“What about the starving children in Kenya?”
People love to shame each other for being well off with this line. I’ve long had a bit of a feeling of guilt myself, and even given serious consideration to being homeless (I’m a radical person, what can I say). However, no-one was ever saved by being guilty. This is obvious, but I think it needs to be said.
A friend of mine who travelled to poor countries told me that the image we have of them just doesn’t match up to the reality. Most of them are actually happy! We get on the news stuff about the horrible situation in Ethiopia and I don’t know what, but in poor countries, people are poor, and they eat a bit less than optimum, and they spend time with their family and community, and they live in a tropical paradise, and they don’t waste much energy complaining, and they spend all their time dancing and having sex (at least in Colombia). Who’s better off?
Another thing I’d like to point out is that there has ALWAYS been enough food to feed everyone; every year companies in the USA throw away enough food to feed everyone in the world who is starving. It’s not a question of possible. The world has never been limited by possibility. The world is limited by people’s intentions, and there is suffering in Ethiopia because of human cruelty. If you want to help anyone, then what matters is love. A good idea employed with love and commitment changes the world. A good idea without love is a shadow. A good idea employed with arrogance is poison.
The starving children in Kenya could use your help, maybe, but they don’t need it. They don’t want to be condescended by your guilt-ridden “charity”. Like anyone, all they want is real, authentic love. Give it to them, if you want. But there’s enough suffering in the rich world to be getting on with. Give love where you feel drawn to giving it and you can’t go wrong.
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