Mr Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, would like to thank you for your email below.
I have forwarded it to Mr Siim Kallas, the Member of the Commission who is in charge for Administrative Affairs as the questions raised fall under her responsibility.
Member of Cabinet Louis Michel,
Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.
+ BERL 10/192 ( 00 32 2 299 67 09 Ê 00 32 292 14 85
Visit the internet site of the Commissioner in charge of Development and Humanitarian aid
Tillbaka från lite tjänsteresande har jag nu haft tid att läsa igenom din projektbeskrivning. Jag kan direkt säga att det inte faller inom vare sig Margots område eller möjligheter. Frågan är om det alls är någonting Kommissionen kan engagera sig i, om man nu skulle finna det vara ett gott förslag.
Den av Kommissionärerna som har ett ansvarsområde som ligger närmast bör vara belgaren Louis Michel, som är Kommissionär med ansvar för utveckling och humanitärt bistånd. Du kan ju pröva med att ta en direkt kontakt med hans kabinett. Du finner all nödvändig information om Louis Michels arbete, medarbetare och kontaktuppgifter på hans hemsida http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/michel/index_en.html.
Med vänlig hälsning,
Member of Vice President Wallström's Cabinet
From: Ture Sjolander
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 9:08 AM
To: RAMSTEDT Sten (CAB-WALLSTROM)
Subject: Att förverkliga och agera för det goda.
Det slog mig efter vår senaste korr., att du kanske kan på ett eller annat sätt aktivt medverka till att bifogade projekt - nedan - kan komma att förverkligas. (Detta projekt var dock inte den primära anledningen till min urspungliga förfågan till dig.)
Själv vill jag gärna ikläda mig delansvaret för gestaltningen och designen av objektet. Ta en funderare över saken och om möjligt bli behjälplig med finanseringen genom att föra projektet in till lämpliga personer inom EU för värdering och stöd.
Monumentet kan placeras på flera geografiska platser om en upplaga kan produceras.
The hunger monument - Babies' Tower (Barbies Tower)
According to UN statistics anywhere between 7 and 20 million people, mainly children, die each year of starvation. Many more survive starvation, but are maimed for life.
A human being needs very little food to survive. A wholesome diet is inexpensive. Soldiers through the ages have survived and even had the strength to fight and conquer on very small rations of very frugal diets. The Roman soldier had a bag of wheat kernels and the Vietnamese guerilla a bag of whole rice. One of them built an empire. The other fought an empire. Both successfully. Of course, the diet was supplemented by vegetables as often as possible and occasionally by meat. But on the whole, they survived and got stamina from the seeds.
Consequently, the 7 or 20 million unlucky souls could be easily and cheaply fed. And so can the starving who survive but are maimed for life, who greatly outnumber those who die. Even those who go to bed hungry each night but still get enough both to survive and stay healthy can be relieved by a very small percentage of the worlds GNP, if provided the right food. That amount of food should be no problem for any country to provide for its inhabitants. They would just have to make a commitment to do so. Once everybody is aware of these basic facts, we believe the commitment will come.
International aid as we know it was inspired by the success of the Marshall Plan. But while the Marshall Plan was based on equality and common goals, international aid has turned out to be paternalistic and involve a host of conflicting political motifs. International aid has been criticized from many quarters during its entire existence, but not until September 11th can we be in final agreement that it has failed. In spite of more or less well meaning intentions, more than half of the worlds population live in abject poverty and even less than half have regular access to such basic pillars of welfare as sufficient food, clean water and electricity.
Also, the number of deaths incurred each year due to unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation is greater than that of cancer and AIDS combined. At least four people - mostly children - die every minute from bad water and many more are disabled for life by various illnesses and by damage to their immune system.
We know all this. But when we get back from the charity ball or the political meeting everyday shopping takes over again. We need a new commitment. Creating awareness is the first step. It may be a sufficient step. If not, it is anyway a necessary first step. And here comes our proposal.
We need a reminder. And for this great cause we need a great reminder. And it is not sufficient to advertise on billboard or show spots on TV with prominent people pleading. It is not enough to run 60-minute documentaries now and then. Hunger is a weak brand in an ocean of brands. To reach out - one has to be spectacular and persistent and persistently spectacular.
The End to hunger Monument
We propose to build a monument that would concretize what 7 or 20 million dead children actually means. What 7 or 20 million children starved to death really looks like.
First of all the number of children actually die each year has to be agreed upon. It is a shame that we haven't even bothered to agree on reliable estimates yet. It is not an easy task, but to raise consciousness, it must be undertaken. I suspect that the reason we have not agreed and that are different opinions is that 20 million is the right number. So let's assume 20 until the statistics have been dealt with in a more satisfactory manner.
What we propose is a monument built by this number of bodies in order to represent the magnitude of the horror. The project starts by collecting this amount of dead children's bodies. To do this one would have to spend at least two, probably three or four years to collect the bodies from all over the world. The practical problems will be considerable but of course not insurmountable.
The problems of legality in collecting the bodies is another difficulty. Relatives need to give written consent and certainly most of them would do so if the purpose is clearly explained and a small recompense is paid. Generally these people are quite poor and even a small sum may contribute to saving other children's lives as well as their own.
The form of the monument will have to be left to the artist. However, the size of the monument is of course already basically determined by the number of bodies and their average size.
Since it is mostly children, let us assuming an average size of 0.01 cubic meter each. This figure of course must be made more accurate already in the planning stages, but it is sufficient as a basis for the tender. This means that the total size of the monument will be 20 M x 0,01 cubic meters, i.e. 200 000 cubic meters.
Without forestalling the artistic rendering, as a matter of example, made into a square pillar with a side of 5 meter, i.e. a base area of 25 square meters, the height would be 8000 meters. For construction purposes, this would of course have to be divided into several pillars. Making each of them 400 meters, i.e. only slightly less than the 421 meter high Menara Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which today is the worlds highest building, would mean 20 pillars.
The practical work must be done professionally and with highest respect for the deceased individuals. At collecting, the bodies must be fixed in a 10% formaldehyde solution, which stabilizes the tissue and prevents autolysis. Even though most of the bodies will be more or less dehydrated from starvation, there will be remaining water content that needs to be removed. This is achieved by freeze substitution where the bodies are placed into -25o C acetone. After 4-5 weeks all tissue water will have been replaced by the acetone. This will also minimize shrinkage.
The completely dehydrated bodies will then be submerged into liquid polymer, mixed with a slow-acting crosslinker that catalyzes the polymerization reaction, and placed under vacuum. This procedure is performed either at sub-freezing or room temperature, depending on the polymer and crosslinker used. The vacuum draws out the acetone from the body and the polymer takes its place. Bubbles form at the surface of the mixture. They indicate how far the process has advanced.
The polymer filled body is placed into a sealed chamber where it comes in contact with a curing gas catalyst or to UV-light and heat. This process will harden the polymer throughout the body, making the body dry to touch within 48 hours. After a few months curing is complete and the body can be stored indefinitely at room temperature.
In this process, water and lipids in biological tissues are replaced by curable polymers which are subsequently hardened, resulting in dry, odorless and durable tissue. There are several polymer types used in these type of processes, i.e. silicone, polyester or epoxy resins. The class of polymer used determines the optical (transparent or opaque) and mechanical (flexible or firm) properties of the impregnated body. For the present purpose silicon has some advantages and epoxy some, but we have chosen epoxy because this is the preferred polymer for linking the bodies together. This way we get a very firm result - and transparent.
The end product is an anatomical body practically indistinguishable from the original. This is now called a plastinated* body. It is easy to handle and more robust but it also has a drawback in that, because the inflexibility, larger amounts of epoxy will have to be used in the linking of the bodies to each other.
We wish to point out that the type of plastinated bodies, as described, are prepared in many institutions worldwide and are widely accepted for teaching, research and demonstration purposes in anatomy, pathology, zoology and forensic medicine due to their hard-wearing, durable nature. A well known pioneer in this art is Mr. Gunther von Hagens of the University of Heidelberg, Germany, who actually invented the process in 1978.
Once the individual bodies have been prepared, the linking of the bodies will be done in a conventional way in molds that are injected with epoxy to produce the desired shapes of assemblage. The assemblages can then be linked to form the monument in many different ways. The assemblages themselves have the advantage to be quite light in relation to their strength and flexibility and therefore the final objects can be rendered in many different shapes.
As a first step we propose to build a model of the size 2 m3 i.e. 1:100 000. The budget for such a model which will be made of mock-up bodies would be 62 000 SEK.
* A NOTE ON PLASTINATION
Plastination is a unique technique of tissue preservation developed by Dr. Gunther von Hagens in Heidelberg, Germany in 1978. Normally silicone is used for whole bodies and thick body and organ slices to obtain a natural look, epoxies are used for thin, transparent body and organ slices, polyester-copolymer is exclusively used for brain slices to gain an excellent distinction of gray and white matter. Fixation can be done by almost any conventional fixative.
Dehydration is achieved mainly by acetone because acetone also serves as the intermediary solvent during impregnation. Forced impregnation is the central step in plastination: vacuum forces the acetone out of and the polymer into the body. Finally the impregnated body is hardened by exposing it to a gaseous hardener (silicone) or by UV-light and heat (polyester, epoxy). Plastinated tissues are perfect for teaching, particularly for neuroanatomy. Silicone plastinated brains are useful because they can be grasped literally and they are almost everlasting. Polyester plastination of brain slices provides an excellent distinction of gray and white matter and thus a better orientation.
Plastination is carried out in many institutions worldwide and has obtained great acceptance particularly because of the durability, the possibility for direct comparison to CT- and MR-images, and the high teaching and demonstration value plastinated bodies have.