Sunday, June 8, 2014

The existential contradiction

Today I came across 2 articles in the news. Their extreme 'oppositeness' struck me, as did the fact that one was a widely reported event, but the other was stuck away in the back pages. One talks about 2 people and the other about 3.5 million children. The first is the article which talks about a celebrity couple who recently spent an estimated $ 30 million on their wedding. One partner had spent $20 million on a previous wedding, with the marriage lasting a whole 72 days. The other article is one that quotes the aid agency Oxfam as estimating that 3.5 million children live in poverty in the UK alone. Which one would you likely click on if you saw them on your facebook stream?

The danger of our modern world is that with the luxury and facilities available to us, we are likely to forget that life has treated the majority of our race in a different way. A few facts which I gleaned from this site.
  1. Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
    At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.
  2. The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.urce
  3. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”Source
  4. Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
  5. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.Source
  6. Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.
There are many more numbers and figures that I have found in different places. All of them tell me that the majority of the world is deprived of many of the things I consider essential. I do not need to look far away. I just need to walk down the road with my eyes and ears open. The people in need are everywhere. But in my air-conditioned car with windows up and in my closeted world which only the rich can access, I may never see them.

I wish the newly weds all happiness and blessings. However, I do pray that whatever they can do or give to ease the suffering of others they will do. And not waste their billions on things that have no lasting value. And I pray that I will do the same.