Friday, October 23, 2009

Home Makeover While a Billion Starve

Various sources have reported the sad fact. Over a billion people languish in chronic malnourishment. (“World’s Hungry Reach More Than 1 Billion in ’09: UN,” New York Times, Oct. 14)

That’s approximately 1 in 7 of the supposedly most powerful species on the planet. So much for the “Green Revolution” of the 60’s and 70’s. Back then, our leaders and scientists boastfully proclaimed that technology would end world hunger. How they loved to brag and swagger and tug the public along like a dumb coaxed beast.

Same old same old.

But technology won’t save us. Not only that, petrochemical fertilizer and erosion fomented by the “Green Revolution” have decimated the health of Gaea.

Will we ever take off our blinders, and realize that technology is dangerous in the hands of an immature humanity, and that in order to survive we must grow up and get aware?

Last night, while channel surfing, I came upon one of those remodeling shows. You know, strip down your perfectly livable house and put it back together again.

And there it was: a beautiful sun-filled home, complete with marble counters, cathedral ceilings and capacious bedrooms and baths.

This was the “before” preview, soon to be destroyed and redone. A major facelift, so to speak. And I thought, “How many billions of people would be so happy and thankful to live in this magnificent domicile, even for one week of their miserable hard-working downtrodden lives?”

How many untold sufferers would do anything, even whore their soul to Satan, if their children could live in such a lovely home, instead of wither from hunger --not to mention other scourges like oppression, disease, and war?

And then the TV screen filled with the show’s guest couple. The lovely bourgeois. They had just bought this home, and yet they weren’t smiling or happy, even though they were in the wealth club, an elite minority who could afford such a place.

No, they were frowning. Deep, heartfelt frowns. The sort that cut the soul. This house wouldn’t do. The husband rated the master bathroom a 3 out of 10. It wasn’t “male enough.” The wife gave it a 7 out of 10. The color scheme and texture were wrong.

Remember Marley’s Ghost from A Christmas Carol? How its hunched form, wrapped in chains, accosted Scrooge? The Ghost told the quivering miser that the irons were the poundage of greed.

I bet that if we affluent folks could feel the hands of all the exploited billions--those whose countries were wrecked by colonization, the slave trade, diamond mining, and all that--if we could feel their scrawny fingers, tied around us like rope, and sense the weight of their taut ribcages, just as Marley’s Ghost bore the weight of his avarice, we wouldn’t be so callous and shallow and numb and immature and contemptible.

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