Yesterday a child died. He was 16 and has been on kidney dialysis for years. Because of the health-care system here the operation would have cost over 1 million Pesos (roughly £15,000) then hundreds of pounds per month for the rest of his life for follow-up meds. Impossibly expensive for people whose salaries wouldn’t even cover those costs, never mind food, rent, etc…. Those who complain about the NHS and having to wait for so long are truly ignorant of how life is for most of the world. It’s obviously not perfect, but it’s the best thing about England!
So what do you say? What do you do for a mother who lost her son? For a mother who lost two children before Michael…In the Philippines wakes are 24 hours a day until the funeral. The body is in a coffin with a piece of glass on top to see the upper body and there’s supposed to be people there all the time until the burial. Culturally, it’s their way of showing family and raising a bit of money for the funeral – which is impressive, just a little different to the English way of hiding the body in the morgue before putting it into the ground forever, no-one really sees it as our culture in England is to avoid the subject of death as much as possible. Not exactly psychologically healthy.
Either way, what’s not healthy for the world is situations where children are dying from preventable causes. Today, over 30,000 people have died because of preventable causes like malnutrition, fevers, and diseases which were easily preventable/treatable. The issue, is money. Our whole world is built on the idea of money and the idea that making as much money as possible is good – greed is good, our purpose is to consume – we’re not people anymore we’re consumers. losing our humanity we become a part of that system which allows such suffering, we become the oppressors. forgetting what’s important to us, told that individualism is good and that we must express it through our clothes, our make-up, our food, all those products within that shitty system, we lose our humanity! we lost the ability to empathise with other people, we lose the idea that all people are equal or that all people have the right to life, and accept that poverty and suffering happen! it’s part of life, part of nature, but we created it all the while! poverty, as mandela said, is a man-made disease, and it can be taken away by people. the first step is to recognise the inhumanity of our world, how that system works, and become aware of our power and responbility to do something!
So for today, I ask you, what’s the most important thing to you? If it’s to have a ‘good’ life, to get a house, a car, to get good clothes, to eat good food, then you have become part of that oppression… you have become nothing but a consumer and in that consumption you see no purpose for your own life but to consume. To find meaning in such branding, Coke’s ‘Come to the other side of life’ or cellphone’s declaring ‘Freedom is unlimited texts’ we have sold out our very selves! Consumption is a tool of the powerful to sate the passion and power of people. We have more power than we can imagine, to mention mandela again, and our first step is to actually realise what’s important to us, to rediscover our humanity and recognise that every single person has that right to! In our world geography determines most of success. Where you are born is a matter of pure luck and in no way have we done anything to deserve being born in the richest countries or richest families. As U2 sing, where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die…
If we truly believe all people have humanity, if we truly believe each person has those rights to life and respect and dignity, we would do something about it instead of watching child after child die… acknowledging it could have been us but grateful it wasn’t. Our world is screwed up… but we have the power to change it… Obviously we can’t do it all, but that’s so often an excuse for people to do nothing – we do nothing and we’re admitting the system, allowing it to happen. We can, though, do something. We can change someone’s world – give them the opportunity to get an education and work their way out of poverty, give them life-saving medicines and allow them to live, we can’t change every life ourselves, but we can change a lot!