I wonder if Chumbawamba will re-release their "Pictures Of Starving Children Sell Records" in response as they did to the original!
Whilst we parade pictures of undernourished black children, we set the limits on our understanding of starvation. We hold the picture up high for all to see. We say, "this is reality". In our minds Africa and the rest of the Third World becomes as big as this picture... and invariably the words beneath the picture say only "Give Generously" or "They Need Your Help." Never "This is what we are doing, with our insatiable taste for luxories". Never "This is what we have done with our tradition of slavery, genocide and exploitation." Worst of all, that picture, and the myths which surround it, never prompt us to ask why...
We exchange this picture, this symbol of helplessness, for our own helplessness. Someone passes a plate around and we put in our loose change. At the same time as feeling compassionate, we feel guilty - and yet we never dare to admit that the picture also symbolises our ignorance, our decadence. We feel shocked, and want rid of the picture; a few pennies buys us the quickest escape route, as we carry on eating ourselves to death from the same plate.
The picture of the starving child is real, but only if we detach it from the lies which usually surround it. It is real when we discover that it is the organised viciousness of the capitalist system, and our part within it, which causes famine. Getting rid of the picture means replacing guilt with action and solidarity. It means overthrowing the entire economic political order. Until then, starving children will continue to sell the notion of a caring, sharing West.
"It is a common myth within capitalist thought that the individual through drive and hard work can become a capitalist. In the USA, it is usual to refer to an individual like John D Rockefeller as someone who rose 'from rags to riches'. To complete the moral of the Rockefeller success story, it would be necessary to fill in the details on all the millions of people who had to be exploited to become a multi-millionaire. The acquisition of wealth is not due to hard wark alone, or the Africans working as slaves in America and the West Indies would have been the wealthiest group in the world."
If Ian Curtis had lived, and enjoyed the ale…
Last edited by Bola on Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.