Some perspective

2005-10-28

in Politics, Travel

I read something tonight – something Astrid sent me from Ecuador – that makes me feel ashamed about how trivial all the thoughts and concerns represented on this site are. How is it that we can legitimately complain about this or that aspect of life in Oxford when the whole experience of it is incomparably safer and richer than that of a huge tranche of humanity? A vignette of some of the more shocking products of that inequality lends incredible poignancy to the question. A more important question that follows is: what must we do?

To be exposed to the enormity of poverty and injustice is to be charged with an overwhelming ethical sense that something must be done; and yet, the content of that something is unclear. The experience is reminiscent of that of reading an article my aunt wrote: one of an astonished powerlessness. All that I feel as though I can do now is not to forget about it, just because it is usually concealed and peripheral to my thinking. If we are go get anywhere, as a world of people. we need to deal with this.

Perhaps, on the basis of her experiences in South America, Astrid will be able to understand – and help many more of us understand – the complexities and the imperatives involved.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous October 28, 2005 at 5:13 pm

Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie

B October 28, 2005 at 6:57 pm

But somebody’s gonna have to answer
The time is coming soon
When the blind remove their blinders
And the speechless speak the truth

It has to start somewhere
It has to start sometime
What better place than here?
What better time than now?

Milan October 28, 2005 at 7:21 pm

Lovely as it may sound in the voice of Tracy Chapman, I don’t think that kind of revolution would be very useful or likely to contribute to the improvement of the world.

I’d like to be completely confident that James Wolfensohn, writing in The Globe and Mail, was right when he said: “We can use the energy and technology driving globalization to help the poor. Call it global action – but if we are creative and committed, we can take advantage of this moment in history to do miraculous things.”

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