18 June 2014

Hypocrisy on a mammoth scale

World Cup, Brazil, 2014

There's this photo that is floating around the internet at the moment which shows a woman rummaging for food inside a rubbish container.  At the same time, sports fans are streaming by next to her, on the street, (perhaps) oblivious to what is happening inside the container.

As it later transpires, the photo originated from 2013.  How it resurfaced a year later, only to be widely copied wholesale is a matter for Internet sleuths to figure out.  It certainly does highlight the social injustices that dominate daily life in the country, but should we need a huge "sports" event like this to remind us of the destitute that live in abject poverty?  At some point soon, the football matches will be over, the tourists will return home, and this woman will still be looking for scraps to eat, but no one will show any interest; there is simply no profit to be made from it.

The poor and the homeless are the pariahs of society, we don't want them to appear in front of us, pricking our conscience.  'Out of sight, out of mind.'  Some local authorities in Britain have built spikes into the ground in shop doorways to make it impossible to lay down.  Tramps have to move on and find somewhere else to doss down for the night.

Bottom line: Brazil does not enjoy a monopoly on poverty.  Perhaps we shouldn't criticise the Brazilians' inaction until all our own citizens are adequately housed, fed and schooled. 

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Squeaky Door by Elizabeth Chairopoulou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.