Poverty: The Real Weapon of Mass Destruction





Occupy Wall Street protestors in New York via Facebook

 I can post pictures that are more graphic but I won't because I know most of us don't want to see them.
They're not pictures of glamourous celebrities, air-brushed models or cute, happy children. 
They're pictures of heartbreaking situations that many of us can't relate to. 
You know there's something seriously wrong with the way this world works 
when you can't relate to how billions of other people lead their daily lives. 

Poverty exists everywhere.
In developing nations such as Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Philippines,Cambodia, Thailand,
  Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, just to name a small few, and even in wealthy countries like America.

And we may think we live in the same city, country or planet as they do... 
but in reality their world is completely different to ours.

At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

1 billion children live in poverty. That's every second child in this world.

1.6 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity.
(And we can't imagine living a day without the Internet or our cellphones)

According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”

The wealthiest nation on Earth has the widest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nation.


nida said…
As long as we call them 'developing' countries, we are extending our superiority complex over the 'other' 'less fortunate' countries and peoples. As long as we are using the 'developed' countries as our measuring sticks of what progress looks like, then we will never solve the issue of poverty in the world. The current model of 'development' produces the unsustainable environment we live in - the current model of 'development' is the main cause of global poverty itself. Once we recognize these systemic failures, then we will also realize that the only way to solve the poverty issue in those 'other' countries is by starting to solve the issues within the 'developed' world first.
Shahirah Elaiza said…
Salaam Nida, thank you for sharing your perspective! The truth is I don't think we should be worried about labels as we should be worrying about what we are doing to help the people in "developing" countries.

You're right, the model of government isn't helping and I think restructuring needs to be done to focus on these social issues. Many children, as the future of our world, are abused, neglected, undernourished and disempowered.

As you said, developed countries need to solve their own issues as well. I don't think there's a way for us to completely eradicate poverty at the rate we are going but we can alleviate the situation by doing whatever we can.
Shahirah Elaiza said…
My point is that it's fate that we are in the position to help. This is the current reality.
nida said…
Labels are tools in this case, to help us better understand the situation we are dealing with. Have you heard of Jeffery Sacks and his noble idea called "weapons of mass salvation"? You might be interested in checking it out.

The global system of poverty is a direct cause of free-market economic 'development'. You might like to also read about systems theory by Immanuel Wallerstein.

If we only fix the distribution of wealth in the world, we would fix global poverty. Fact is, poverty should be a non-issue, because there are plenty of resources to go around the planet's 7 billion population; however this wealth is largely concentrated within the 'core' states that control the system.

Charitable 'Aid packages' may alleviate the suffering for a few people in the short term, but the UN and other anti-poverty agencies are not designed to counter the growth of poverty in the world, they are only there to put small band aids on the bigger problems, and make people believe that they are actually 'fighting poverty' in the 'third world'.

And I think we have to start focusing on those bigger problems, if we are serious about fighting and eliminating global poverty.

Just imagine if the whole world paid their share of zakat :)?
Anonymous said…
I once heard a headmistress on an open day tour at a private high school tour say 'with much privilege comes much responsibility'. It's one of the things that has always stuck with me. Do what you can, on a global issue, whether it is demonstrating, lobbying your local MPs, donating your wealth or your time. You hands might be small but their your hands to take action with.
At the same time I see many individuals who are passionate about global issues & inequalities ignore local issues. Ignore the plight in their own communities, of poverty, of not taking part in rehabilitating lost teens, mentoring children from deprived backgrounds, organizing sports for kids, clearing up parks, helping the elderly lead more productive lives. There is no sense of community responsibility.

Unknown said…
As long as we allow corporations to take over good viable land that the native people need to grow food, we create hunger, sickness and disease. people that have to move and leave their inherited land because of wars so that fat cats can get fatter, cause the destruction of society and communities.
they go from self-reliance and god-given farming to refugee camps and tents.
Unknown said…
Corporate interest in land that belongs to the native people that is taken by war, interferes with the self-reliance of its culture and their communities. Most land was inherited and is god-given so that people are able to feed themselves and their families.
when they cannot grow their food and tend their land, because of war, they are subject to refugee camps which create dependency.
this is where hunger, sickness and disease linger.