third world

December 07, 2002 Saturday - 23:50

he sits in the dust, eyes too hungry to cry. he watches us - all of us - go by. resplendent and plump in our wealth, we easily forget him. he whispers, throat too dry to speak. but the roar of our cars drowns him out. he kneels by the side, legs too weak to stand. our heels as we sweep past kick sand in his face.

"i'm scared." but none of us hears him. because he is not from our planet. we live in a world of plenty and we do not know what it is like to have nothing. we only know of one way to live, we can do nothing else. we cannot give anything to him, we are not made for charity.

"give me your jacket," he pleads.

"we will be cold," we say.

he has no clothes.

"leave me some rice," he asks, as we discard our leftovers.

"it costs us too much to send it to you," we answer.

he has no food.

is it our fault, that we do not know? is it our fault, that we can do only too little? is it our fault?

"give me some medicine," he requests.

"you must pay first," we explain.

he is dying of aids.

why should we bother about a problem we cannot solve? we don't know enough. we can't do enough. it is pointless. it is hopeless.

"if you are willing to help, there will be hope," he begs.

but we cannot hear him. we forget that he is there.

but he is there. him and 5 billion others.

don't forget.

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