Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Poverty and Riches



As parts of the world seem to be in such a financial mess: in Greece, women are taking their children to homes because they can no longer afford to keep them and one whole town is on the verge of bankruptcy. There are no jobs, no income and no social fallback and the soup kitchen queues grow longer and longer, so let’s talk about rich and poor. Yes, I know, I know, I’m on one of my soapboxes again, but the unfairness of it all never ceases to anger me. How many thousands spend their time scavenging through the filth of city rubbish dumps in the hope of finding something they might find resalable, perhaps finding something still edible and eking out a few pennies to keep body and soul together?
In 2005 the UN said between 1.2 and 1.5 million children lived on Pakistan's streets - but activists say their numbers are rising. Most of the street children live in the southern city of Karachi. Apart from abuse deprivation is the biggest reason forcing parents to abandon such children or compelling children to leave home.
Most of them work up to seven hours a day in the blistering heat. "I collect plastic bottles," one says, "and other things I can sell on to be recycled."  It earns him about a 100 rupees a day ($1: 70).  Some of the children are no older than five or six and on the streets great dangers await. Most of the children are picked up and recruited into gangs within a few weeks. Others are forced to become commercial sex workers. Rana Asif - who runs the Centre for Street Children charity - puts the blame for this on the government: "Police are not providing protection to children," he says.” But it is providing protection to criminals and abusers. They have their own interests and get financial benefit through children's activities.” And they're getting cuts from criminal gangs. That's why police are not helping these children." The police themselves of course deny it. Other local charities and social activists confirm this view. They say that it is not just criminal gangs targeting these kids - jihadi groups also scour the streets looking for easy recruits. Karachi is not the only city and Pakistan not the only country where unwanted children so young have to fend for themselves.
Meanwhile in India, and god knows there are enough existing beneath the poverty line there,  the wealthiest man has a multi- story home built filled with all mod cons and all the riches and wonders of the East. It is a monstrosity of higgledy-piggledy architecture, possibly the ugliest building ever built. It looks like a tower of assorted boxes piled atop each other and all about to fall off and, together with its contents it cost multi-millions and they are naturally very proud of it.
In Zimbabwe with its people also on the poverty line that megalomaniac monster Mugabe has a palace built of the most extraordinary lushness, extravagance, vulgarity, and bad taste and that little edifice also cost millions. I suppose the Mugabe’s needed all that space for Mrs. to store all the luxury shopping she’s indulged in when in Europe. Is this where all the aid goes to?
And in the UK the bonus culture is alive and kicking. Four directors of an English firm are being paid a bonus of fifty seven million between them and BT’s annual report informs the world that the boss, Ian Livingston’s income last year including payouts was £7.7million.
The labourer might very well be worthy of his hire but this has become totally obscene. In Hong Kong the Martian pink diamond has sold for $17.4million. I say it yet again: it’s a mad, mad world, my masters.


2 comments:

Lewis said...

Development aid continues to flow from the UK to Zimbabwe:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/zimbabwe/9092548/Zimbabwe-how-we-aid-profligacy.html
Also to Pakistan (doubtlessly invested in new weaponry.

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