In this part of the world we say people like things.
We use this phrase to describe those who think they are better than others.
The know-it-alls who think for everybody and want to tell us what to do.
People who like things are those who will shout from roof tops when they think it will give them some prominence.
Ever since we were children I have encountered people who like things. In my grown up years they are still around. They never miss the opportunity to be seen and heard.
Well, people who like things are back in vogue again. This time they are showing their true colours because of the calamity that occurred in Haiti.
They are on the radio and newspapers. They are even on television. They are telling us to come to the aid of Haiti. They are asking us to donate clothing and money to assist the people of that poor little island.
They are telling us why it is important to give our last cents and items of clothing to the Haitians. The way they go about it, it’s as if one is guilty if they do not give something to the Haiti aid effort.
The people who like things are so skilful at their game that they make you feel ashamed that you have not made a contribution. I am now getting sick and tired of this blatant extortion.
I can hardly listen to my favourite radio station without some one telling me to think about the victims of Haiti. I feel pity for those who go to church.
I guess every day they are admonished and told to pray for the people of Haiti. There is a mistaken belief in the minds of those who like things that we should all feel sorry for Haitians and therefore give up our last cents and old clothing to them.
We are made to feel sad that the people of Haiti are in so much trouble. We are driven to guilt because their dwellings have collapsed and they are hungry and thirsty.
In fact, the people who like things are not only terrorizing me, but they are out in force the world over, talking about Haiti. It cannot go on like this. We cannot be bullied into feeling sorry for Haiti. Don’t get me wrong. It is always sad when someone dies. It is a source of great grief when people die in large numbers.
Like all other animals, human beings feel the death of their species. That is a natural feeling.
That said, some of us should be left alone. I have absolutely no intention of helping the people of Haiti. Feeling sad for then should be enough.
You see, besides the fact that we belong to the same human species and we are of the black race, I have little in common with them. For starters they are not my relatives. I do not know those people. Those not killed by the earthquake don’t know me either. So why should I be helping complete strangers whom I have never met. I do not recall any time when I went around to a place in my neighbourhood and gave the poor people who live there some money or clothing.
Like the people of Haiti, my neighbours are human and black. I have never done that. As a result I do not see why I should open my wallet to the survivors in Haiti.
Let’s face it, I live a relatively comfortable life. At least, I have a job and can afford three square meals a day. I am not rich by any means. Being a man of modest means, why should I go out of my way to give my last cents to people in a faraway part of the world? In my country, there are lots of poor people. They are lucky to get a meal. They go around barefoot and dressed in rags. I see them everyday. They do not have shelter. The poor people of this country have nothing and are just like the people of Haiti.
If anyone wants me to lend a helping hand to the poor, why can’t we start at home. The poor of this country would be astounded were they to hear that we are giving money to Haiti.
If they were not so hungry and miserable they would ask us; if they are so poor they are invisible because it is apparent we can’t see them.
At least some of the earthquake victims used to lead a good life. Some of our poor folks have never enjoyed the good life. They have been poor right from the beginning. Until I help the local poor, I have no inclination whatsoever to come to the assistance of Haiti. It does not stop there.
In a country where lots of people are poor, some of them are liable to be my relatives. Indeed, I have plenty of poverty stricken relatives. They can hardly make ends meet. For them Haiti is a daily occurrence. They are hungry, homeless and barefoot. No one has arrived to give them bottled water and nutritious food in fancy little packages.
Rich families in Europe and America have not bothered to come and take up their kids for adoption. They will never get a helicopter ride or appear on television. Before those who like things harass us and tell us about Haiti, they must talk about my poor relatives and all the poverty stricken locals in our midst.
I have a suspicion that if our local poor people were to see all the assistance given to Haiti, they would plead to be taken there.
In spite of the earthquake, things seem to be looking up for many in Haiti. Perhaps those helping them have no poor relatives. In that case it is their right to help. Even if those giving assistance have poor relatives, it is still their right to deny their folks and give to others in a faraway part of the world.
It is called liking things.
As for me I don’t like things. That is why I won’t be helping the people of Haiti. Were I to make that mistake I would not be able to look my relatives in the eye. I am not cruel or insensitive. I am a realist.
And if the people of Haiti resent my lack of generosity Haiti then too bad!