Contemporary culture has given us a compartmentalized year that goes around and around in circles and we go along with it. Pretty soon we will be saying good-bye to 2005 and we will jump into 2006, and start the cycle once more.
We have become so used to that idea that there is a tendency to forget the past tragedies and events and instead concentrate on the next phase of the year whether is Halloween or Thanksgiving. Once more we are immersed in frenetic buying according to the times. Is it time now for candy, brooms and pumpkins or is it time for turkeys and cranberries?
The people who have suffered the latest tragedies will have no special season. Their season is one of hunger, cold and need. Nevertheless, they are so far away where we cannot see them, so we must try not to forget.
Do we remember everyday about the people being killed in Iraq or the people dying of AIDS in Africa? Do we remember the people who have suffered the floods, the hurricanes, the storms, and the earthquakes?
I want to believe that we have become numb to pain. The continuous images of disaster everywhere leave us more and more powerless before a reality that is so tragic at many places. Had tragedy happened here to us, what would we expect from others?
Would we be satisfied with a food drive, collection of money and good wishes?
I think we would be very grateful and accept with joy the presents and good deeds, but what happens after a month or two? How do people get back to a decent place to live and develop?
Poor people have shown us that they need more than subsistence; they also need an infrastructure that would allow them to establish their lives with dignity and self-growth. But modern culture and the economy have a way of making people dependent. We have a society with agencies and organizations that have clients. The poor are the clients and many middle class jobs would disappear if there were no poor. Therefore, as a society we continue to have workshops, gatherings and outreach programs where they are the object of our thoughts. We are losing ground in meeting them as real people, listening to them and finding ways out of their economic poverty and our spiritual poverty.
In this culture of supremacy of the strong and the powerful, we are approaching the young people, the old people and the disenfranchised people as groups that have to accept what the small powerful minority orders for them and if they dont like it, society makes laws to declare the legality of matters.
Are young people tired of this situation? Yes, and they have decided to ignore the it until they can have the power. How do the elderly feel? Many of them still have the energy to struggle, other have given up and are disgusted with a world that treats them with contempt. How will the poor respond? History will tell us how they will react.