‘So what?’ you might ask. ‘What’s wrong with having excess money and buying pretty things with it?’
Nothing in itself. It’s just that I keep on coming across reminders of all those untold millions who are desperately poor, who have nothing but a few items of clothing and whatever they can catch or scavenge for food. I’m reminded that such people are so much more susceptible to natural disasters, to disease, to abusive regimes and militant invaders, because they don’t have the means to protect themselves. I read about four children being found dead in a remote and poor part of China because their parents felt driven to abandon them. And then I see water features on sale in a garden centre at £400 each, and it disturbs me.
It isn’t only garden centres, of course. I feel the same way every time I walk through a shopping mall and see the outrageous prices being charged for small bottles of coloured water that smell nice. (I gather it was a small bottle of coloured water that killed the four children in China. Seems they had nothing else to drink.) I could go on, of course I could. I could mention the recent G7 summit at which leaders discussed ways of helping the world’s poor. No doubt some of us applauded while others complained that we shouldn’t be giving our money away to foreigners, both of us forgetting that G7 is a prime manifestation of the very system that breeds such massive inequality. And it’s probably worse now than it’s ever been.
So should I care? I have no idea. Should I be doing something about it? Like what? All I know is that it disturbs me, which is why I’ve been here before and will probably return at irregular intervals.
Bless you, Zoe. Bless you for doing more than I ever did to help the poor people. It’s one reason why you still ride high.
Please excuse the personal note. Things often come down to personal levels when matters disturb me.