Blog Action Day on Poverty: Whose Job is it?

Worldwide, more than a billion people live in slums, with as many as one million in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum. October 2007. Manoocher Deghati/IRIN

Manoocher Deghati/IRIN

In preparation for this blog post I have been doing some research on the subject of poverty and have been surprised, and a little overwhelmed by what I’ve learnt. The numbers are available anywhere on the web and I shall not dwell on those. What saddens me is it seems that there is very little one person can do to make a real difference to the situation.

You can help out one person, for sure. Adopt a child. Volunteer to clean up a slum. Donate money to the Red Cross. Run a marathon for poverty. These are useful up to a point and it is better than doing nothing.

The real solutions cannot come from individuals but from governments. Poverty is a problem that affects third world countries with dire, sometimes fatal consequences. It is because of poverty that one can die of preventable diseases; preventable by better public health care. A poor infrastructure, corruption, lack of access to education and conflict all contribute to trapping large numbers of the population in the cycle of poverty.

So what can i do?  Give up? Sit around waiting for the first world to save us with aid, once again? Resign myself to the idea that the third world will always remain the third world as long as the governments of the first world hold us in their grip? Wait for HIV and Malaria to make us extinct?

I don’t think so. Perhaps the answer is to get really pissed off. So pissed off in fact that the next time I go to a ballot booth, I think about the candidate’s policies on tackling the issues instead of what tribe he belongs to.  About his track record in the past and his involvement in shady deals instead of whether he is one of us or not. Because every time a corrupt or ineffectual official is in government, it condemns to death millions of men, women and children as a result of poverty.

All over the world, this year has been an election year to remember. Pakistan, Kenya, Zimbabwe among others as examples of how wrong elections can go and how much suffering that can cause the poorest people. The US election is on the world’s mind right now and if (or when?) that goes wrong, we are in for interesting times, to say the least.

All we can do, as individuals is recognise that poverty affects all of us and we cannot always look the other way when we are confronted with the smelly, dirty truth. We can, instead, take to task those whose job it is to tackle the issues and reduce poverty.

Otherwise, if we ignore it too long, this problem shall come knocking at our doors.

October 16, 2008 at 5:21 am 5 comments

Fact or fiction? Of dead heroes and villains..

This has been a strange week for our little city. We now are in the proud possession of a monument to forgotten heroes. Men and women who fought for the freedoms of this country. Whether or not they succeeded is a topic for another post. Why only Dedan Kimathi, I dont know; maybe there were budgetary constraints. So, as a result,  he was chosen to represent the many.

DedanHopefully,  politicians who commissioned this work did it out of the justified indignation that the Mau Mau have never gotten any recognition for their part in our murky history.

But perhaps a better monument would have been to fix the lies in the textbooks and syllabi that tells an incomplete and misleading story. To add in a little section about what happened to these heroes of the revolution after they won ( and lost) a war they gave their lives and futures and reputations (Dedan Kimathi was branded a terrorist by many and still is by some) for. As to why the men who betrayed their people to the mkoloni became the greatest beneficiaries of the so called independence….

Strange, strange

Early this morning the police shot a man who they say has been terrorising us all and shooting people left, right and centre. We do not have any clear evidence why they are so sure that he is the culprit, and if they are, why they did not arrest him so that he can face justice and the many wives, husbands, children and parents whose families’ he destroyed.

If the reports are true, he did surrender peacefully. Who are the terrorists here?

You see, it is difficult to form an opinion if you are not sure if all you are being fed is a bucket of hogwash: who is lying and who is telling the truth? The Police? The Media?

In the meantime, i will rush home before dark, buy yet another giant padlock and hope that Matheri does not rise from the dead.

February 20, 2007 at 9:25 am Leave a comment

Afresh

This was harder than I expected, blogging again. I’m finally typing something at 20 past 3 in the morning, which will probably explain a lot if this all ends up being gibberish. No champagne to toast the launch of what will hopefully be a long and stimulating experience for my mind. Im looking forward to making some friends, sharing some virtual beer/wine/juice and once in a while, practising some exorcism.

Well, thats my ‘Hello World’

goodnight

February 17, 2007 at 12:28 am 2 comments


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