Storm in the stomach
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance
of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who
have too little."
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States of
A storm in the stomach may force some people to rush to the toilet;
for they are urged by the need to purge the delicacies imbibed in an
exhibition of greed and gluttony; an exercise in the emptying of the
bowels due to the vulgarity of excess. This storm in the stomach,
however, is about a people purged of hope and faith; people who have
lost their courage to live in the face of helplessness, insignificance,
When people live in the scourge of poverty, without having the
essential elements of life: food, clothing, shelter, health care, or the
financial means to obtain these within their society; it leads to social
exclusion and the inability to participate in society. As a result, such
people lose their dignity of life; become cheap and compliant, used and
abused in untold ways. I believe that every human life is sacred from
conception to natural death.
Therefore, the life and dignity of every person must be, respected
and protected at every stage, in every condition, without question. In
fact, the right to life is the first and most fundamental principle of
human rights, often forgotten by most authorities. However, the right to
life must ennoble the human condition. If not, it is not a life. A life
of poverty is a life of shame; not for the poor, but for those wallowing
in a life of indulgence when their brethren go hungry. If we do not
endeavour to repress poverty, if we permit the poor to bring up their
children in the brutalising influences of want and hunger; at some stage
in their life, the bite of need will drive men to crime, and society
criminalised, if not revolutionised.
Hunger amongst people is not just a problem; it is an insult and
obscenity for a society that tolerates it. The victim of starvation
burns up his own body fats, muscles, and tissues for fuel. His body
quite literally consumes itself and deteriorates rapidly. The kidneys,
liver, and endocrine system often cease to function properly. A shortage
of carbohydrates, which play a vital role in brain chemistry, affects
Lassitude and confusion set in, so that starvation victims often seem
unaware of their plight. The body's defenses drop; disease kills most
victims of hunger before they have time to starve to death. The truth is
that these people: the poor, the hungry, and the wretched, have the
desire and the need to live as much as, anyone else on the planet; but
do not have the means and the ability. What is shameful is the fact that
the misery of these people is, caused not by any law of nature; but by
the failures of our institutions that have a responsibility to ensure, a
society free of hunger and poverty.
This, therefore, becomes our greater sin and shame; that we permit
such irresponsible and callous indifference in our institutions. When
the class of people who have the power to rule, rob instead; the nation
loses its wealth, and the people driven to poverty.
Hence, it is needless for me to state that those who minister to
poverty and hunger are accomplices in the two worst of all crimes; more
than in the plunder, they indulge in.
Nothing incites to money, crimes like great poverty or great wealth.
The wealthy indulge in crime out of greed for more wealth; the poor, out
of hunger and poverty. Hence, it is well worth remembering, that poverty
is the parent of revolution and crime. However, crime obviously has many
causes, and poverty is most likely one of them in some cases. It seems
likely that some poor people may sometimes have to resort to theft in
order to survive. But the causal relationship between crime and poverty
is only likely for some types of crimes.
Other crimes, such as fraud, crimes of passion, serial murder etc.
bear absolutely no link to poverty. There may be even an inverse link,
since poor people are not in a position to carry out a crime like fraud
or insider trading, which are the crimes of the rich.
Thus, if we are to create a crime free society, a contended society,
for discontent spawns rebellion, the eradication of poverty becomes our
first duty: a duty to which every other consideration must be,
However, the eradication of greed requires enlightening the mind; a
more difficult goal to achieve. Of all the preposterous assumptions of
humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds the belief that the poor are
fated by those well housed, well oiled, and well fed. Such belief only
validates my theory that in the extremes of society: be it wealthy or
the poor, a lunatic fringe, always roam free.
Every life deserves a certain amount of dignity: no matter how poor
or damaged the shell that carries it. The dignity of the human person is
the foundation of a moral vision for society, and the principles of our
social teaching, and all religion. However, it is sad to note that in
our society, human life is under direct attack from poverty.
Today, in our society, the value of human life is, threatened by the
class of people who rob the nation of its resources and riches without
caring a mite for the welfare of the State and its people. Whereas it is
the measure of every institution, whether it threatens or enhances the
life and dignity of the human person; the yardstick for measuring is,
fixed by the same class that loots and plunders. Hence, values do not
measure up to universally accepted principles.
That being that, poverty exists more in its denial than in
acknowledgment because it suits the people entrusted with eliminating
poverty to do so. Denial is the cover for their crimes. Thus, the poor,
having no hope of finding dignity in their motherland, or the power to
change things; turn to, migration as succour. The storm in their stomach
gives them no other choice.
Immigration is always a hopeful story about courage and sacrifice,
hope and sorrow. But that story obscures the fact that, especially for
the poor, immigration is often a traumatizing event, one that often
tears families apart. We can prevent this pain, and slow the flow of
migration permanently, only by addressing the factors that propels
migrants, especially women, to leave in the first place. There is no
denying that there are huge benefits to migration: mothers are able to
send money home so their children can eat and go to school. But there
are consequences too: many of these children deeply resent their mothers
They feel abandoned; and as a result, go astray searching for the
love they feel they missed. The consequences are that we produce a
society of moral weaklings and undeveloped or under developed minds that
have no values enshrined in them.
Perhaps it suits the class that has the power to rob, so that they
can carry on their trade unhindered. But the system as a whole becomes
unstable, and our society falls apart, and into crime, disease,
malnutrition, poverty, prostitution: component parts of a society in
In the absence of a will to, genuinely address the cause of poverty
and other issues that flow out of it from those entrusted to do so; we
must demand a different approach, one in line with the goal of keeping
families intact. If not, the rot will continue and some men who do
absolutely nothing that is useful to the people or the country, will
continue to amass a fortune while millions of men and women who work all
the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.
It is time we, the people, took a different approach to our thinking.
Sadly though, I wonder whether a people living in poverty, have the
capacity to think!
See you this day next week. Until then, keep thinking; keep laughing.
Life is mostly about these two activities.
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