scraps from the high table dont make it

I was browsing comments after watching this moving video clip. Most were full of praise and wonder. One stood out in opposition. The writer claimed global warming was a hoax, suggested the speech and video were part of a sinister political exercise, and most disturbingly, claimed the USA was ‘the most generous nation in the world’.

Quite how he thought that dubious fact countered what the young girl had said is beyond me. But it highlights a flaw in so many of our good intentions. We are confusing donating with sharing. They are not the same.

Even though money is apparently in short supply, we are still attached to the notion that if you throw enough money at a problem it will go away. Charities persuade us that tiny percentages of our incomes can make enormous differences to people in need. This is clearly true and not to be undervalued. However, when it comes to global crisis, it is skirting the issue.

A central factor in current world problems is the large divide between rich and poor societies, between East and West. Yes, this is nothing new. But we need something new. Can we accept what sharing means and put it into action? One dictionary definition says sharing is, ‘to use, participate in, enjoy, receive, etc., jointly.’

With our neighbours, and people throughout the world, this means both the good and the bad, the wealth and the problems. Till now, our rich nations have gone out to assist the less fortunate in all kinds of ways, but only as long as their pampered lives back home have not been significantly cut back. This will no longer do.

When you give a homeless person on the street money how does that help them? Often as not, it will merely help them buy drink or drugs that enable them to forget their predicament for a short time. All too soon reality returns with a vengeance. This is not solving a problem but compounding it. Could you instead invite them to your home, feed and bathe them, provide them with fresh clothes and a place to lay down and sleep?

 The lip service currently paid to less fortunate societies by way of aid and counsel from Western governments, only nurtures corrupt regimes and fosters further resentment and desperate measures by the dispossessed inhabitants. We are barely scratching the surface. Can our nations open our borders, accept and welcome our brothers and sisters, and go to their countries and help put in place workable infrastructures for a sustainable future? And do without, ourselves, to make it happen?

More to the point, can we even begin to start thinking and acting along these lines? It is our world and it is a world we share today with six billion people. Share. How can we do otherwise?

‘Idealistic claptrap’, I’m sure would be the response of many. That is a knee jerk reaction. We dont want to share what we have. Certainly not equally. It is contrary to human nature. We have worked hard to attain what we have. Why should we give it up to be squandered by people we dont even know? If they are in trouble they have brought it on themselves. Serves them right. Its a dog eat dog world. Survival of the fittest……..and so on…

Sharing means saying truthfully, ‘Whats mine is yours, and whats yours is mine.’ We need to get used to the idea that nothing less will do.

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