This morning I woke up and ate breakfast…it was hot here so I turned on the air conditioner. I dreamt of the diamond ring I hope to purchase one day. I imagined myself clothed in the latest yuppie fashions, driving a VW or a sensible SUV. I imagined that I fought for justice for the oppressed. I made sure to buy free-trade products and boycotted the major corporate conglomerates. How can I drive my SUV if I am rattled with guilt?
This morning I am responsible for the death of perhaps just under 1000 people. This figure is comprised of men, women, and children. Over night, as I slept dreaming of how I would decorate my apartment when I get back to Austin, thousands went to sleep hungry, hundreds dies in their sleep from water-borne diseases, and millions gave up hope. I think a desk from Ikea would look great in the living room. I have to have a place to type this post.
We have been bombarded with accounts of the tragic circumstances that face Africans everyday. We hear the horror stories from Rwanda and the 800,000 killed during the 1994 genocide. We hear celebrities bring voice to the massacres that Darfurians struggle to exist under. We are asked to add our one voice to a campaign to alleviate poverty in Africa. We are impressed by schools that rich TV hosts set up in Africa to educate girls.
I commend those that work diligently on the ground to love Africa. I openly ponder here what consuming more will do to save a poverty, war ridden Africa? Is the answer to buy the right products and direct the outcome over there with our pocket books? What shall we sustainable support by marginalizing many from the resources the many needs.
We nobly go “there” and serve the poor little black people over the summer. Some of those folks get caught up in the romanticism of service in the Dark Continent that they return time and time again. They bring us stories of redemption and salvation with them as the mighty saviors. Hear what I have done or look at what I did. They contact their earth conscious friend with their RED phone and make arrangements to go shopping at the GAP to get African friendly clothes. Perhaps sipping on a free-trade latte in the back seat of a sensible SUV. I bet Steve Earle or someone like this is singing protest songs to infuse our hearts with glee and a guiltless attitude of consumption.
It is not that consumption is inherently bad. You have to consume the right shit. You can do what you like as long as it is in vogue. Cool shit cannot be bad shit. Oppression is not cool, therefore cool equals’ justice.
The pressures we are filled with of the determining factors of success in America are all bullshit. When did exploiting 70 percent of the global population become cool? How do we sleep at night? On a Chinese made pillow! At least they are fucking up their country and not ours. Guess what, the pollution of the fastest growing nation is blowing its way to mainland America.
It is not the American dream to live in a small home with no air conditioning or heating. Perhaps this home is filled with a partner and a kid or two. There is not need for a driveway as there is no car. You do not balk in the morning over what you shall wear…you put on a short and pants and head of to break big rocks into little rocks. Maybe you are lucky and shuffle paper in an office kissing rich American ass all day. You prostrate yourself before the almighty dollar to ensure that your brothers and sisters are kept in mind for that aid money. You put on your best sad face and smile big and answer with a assuring yes.
Where is the justice in this? Why does God not act in Africa? When will the wars and violence cease? God stop [us from exploiting Africa. Show us we do not have all the answers. We keep dumping money into Africa. It happened 200 years ago by the initial colonizers. We dumped money into the continent in the independence movements of the 50’s and 60’s. What has changed? We need to back off of Africa. We need to stop buying friend and start earning them. What happens to the rich kid that throws money all around the playground? The moment he stops the hand outs he has not friends. As he dishes out the money he is inclined to make the rules of all of the games played. The other kids placate themselves to him and they secretly grind their teeth. They are just waiting for that kid to miss a step.
The poor kids out there take the money and blow it on shit they could never get otherwise. They blow the money on bubble gum, soda, baseball cards, and video games. Not one of those poor kids will take the money and invest it. In this spending spree with the rich kids money they bond and plot against the rich kid.
As the rich get richer they also become increasingly foolish and paranoid. The poor get poorer and become wise and vengeful. If you kick someone often enough and hard enough when they are down they will eventually fight back.
We have to stop being so righteous to Africa’s plight. We owe it to Africa for the people we stole. The land we raped. The resources we consume. The nations we lied too. We are the poor ones. We have to keep consuming in order to fell better about ourselves. We have to follow that cool protocol in order to be in line with society. We are the ones that are enslaved by material positions. What idiots we are to offer this life as progress and freedom to those poor bastards on Africa. Who is the poor fool?