I mentioned Bono in my Poli sci class :)
yeah, my Professor asked the class why they think that there is 100% support, just abut, for third world poor but almost zero for the poor in our own countries.
In jest, I piped up and said "because the third world has Bono behind them"
Well he didn't really agree with me of course, but it does raise an interesting question.
Why isn't there any rock star, or hardly anybody for that matter, campaigning to help those homeless people you meet around every corner downtown?
We discussed this in class with intersting results.
Its probably because we view the people overseas as dependant on us whereas we view the homeless here as people who had been given a chance in life and failed.
On a related note:
In the G8 summit this year there was a figure brought up that the top 1% in America own 40% of the wealth!!
Surely this isn't right!
But we also discussed today how people actually WANT inequality. many people feel it motivates people to work harder,stimulates risk taking and investment, creates an ambition to get ahead.
Nobody really want equality, especially not the government because of Mark Twains old saying,
"If everybody was rich, everybody would be poor"
sadly such inner city initiatives are often led by the very low level grass roots organizations.
since you specifically mentioned an urban problem it brings to mind an initiative announced yesterday to design a revitalization plan for floundering toronto. this same plan is also meant to serve as a basis for other canadian cities. let's pray to god that it is properly done, or else we could be in big trouble.
Man! i was in Toronto on the weekend for the first time in my life!!
I've NEVER been confronted with the kind of homeless situation that you have there. It was quite a shock, I guess I thought the movies over-exagerrated the situation, I just don't understand how someone can be homeless in a place with millions of homes!!!!!!!!! its soo sad!
Its so hard to pass those people, I so much want to give money to them all but I just can't! I just couldn't!! Theres so many...surely they could build shelters or something. anything?!? arg!
One guy was sitting by a garbage can with his pet rat, it was so disturbing, I don't think I'll ever forget that.
Or maybe I'm just not desensisized to it yet...:|
The sad fact is that many homeless people are also mentally ill. Since they aren't ill enough to be forced into institutions they cannot be made to live in shelters and many of them refuse to do so.
Of course there are also homeless people who refuse to stay in them because they can be overcrowded, crime-ridden and dangerous. To some extent this could be due to a shortage of shelters but having enough probably wouldn't completely solve the problem since there will always be many dangerous folks mixed into any population of homeless people. And by that I mean not just deranged people but also criminal types as well.
Its a really complicated problem which may at best be somehow alleviated. But don't let that discourage you. Working on the problem of homelessness is definitely a field that needs more attention and way more workers. So don't let yourself get desensitised. Go with your instict and keep caring as much as you do now. Thats all I can say.
PS When I was living in Dublin, I came also came into close proximity with homeless heroin addicts and alcoholics everyday. Its absolutely heartbreaking some of the things I saw. But it also opened my eyes. I'll never see homeless people the same way again. Thank God.
You know what else? I think it really helps if you have to walk the streets of big cities. Its just too easy to ignore the homeless in America and Canada when we are zipping by them in our cars, dontcha think?
I have to admit that I didn't do much in Dublin myself even with the people right there. First I was scared and appalled at the way they lived. Then I went through a little judgemental phase. When I got over that, I decided not to give them any money to kill themselves with and tried not to look at them as I passed out of guilt.
But if you have a heart, you just can't keep on doing that. It eventually wore me down. On the street you can't miss the humanity in their eyes.
What finally did it for me was two things. One was a bunch of Christians holding a junkie I usually tried to ignore. They were sitting with him on this filthy blanket, holding him and praying over him. I'll just never forget it. Then there was the time, not long before I left that I saw two alcoholics who were literally dying together on the street. I know because I could see it in their eyes. Thankfully, two gaurds had already found them and were trying to attend to them.
But if the gaurds hadnt been there, I just know that I was not strong enough in my faith to have taken action on their behalf. Even then I was parylzed somehow, so I definitely know what you mean when you say you're not sure if you would have helped the homeless man you saw. But what I did do was decide, no vow, right then to build a stronger faith, one that would empower me to at least minister to the people I encounter in my everyday life no matter who they are or how they live etc.
I know I am a loooong way still from holding a junkie, but with God's help, I believe that I am slowly becoming more proactive, more likely to help in whatever small way I can manage and that's much better than the way I used to be.
And we're supposed to be an advanced and superior species. :rolleyes:
I think that it suxs that some humans are denied the basic human rights like a house and water. I wish that everyone had a safe place to live. But the sad thing is that some of the homeless want to live on the streets. I knew of a homeless man that just gave up on life and wanted to live on the streets and I think thats really sad.:sad:
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