More than 600 journalists in over 100 countries have sifted through nearly 12 million documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that show tax evasion, hidden assets, money laundering and other financial movements by some of the world’s richest and most powerful people, and media partners are publishing their findings in each of their countries this week.
The documents, known as the “Pandora Papers” owe their name to the Greek myth of Pandora’s Box, who upon opening the box let out all the evils that could affect humanity: greed, selfishness, envy, betrayal, war, disease, etc. The only thing that remained at the bottom of the box was the hope that is never lost despite all the misfortunes we can face.
An update of the myth, I would say that the capacity to surprise us also escaped and we experienced this when we were informed of the financial conduct of some members of the world’s elite, including our President of the Republic. We are angry, but transgressions against the law and/or ethics no longer surprise us. Nor are we surprised by the news that the country’s public schools are scoring significantly higher marks than those obtained by students in subsidised private schools in order to obtain a higher score for university entrance. Nor the formalisation of three general directors of the Carabineros and a former minister of state.
When elites transgress the law, they are presented as mistakes and have enough money, the necessary relationships to avoid prosecution and conviction, and the media to defend their story. The constituted power defends and protects itself while the ordinary citizen is required to abide by the law and to possess an ethical and moral virtuosity that is foolproof.
This inequality does not go unnoticed by children and young people, nor does it go unnoticed by thousands of education professionals in the country, as we have been able to confirm in the work we do at Fundación Semilla in the areas of coexistence and citizenship. The most recurrent comment we hear is: the tragedy of Chile is that there is first- and second-class citizens, with the first class having morally unacceptable privileges.
After looking and analysing the reality, we go back to look inside Pandora’s box and we find hope. We see hope in children and young people who face life with optimism and positivity. We find teachers and education workers with a vocation of service and commitment to their students. Hope is present in all school communities and it is the responsibility of the adult world to cultivate it by example.
The key to education is to teach by example so that future generations maintain the ability to be surprised when they learn that a public figure, be it a politician, businessman, artist or sportsperson, transgresses the law or the minimum ethical standards for healthy coexistence, because this will be the exception rather than the rule.