Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Your right to live - going once, twice..

this is following a discussion that I had with some people. Let me set the context first: we were discussing how, when we go to a developed country, we are thoroughly conditioned. how we forget the basic lifestyle and real problems here. and therefore how most of us who go abroad, stay abroad.

i cited the attitude towards water as an example of deep conditioning. when here, the person would have awaited the metro water lorry’s daily rounds as eagerly as any of us! you cant have lived here without seeing how parched the city is in the summer – how people struggle for water. but as soon as we go abroad, we forget that there is a thing like a water shortage in another part of the world. we blissfully leave the taps running, use bath tubs and generally find a million ways to waste water without a second thought.

someone said that the first world has a “right” to waste water. that they had paid for the water they used, and could therefore do anything they wanted with it. which is when i was really scared...... were we going to again put a price tag on something beyond mere numbers?

when we say that an American or European has the “right” to waste something as precious as water because he can afford it, what are we doing to the poor soul dying for lack of water in an Asian or African country? What are we implying? That he hasn’t "bought" his right to live?

if our survival is to depend on the price tag that we can slap on ourselves, what happens to those who will never be consumers? to those who live in abject poverty while they pay for our freedom and opulent lifestyle?

i think its especially bitter when a person who is living on the margins of society says such things. we have been discriminated against, yet we will blindly repeat whatever we are taught to because we have been so well conditioned - so what if the policies were mouthing spell our own doom.

whether we like to concede it or not, the colour of our skin still matters, as does our gender, our physical appearance, our “normalcy” etc. each society has its own caste system – while we may fancy ourselves equal to the white man by living the way he does and eating the way he does, we will never be his equal. when push comes to shove, we are always the second priority.
(unfortunately by the time we learn this the hard way, we would have already spent a couple of years and the better part of our career in whichever foreign country.)

yknow, thats another thing..... while were discussing this, ive something to say about those who are paid by a foreign employer - people working in multinationals and people living abroad.

sometimes its a case of divided loyalties for ‘em : do they subscribe to the dirty politics of the current host country (which is feeding and paying them now) or do they support their home country and be loyal to their roots? i think without doubt, they should NOT support the politics of the first world. the guys paying you your money yes, but he doesnt own your soul dammit! have a spine – you owe him that much that you will decently abide by his rules.... but you dont trample on other people because he says so.

money goes this far and no further.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Woodworm said...

Very thoughtful post! In fact, when we think about how racism has come to what it is in America - it wasnt enough that slavery was abolished in the late 19th century or that the civil rights movement emerged in the 1960s that the blacks got their righful place. Not until the blacks asserted pride in their own culture - "Black Power" and a couple of militants like Malcolm X and groups like Rastafarians came into the picture that they really barged into into mainstream society. Whadya know - we have Eminems of today into black-style rap and hip-hop. I would say that is amazing.

I have divided opinions on your last point. Multinationals of today have to dance to the tune of money too... and I think it is they who have to disregard the first world and begin things like outsourcing to the third world. It is quite another matter if multinationals have any loyalties to anything at all..

11:16 am  
Blogger Vitalstatistix said...

This is just about one aspect of your post and something that I have given a lot of thinking to, in the recent past. Do you really have to be loyal to your country and do you actually owe it a lot. Firstly, your birth in a particular country is purely chance and not something predestined or predictable. So if you hadn't been born in India, then maybe you would have been born in Australia. Secondly, what has your country done, for you to owe it gratitude ? Does it protect you ? Yes it does, but that is done by Police officers who are paid for by the tax-payers, by arms and ammunitions that are purchased with our money. You get roads, but there is a road tax, you get water, but there is also a water tax. The essential question is, what has your country done to make you owe gratitude ? There is only one thing you get free - that is an identity. Its like a brand label that you wear wherever you go. But even a proof of that identity (a passport) comes at a price. So what should a tax-paying citizen be grateful to his country for ?

3:53 am  

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