Thursday, 3 December 2015

Injustices

The farmer and I struggle each year to find one another a token present at Christmas.   There is really nothing we want but it is rather nice on Christmas morning to exchange a small gift - and so we make some kind of effort.

As children we got what we were given and there was never enough money for it to be anything massive - certainly not in the circles either of us moved in.

But these days the nearer it gets to Christmas the more I am struck by the injustice in the world.   In Africa there are children who live out their whole lives on rubbish heaps, scavenging enough 'rubbish' to keep alive by selling it.    In North Africa there are children - and innocent men and women - whose whole lives have been turned up side down by the on-going conflict.   In Europe there are thousands of refugees braving the increasingly cold weather trying to reach the sanctuary of a safe haven in any country which will have them.

On television we see women (and men) in their finery, strutting their stuff in a world full of glamour and glitter.   And now, today, the farmer's paper has a Christmas gift guide with perfume at £210 for 100ml, handbags at £650,   a bra and panties for £250 - I won't go on, I find it all too sickening.

If folk have that much money to spend then I would suggest there are better, more charitable ways of spending it. Safe havens for the people of Syria trying to get on with normal lives, blankets for children who are refugees in Eastern Europe and who have come from the heat of Africa to the intense cold of central Europe and still have nowhere to go.   Again I could go on, but I do find it so sickening - in fact I feel sometimes like opting out of the whole thing called 'normal life' and going to live somewhere in isolation.   But of course one cannot do that.   Is there any kind of answer to the injustice of it all?   I doubt it.

19 comments:

A Heron's View said...

Totally agree with your sentiments Pat. I think that by and large the people of today lack any sense of human decency towards the people who are in need. If my statement is in correct then there would not be people living on the streets or families in B&B accommodation. Instead they would be housed.

Terry and Linda said...

A small gift is what Terry and I do also. Nothing fancy, just something nice and fun, and meaningful!

Linda

Margaret M said...

Dear Weaver of Grass - thank you so much for expressing exactly what I feel. Your words have been of some comfort as a reminder that there are some humane folks still around and hopefully, they may even outnumber the selfish, materialistic ones among us.

Rachel said...

Many rich people give vast sums to charity. Many footballers do for instance. We live in a world of drugs and alcohol and poor and deprived families have money for these things and live with dog faeces and cat urine all around them and no sheets on filthy mattresses with children crawling around in it and yet they deal in drugs but have no food in the kitchen. Poverty is not as it was when we were young and cannot be compared with it. Yes it is an unfair world and there are many things wrong. Many people who you may regard as materialistic will be giving much to charity but still be able to afford to spend money on things we consider ridiculous. I am not sure what I am saying but not all rich people are selfish. I cannot agree with Heron that people today lack any human decency to people living on the streets. I, and many more besides me do and work to help them everyday one way or another.

Mac n' Janet said...

All we can do is give what we can and hope that others are doing the same.

angryparsnip said...

It is so beyond strange when you see such excess.
But what you have to do is the best you can and just hope for the rest.

cheers, parsnip

Cro Magnon said...

I once wrote a piece on 'Poverty and Comparative Poverty', and was insulted for my pains. As you say, there are children who scavenge on rubbish tips for all they have, whilst children in so-called 'poverty' in the UK complain if they don't have the latest X Box. Something ain't quite right somewhere.

Dianne said...

Hi Pat .. my first visit to your blog and yes I agree ... there's a great divide
between the haves and the have-nots but this seems to have always been the case.
Hoping you can find a little treasure for Farmer that will surprise him but not cost the earth !!

Derek Faulkner said...

Pat,
By going and living in isolation all you'd be doing is making sure that you never had to hear or see poverty any more, ignoring it basically.
Rachel is right in that many rich people do give vast sums away, just this week the founder of Facebook has given away many billions of dollars to celebrate the birth of his baby. What I can't understand is those people that simply stock-pile millions of pounds for the sake of it. Take Paul Mcartney for instance, he's worth hundreds of millions and yet still goes out and earns more - what is the purpose of having all those millions sitting there doing nothing, if he gave away half of it, he'd still be a multi millionaire. And as for Real Madrid paying £80 million pound for one human being to kick a football around, that's obscene, that could feed a whole country!
Unfortunately, the haves and have-nots will exist for ever, despite all our hand wringing and guilty consciences.

jinxxxygirl said...

I take some offense to what you might be implying here Pat. Although i'am not quite sure i'am up to expressing it.. Its like i should feel bad because i live a comfortable life. My husband and i scratched our way up from nothing during our 26 years of marriage. We worked hard. I can remember giving plasma for a few dollars to buy milk or gas for the week. Or there would be none. Hubs and i gave plasma receiving $15 each to purchase each other a Christmas present on our first Christmas all those years ago.When i cooked a meal i filled the kids plates first and then with what was left and not always alot on hubs and i plate... Did my money woes compare with those in Africa.. ofcourse not but neither should i be made to feel bad because we pulled ourselves up with our bootstraps and changed our lives for the better.

I help where and when i can but those people are not my responsibility. And honestly they need to stay in their own country and fix it not run to other countries. I know this is all a highly unpopular opinion but i'am tired of hearing about how all these people need our help and our charity...and i should feel ashamed for having what i have because others don't have it. deb

Hildred said...

I search for words to express my despair at the situation you describe, Pat. I live a fairly simple life, and yet am so blessed compared to the poverty that is prevalent in other parts of the world, - and what can do but one's best to help. A pittance compared to what is needed in both wealth and compassion.

thelma said...

I do not believe that there is an answer, the world has evolved the way it is because of humanity. I question the Guardian magazine every Saturday with their expensive adverts and then photographs of poverty and squalor sitting alongside an elegant model wearing god knows what.
Money can be used for the good, Facebook founder and Bill Gates prove this, but there is so much corruption everywhere that money does not necessarily find its way to those most in need. Perhaps NGO's are the answer for the simple acts of drilling wells, bringing medical help, lending money to start up businesses in places like Africa.
We just need to keep speaking out, morally underpinning everything we see.....

Coppa's girl said...

Things haven't changed much have they? The poor will always be with us, and we're still concerned with the plight of the starving in "poor" countries, but little seems to have been done to alleviate the problem. When I was at school (over 50 years ago) there were regular collections for the starving children in Africa, and I remember my mother saying that there were collections when she was a child, and no doubt it's the same today.
No matter how good our intentions, and how much we give, the money rarely seems to reach those most in need. Somewhere along the way it's "intercepted" and no doubt finds it's way into an anonymous Swiss Bank Account.
I was horrified to read some time ago that very little of the money that's collected in these UK TV "givathons", like Comic Relief, has actually been spent on projects to help those it's supposed to.
We just give each other a token gift at Christmas and Birthday, and we've stopped sending Christmas cards. The money goes to a local animal charity instead.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks so much for your comments. They do help to make me feel a little better about the whole situation. As for Deb's comments (jinxxxgirl) comments, I do see what she means and I have written to her explaining more about what I actually mean.

Heather said...

It all becomes rather disgusting, doesn't it? There was a man on TV last night proudly announcing that he spent a million pounds on Christmas! How, for goodness sake? It didn't seem as if he gave any to help others less fortunate than himself. It has all become so materialised and has lost it's simple magic. Many years ago my parents won a huge turkey in a raffle and brought it with them when they came to us for Christmas. We could only just get it in the oven. It was so big that the four of us and our three small children took a week to eat it and we were so fed up with turkey but were determined not to waste any. At that time the Biafra crisis was heading the news and we all felt so guilty that we had so much when others had nothing. The best we can do is help when we can and be grateful for what we have.

Bovey Belle said...

We don't spend a great deal at Christmas either - OH and I normally choose a book and give one another this as a gift, so we are talking £20 each or so here. Sometimes he will shoot into Boots and buy the first perfume he sees (!!!) as an extra but I was given a huge bottle recently, so no need this year. We have paid for a joint Christmas birthday and Christmas present for him of DNA analysis so he can find out if he DOES have Viking blood!!! I do hope you can find something that the Farmer will enjoy.

We give to a couple of small charities which we want to support, on a regular basis. We donate for collections, but only when we know that such money will be wisely spent - and not on offices and officialdom. There is always poverty, always war somewhere, always desperate refugees, always corruption so that money is siphoned off and never gets to the people it is meant to help. All we can do is help when we can.

As for gratuitous spending - "conspicuous consumption" as it is called in archaeological terms - how sad that so many people think that buying things, owning things is the b-all and end-all. What empty vacuous lives they must have.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you to everyone. At least it has made us all put into words what we think about consumerism.

Rosie said...

I agree about it all being sickening and long to live in a bothy and enjoy the stars at night!

Jenny said...

I doubt there will ever be justice in the world. Mr FF and I limit our spending on each other to £5, takes some imagination and charity shop trawling but at least if you don't like your present it can go back to the charity shop and do some good.