studies. However, in general, most Arab countries provide free health services and medical insurance for the elderly, along with literacy, and self help. Volunteerism is encouraged, but once again it is the Gulf States that are leading in establishing partnerships with the private and NGO sectors. Overall, ageing as an issue rests on the shoulders of Arab governments, albeit against the backdrop of the traditional family structure still remaining in some areas, which provides for all its family members along with the development of old people’s homes (mostly provided for the wealthy).

Examples of Good Practice Around the World

The differences towards old age can be seen from city to countryside, and from country to country. In developed countries in general, one can expect to see the elderly considered as invaluable as they are no longer allowed to work. This can be devastating to the main breadwinner of a family if he is male. The well-being of the elderly is compromised by this attitude, and consequently their health. Yet, if you were to go to the country-side of a developing or underdeveloped nation one can expect to find an elderly person of the same age looking younger, more physically active, and quite possibly still working – in other words the elderly are treated as valuable, and contributors to the communities in which they live. Unemployment is generally much higher in developed countries than it is for developing countries amongst the elderly.

Sri Lanka

Rapid ageing population and modernization seems to go hand-in-hand. Modern education has changed the individual perception of the family and one’s role in relation to the family. Globalization has played a strong role in migration for work, no less so for the young who will seek higher education and employment away from their families. In Sri Lanka where social security benefits, and health care is not available to the entire population, employers take a less strict view towards employing the elderly than that of the developed nations. Sri Lankan employers are more likely to extend employment contracts beyond the mandatory law, allowing for greater flexibility of employment for older workers.

The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, reports that 43% of men, and 26% of women retire due to work stress, or/and travel stress. The burden of ill-health tends to be more of a determinant for the elderly who are poor than those who are better off. However in developed countries there is great difficulty in encouraging older workers to stay on in employment because studies show that social security benefits present a major obstacle.

In Sri Lanka, where there is a higher life expectancy than developed countries, i.e. 69 years for men, and 77 years for women, before 2004, there was no general concept of unemployment amongst older Sri Lankans, which was below 1%. This is largely due to the fact that when one loses a job, one completely withdraws from the labor market. With ageing, hours of work are reduced:

• Those 60 – 63 years of age work a 23 hour week (male)

• Those 72 – 75 years of age work a 10 hour week (male)

• Those 60 – 63 years of age work a 5 hour week (female)

• Those 72 – 75 years of age work a 2 hour week (female)

Of course they are paid less, however most of the older workers are self employed or are casual workers as skilled labor in the agricultural, manufacturing, wholesale or retail trade.

A 2009 report by the World Bank made the following recommendations in their report on Sri Lanka:

• Reinforce traditional family support to the elderly.

• To provide additional support mechanism which do not undermine the family

• To improve income support for the elderly

• To improve healthcare for the elderly

In 2009, the Sri Lankan government introduced new legislation making children responsible for the welfare of the elderly.

Australia

In Australia, the working age population (15 – 64) increased by 1.8% to 249,100 in June 2008. However, the ageing population increased from 66.8% to 67.5% within 30 years (30 June 1988 – 30 June 2008). From June 2007 – June 2008:

• Those aged 85+ increased by 20,700 (6%) totaling 364,900. This age group consists of twice as many females (241,000) to males (123,000).

• Those aged 100 increased by 540 (19%) totaling 3,400, with 3 times the number of females (2,600) to males (720).

The total ageing population for Australia has increased 165% against a growing population of 29%.
With the above realities in mind, much effort by the government and support agencies have sought to address the life quality of the elderly. As a part of the government’s community care strategy, they have developed a mechanism whereby the government provides 60% of the funding, with the states and territories making up the balance required for care in the community. With the states and territories in overall control, they are the government’s interface with consumers of the services provided and the service providers who provide the services.

The Home and Community Care (HACC) program under the Department of Human Services is able to provide care in the community across socio-cultural groups, and states. Along with the Department of Health and Ageing, service providers help provide clients access to mainstream services. Through one joint initiative with the University of Queensland, it has focused on increasing the physical activity of the elderly who are physically frail. By means of accredited physiologists, appropriate forms of exercise are given to strengthen the elderly physically, improve physical balance, increase mobility, and to reduce susceptibility to falls. This kind of initiative not only reduces long term medical costs on the elderly, and the government, but it also increases the quality of life for the elderly.

Many of the service providers under the HACC initiative provide hotlines, counseling and support groups for the elderly and the carer, overnight and weekend respite for both the elderly and the carer, mobile respite centers, training for the carers, hostels and nursing homes. Carers, whether they be relatives of the elderly or someone unrelated, get carers benefit under the social benefits provided by the government.

HACC also produces translated brochures for its multicultural communities like the Victorian Arab Social Services, VASS, who are able to provide specific care in their catchment area. VASS membership consists of Assyrians, and Iraqi refugees who are both clients and volunteers. Migration is a fact of life, and not only do migrants enrich the host communities, but provide needed labor/services without the cost of education and training already received in their home countries. However with migration comes broken families as a result of migration or war or both. In a 2004 –based survey by VASS, it was found that there was a need for:

• 70% of bilingual workers

• 74% face-to-face interpreters

• 68% telephone interpreters, English classes

• Awareness of mainstream services.

Such initiatives only help HACC to become more informed about the actual needs of its clientele and contribute to the publication of bilingual brochures which communicates the services that are available.

The U.S.

Albeit increasingly common for the elderly to be left to live on their own, their ability to do so is very much determined by their own income whether past or present. Whether old age is lived out in a home for the elderly, their own home, or a rent home, being left alone has a debilitating effect on their physical and mental health. One initiative that aims to cushion old age is the Chicago-based Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly, LBFE.

Solutions: Islamic

When we use the word ‘democracy’ we automatically think of justice for all members of society. We do not consider that anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, financial status etc. is left out – everybody counts! As we can see, the world democracies are a far cry from that understanding, and when we take up the argument of democracy and Islam as two separate entities, we negate the heritage that Islam has left Muslims with.

Source of Wisdom

Islam as a way of life is entirely social. Every member of society has a place in that society, and a role to play. As the secular world turns to the family as the social mechanism to help provide for those who are increasingly made outcasts of the society which secularism has created through globalization, Islam as it was completed by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) made the family the foundation, the centre, and the only institution for all members of society. Islam informs us of the role of the elderly in society in many ways.

In the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) we are informed of the actions of one of the early leaders of Islam after the death of the Prophet. ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab was about to depart for Sham (Greater Syria: Lebanon, Palestine, Jordon) when Abu ‘Ubaida ibn Al-Jarrah and company informed him of an epidemic that had taken place in Sham. ‘Umar said,

“Call for me the early emigrants.” ‘Umar consulted with them but they had differing opinions. Some of them said, “We have come out for a purpose and we do not think that it is proper to give it up,” while others said (to ‘Umar), “You have along with you other people and the companions of Allah’s Apostle so do not advise that we take them to this epidemic.” ‘Umar said to them, “Leave me now.” Then he said, “Call the Ansar for me.” ‘Umar consulted with them and they also differed in opinion. He then said to them, Leave me now,” and added, “Call for me the old people of Quraysh who emigrated in the year of the Conquest of Makkah.” ‘Umar consulted with them and they gave a unanimous opinion saying, “We advise that you should return with the people, and do not take them to that (place) of epidemic.” (Al Bukhari).

‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab was a leader, and looked to get the best advice possible. It was the advice of the elderly which proved to be reliable because of their years of experience. After all, Prophet Muhammad did say:

(The son of Adam (i.e. man) grows old and so also two (desires) grow old with him, i.e., love for wealth and (a wish for) a long life.) (Bukhari)

In other words, the elderly do not have the weaknesses of youth to prevent them from giving the best advice. If those with wisdom are excluded or removed from society, then it is society that loses out both in the short term and in the long term. This is all the more evident today when both poverty and conflict prevails.

To Be Respected

Whether one’s contributions has been on a familial, social, national, or global level, when one reaches old age the last thing to be expected is to be made to feel worthless. Examples within Islam emphasize the respect that younger generations should show towards the elderly. The elderly should be given first consideration:

Prophet Muhammad was using a tooth-stick, when two men, one older than the other, were with him. A revelation came to him about the merit of using the tooth-stick. He was asked to show proper respect and give it to the elder of the two. (Abu Dawud)

When some Companions had stayed with Prophet Muhammad for 20 days, he had noticed they were missing their family, so he ordered them to:

(Go back and stay with your families and teach them the religion, and offer the prayer and one of you should pronounce the Adhan for the prayer when its time is due and the oldest one amongst you should lead the prayer.) (Al Bukhari)

In the above ahadith the elderly were not only given first consideration in terms of leading communal prayer, but also respect in terms of their experience. Disrespect was shown when a man informed Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) about the reason why he stayed away from morning prayers. ‘Ibn Mas’ud said:

(I never saw Allah’s Apostle more furious in giving advice than he was at that time. He then said, “Some of you make people dislike good deeds (the prayer). So whoever among you leads the people in prayer should shorten it because among them are the weak, the old and the needy.) (Al Bukhari)

They should be shown respect on greeting:

(The young should greet the old… ) (Al Bukhari)

Whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim:

“Narrated ‘Aishah: (Two elderly ladies from among the Jewish ladies entered upon me and said’ “The dead are punished in their graves,” but I thought they were telling a lie and did not believe them in the beginning. When they went away and the Prophet entered upon me, I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Two old ladies..” and told him the whole story. He said, “They told the truth…) (Al Bukhari)

And they should be shown patience:

A man went to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and said: Teach me to read the Qur’an, Apostle of Allah. He said: Read three surahs which begin with A.L.R. (Alif Lam Raa’) He said: My age is advanced, my mind has become dull (i.e. memory has grown weak), and my tongue has grown heavy). So he said: Then read three surahs which begin with H.M. (Ha Meem) He repeated the same words. So he said: Read three surahs which begin with the “Glorification of Allah” (Sabaha lil-Allah). But he repeated the same excuse. The man then said: Teach me a comprehensive surah, Apostle of Allah. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught him Surah Az-Zalzalah (Surah 99). “When the Earth is shaken with her earthquake”. When he finished it, the man said: By Him Who sent you with truth, I shall never add anything to it. The man then went away. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said twice: The man received salvation. (Abu Dawud)

{Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If one of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, or scold them, but say a generous word to them. And act humbly to them in mercy, and say, ‘My Lord, have mercy on them, since they cared for me when I was small }(Al Israa’ 17:23-24)

To ensure respect, mercy, and honoring of the elderly, the system of charity in an Islamic society is based on those that have giving to those who do not have. In this way, a balance in society is maintained.

Social Responsibility

Social responsibility is an intrinsic part of the Islamic faith put into practice. A good example of honoring the elderly in Muslim society today, is in Brunei Darussalam, an island of Borneo. It is one of interest to ageing population demographers because Borneo is one of the top ten richest countries in the world. Due to its wealth from oil, there is no income tax or national insurance, and there is free healthcare and education. Also, this country has an Islamic social system whereby religion is not separate from the state as in the secular world.

Unlike many countries in the world, Brunei Darussalam does not have a significant ageing population, though it is predicted that it will do by 2011. The care of the elderly is primarily that of the family, with a structured support from the state. The state has a budget for pensions, and a hardship fund for those in difficulty. That funding is within the social context as exemplified by Prophet Muhammad where the culture of piety, and mutual respect is strong, and this helps the traditional family structure to remain buoyant despite the encroachment of modernity. The structure is as follows:

• The Village Head – Identifies and alleviates cases of hardship, and presents the case to the District Head

• The District Head – Approaches the pension fund, or the welfare fund (which coordinates with the Zakah Fund) depending on the nature of the case.

This mechanism and the fact that both the elderly, and the family have access to hospitals, Social Services, and the Zakah Fund (the latter being administered by the Ministry of Religious Affairs).

The fact that the family provides ongoing support is demonstrated by the repulsion towards old people’s homes. Care of the elderly is seen as a natural process as a part of the family, and strange if it is not. Attempts were made to establish old people’s homes in Brunei Darussalam, and in fact there is only one officially recognized home, and it only has 10 elderly residents. The medical facilities available are modern, and extend to primary healthcare in both urban and rural areas. Rural areas are facilitated via a mobile primary healthcare service which provides free consultation, and hospitalization, and as we know, hospital services in the early years of Islam were free. It is through the doctors that the elderly also have access to the welfare services, as well as counseling. The medical social work department can provide needed equipment and arrange to adapt the home to the needs of the elderly.

Brunei Darussalam is a good example of a synergic relationship between Islam and the state. A clear vision of Islam helps to structure and direct the resources of the state towards the common good. The elderly are not deemed or treated as worthless, and in general the elderly have a good state of health even without the welfare, social, and medical programs facilitated by the state. In turn the state with its wisdom, uses its wealth to benefit all members of society whether they live in the urban or rural areas. If one compares the world superpower with the island of Brunei Darussalam, it becomes clear that wealth alone is not enough to guarantee respect, and mercy from society, and a role in society. If rather than look from afar at what one country can do, countries facing an ageing population should take guidance from one country on how to live, plan, and project for the whole of society. Not every country has oil, but every country has natural resources no matter how small that can benefit all of its citizens considering the needs of all of its citizens in a sustainable manner.

“Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) observed: (By Him in whose hand is my life, no, bondsman (truly) believes till he likes for his neighbor, or he (the Holy Prophet) said: for his brother, whatever he likes for himself.) (Muslim)

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