Oct 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty

A short story...

Yesterday a poorly dressed and unkempt man approached me on the street with an outstretched hand and before he could ask, I mustered 70cents from my pockets and placed it on his palm. He looked down at his hand and then surprisingly deep into my eyes and told me I had a good heart. He squeezed the change in his fist and tapped his heart in a gesture of 'thank you'. I wished him well "na sai kala", shamefully humbled how grateful he was for such a measly amount and felt guilty I didn’t have a whole euro coin on me.
Is he still hungry? Most probably, yes.
Did my action solve his condition? Definitely not.
Did it make me feel better? Only for a few minutes.
Did it make him feel better? Only for a few milliseconds.

I am now blogging about his poverty. This means I have access to a computer and the Internet, which means I am better off than 90% (!) of the world.

Every time I give money this way to a fellow human being I feel incredibly awkward but for a slight change of circumstances I could have been or still might be in their shoes.

A long story...

With recent world economic events, we will be witnessing more people become unemployed, turned out of their homes because of bank loans, psychologically and economically broken and in turn hopeless and, more importantly, hungry.

With the climate changes that have affected the planet, there will be more hurricanes, outrageous bursts of rainfalls, flooding, earth slides, sudden horrific droughts and raging fires that will turn more people into homeless populations that will require immediate emergency care before the plague sets in. Those that survive will, in turn, become economic refugees in search of a new home and hope.

Poverty eradicated? As long as capitalism rules the planet, poverty will also exist. The wealth produced is not being distributed equally. People will be sold and exploited for cheap labor as human trafficking will continue to be the backbone of the rotten system that keeps it alive. The intervention of major developed countries, particularly the US, and local war lord puppets will keep holding entire nations hostage for oil, for gas or because that particular land is key to some other money-making scheme that will keep a developed country developed and the exploited country without sovereignty, without democracy, without a light out of the tunnel for its people.

The tumor has to come out, the system has to change. Man, the reigning animal on this planet, has to stop eating its own kind for profits. We need to provide all people with the right to live not just survive.

A story with no end...

Do the rich need to be THAT rich? Do the poor need to be THAT poor?
Why aren't governments looking out for ALL their citizens? Why do so-called "organized and developed states" allow people to live on the streets, go hungry and remain illiterate? Why aren't rich countries helping out poor ones? Why aren’t rich countries eradicating poverty within THEIR borders? The questions are child-like yet they beat against my skull every day with no logical adult explanation to shut them up.

We blog to learn more about poverty on Blog Action Day, because we need to help, we need to find a cause to counterbalance the insanity of it all even if it's merely giving aspirin to a terminally fatal cancer.

The moral of the story...

Childish post you say. I agree.
I can't speak/blog rationally about poverty.
There is no rationality to poverty.
At least not in the age of sending space shuttles searching for habitable planets while this one festers.

The Blog Action Day abridged story version...

Blog Action Day means action and not rants, so here's how I am fooling myself into thinking I made a difference against poverty recently:

  • brought Fair Trade gifts for friends’ birthdays from Hunger Site,
  • gave a donation to UNICEF's Trick & Treat campaign via Facebook,
  • donated music CDs , scarf and handbag to "Deytero Heri / Δεύτερο Χέρι" and brought stuff from them to support this Greek second-hand charity shop,
  • donated daughters’ hardly worn & outgrown shoes and clothes to a poor Roma family in the area,
  • brought chocolate and ‘Zapatista coffee’ from “Sporos”, to show my solidarity to the fighting farmers of Central and Latin America.