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blog action day – poverty

15 oktober, 2008

To honour the 15th of October 2008 I’m participating in this so called Blog Action Day. And to honor the cause I’m writing in English.

What is poverty? Is it simply a lack of money, a place to stay in with a acceptable ceiling or is it when one starves. Is it when one has to do something humiliating to survive, something unethical to see the light of day or living in the streets surviving on handouts?
Well, to put it pure and simple: Poverty is when one lacks an usual or a socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.

Poverty, as such, is when you simply have to rely on someone else to survive, when you can’t afford the simplest of things that most of us take for granted, e.g. food for the day.
So, ask yourself one question (to quote Dirty Harry): What do you have that you simply could not survive without?
Most people think about the computer, or their mobile phone. I guess there are those who think about their hair-dryer or the washing machine. There’s a possibility that there are those who think about Superball or the Olympics. But there are a few of us that remind us that these things are there to make our rich lives simpler, they are only tools for us and we would be able to survive without them.
No, the things we really need to survive is: Food to still our hunger, a place to live in, clothes that keep us warm, people that love us, whether they are friends, family or strangers and, ofcourse, an amount of money so you can keep that life going. When you have these five things you simply have the socially accepteable amount of money and material possessions and can’t call it poverty.

How about this small country called Sweden then? Well, of course we can divide the people in rich and poor, although, like most countries we have this thing in t middle called ‘lagom’, which can roughly be translated to: the middle ground between mediocre and good, neither good nor bad, so-so but pretty good, almost two-thirds awesome. And all us who are in that category think that we have experienced poverty. We say that we ”turn coins (a Swedish expression) to make t to the next pay day”.
But we forget about those who have it even harder, those who go to shelters so that they might get that piece of bread and cup of soup for the day, those who sleep in the gutter and alleyways and those who freeze to death during winter. There are even those who do a minor felony so that they are sent to prison from late fall to the middle of spring.

Yeah, we have those bums, they aren’t so many. But they are out there, somewhere, wandering the streets of the larger cites. They are out there, trying to survive day by day, that’s the real poverty we have in Sweden.

Update: A little bit of music.

Genesis, land of confusion

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