Today a mother approached me and my dad at the till of the supermarket, asking if we would pay for her few items of food for herself and her 2 young children who couldn't have been more than 5 or 6. She didn't have enough money to get some ham, yoghurt and bananas. I tried to think of some way to reassure her that her not having any money was not her fault, that this horribly ugly world was unfair and that the system just wasn't designed to support us. I had no words to express to her how ashamed we should all be, nor had I words to comfort her or to assuage her anxiety.
In reality there is no excuse for children going hungry - there is only the cold, hard truth: we refuse to change what we know even though it is within our power. There is nothing we can say to magically make food appear before they hungry eyes of the homeless and helpless of the world. There was nothing I could say to that mother that would ensure that she would not have to beg and struggle to keep her kids warm and fed. Maybe the worst part is that there are so many more parents, or even children, struggling just to get enough food so as not to starve to death.
I often ask how there can be so many starving and homeless while there are people buying ridiculously opulent and extravagant things with little or no real purpose. How can we pick up a newspaper, or watch tv and see contradicting perspectives of what is going on in the world - like fashion and corruption or poverty - and then not stop and cry out "What the hell is wrong with us?!". How can we know about the wars and conflicts happening and not demand that they end? How can we pass fellow human beings in the streets, begging for scraps, without offering them a place within our homes?
Looking around at our world, at life on Earth, brings me no joy - only shame. Every achievement we have made has been marred by some exploitation, disregard or blatant abuse. Every government that takes office is tainted by their failure in formulating real and practical solutions to make substantial changes in the lives of the citizens they serve. Every donation we make is mooted by it's failure to even attempt to make a lasting difference - us being content to simply wish away the troubles with the flick of a wrist and the depositing of a few coins. The actions of every activist, vegetarian, animal lover, plant lover or freedom fighter are of no consequence, for they seek solutions so infrequently that they may as well be dancing on a rooftop, howling at the moon.
The way we live is where the problem lies - and the solution lies within making a drastic change in that respect. This life should be one that we can be proud to bestow upon our children, with the knowledge that they are safe, nourished and loved.