Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Do You Know This Person?

In Australia, while people ensconced in their lavish McMansions drink expensive wine and throw another shrimp on the stainless steel barbie, 100,000 people will be turned away from refuges and shelters for the homeless tonight.

They will include lonely men and women (like the one above), unfortunate people who have fallen through the cracks, people down on their luck, people who may have drinking or drug problems or mental sickness. But you may not realize that many of those who'll be sleeping out tonight are not individuals but families or part families. Yes, parents with kids who've been evicted or had their homes sold from underneath them or been driven away by a violent spouse, families with nowhere to stay, no where to sleep.

They will sleep under bridges, in doorways, on park benches. The night will be long and the ground or concrete will be hard. And the dawn won't bring them a new beginning but more of the same. In affluent countries like Australia or Europe or America that this should happen is a crime.

But saddest of all is that all of these people are someone's brother or sister, husband or wife, father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, aunt or uncle, son or daughter, nephew or niece, grandson or granddaughter!

Is a member of your extended family sleeping rough tonight?

Photo Link.


betmo said...

are you sure you didn't move here? your home sounds an awful lot like mine. and i am sorry about that.

Daniel said...

We have broken down the concept of the sharing, extended family and replaced it with the greedy, me-first nuclear one, Betmo.

It has been a retrograde step!

bluegrrrrl said...

Wow--sobering post, Daniel (not that I needed to sober up--it's only 6:30 a.m. where I am...)

It is so much easier to look the other way when we see a homeless, dirty street person huddled in a corner or walking toward us...We don't think of them as real people who once had "real" lives like ours, who are part of a "real" family, which most of us take for granted...

It is a crime to nurture a system where the rich get richer while the poor go hungry and homeless. We call ourselves civilized people, but we are anything but that when we can turn our heads from the kind of brutal truths that you have profiled here.

Daniel said...

Many people have sold their soul for material possessions and status, Bluegrrrrl. We value things more than people!

Worried American said...

It is a fate that has often haunted me in respect to my eldest son who suffers from Bipolar Disorder. Many people with this mental health issue wander away from family and friends and live like those you mention. So far, my son has disappeared for mere months at a time but has always returned to us.

I have often donated to corner beggars and have been chided for it. People say the beggars make hundreds of dollars a day (some scam artists do) or that they will spend the money on alcohol or drugs. Perhaps so, but it isn't my place to judge my fellow man. Some are probably truly needy. Some suffer from mental health issues, some suffer from PTSD as a result of the wars.

My Wild Child and mate camp out and fish at the San Jacinto river and became acquainted with a group of the homeless who resided in the forest along the river. They built shelters from scraps, fished, and scavenged in the campsite dumpsters for food, and a few hitchhiked into the outskirts of the city to beg at intersections. They were not criminals nor evil people, just fellow humans eking out an existence, and were always appreciative of aid offered them.

Daniel said...

Unfortunately the dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest capitalist system is for the advantage of the few not the many, Worried.

That is where families are so important though the idea of family responsibility has been diluted in this me-first world.

Hope your son continues to keep in touch!