Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Slumdog Millionaire Child Actor Homeless

Hello World Family,
Falcon here with a story that just boggles her mind. Two young stars of the OSCAR award winning Best Picture. “Slumdog Millionaire” Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and their families are homeless after police evicted them and tore down their homes right in front of them. Ali’s father was also beaten and hospitalized. These children came from the slums of Mumbai, and have been returned to those conditions, and now have no place to live.

There is a trust fund for the young actors and other children in the slums called Jai Ho, but it is for homes and education in their adulthood, not for living expenses right now. They are in school for the first time in their lives, but without a place to live, it seems a bit ridiculous that something cannot be done about their circumstances.

Okay…that was my really nice presentation of the facts: Here’s how I really feel: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Why in the hell can’t someone do something to improve the overall conditions for these families? These children are in an Oscar winning film that has made in excess of $300 million, and NO ONE can help these families?! COME ON!

It makes no sense to me that in the midst of all that success and affluence, people can live in Mumbai and simply ignore the abject poverty around them. It is equally grotesque that those who are making millions in part because of the artistic contribution of these young people cannot step up and help their families and bring them into a tolerable human condition.

I know personally of cases (too many to mention) where individuals and/or groups have made lot of money at the expense of/or from direct intellectual property of contributions made by people who are completely uncompensated and frankly, I don’t know how they sleep at night. Probably, they don’t sleep well. I am sure that there is some human metaphysical malfunction that allows them to reason through their indifference that it is somehow not their responsibility or that they are actually entitled to their prosperity, while others are simply doomed to their misfortune. Again, sleeping at night must be difficult, if they still have enough connection to human compassion to realize their arrogance. Here’s the facts: those that feel most separated and entitled to their feigned prosperity are the most responsible. Your deeds are built on the backs of those who are exploited in your presence, or as a result of your inaction. If you have prospered while someone you know has faltered and you used their energy to garner your spoils, you are on the pathway of despicable and reprehensible contribution to those less fortunate.

Rectification can be somewhat achieved by the following actions: do what you can as a person who has more than others to improve the condition of others in whatever way you can. Those sitting in the high-rise towers looking down on the slums of Mumbai must have a higher tolerance for pain than I do; I couldn’t look down on that situation and do nothing. So do something. Help those in your community to empower themselves more profoundly. Take a meal to an elder in the community; donate to the food bank, volunteer at a shelter, regularly. Work in the community to improve conditions for everyone. I know, we are all busy, but anytime that you can spend will be more rewarding to your soul than you realize, and it will make someone else’s life better, sometimes in ways you can’t foresee.

Second, pay it back and forward. If you know where the contributions to your quality of life come from, make sure to let people know that they are appreciated every day. Be kind to service workers, and those who serve you, usually without thanks. Give an extra tip to a maid, waiter, service-worker at the holidays who may just be planning simply to get by, rather a lavish celebration of a given day. Give it where you owe it. Pay it forward where it can do an expanded good. Pay it both ways, because that’s how you got where you are.

It would be easy to make whole cultures responsible, and that blanket doesn’t put individuals in the position of becoming activists to change intolerable conditions within a system that is clearly depraved. There is no excuse for lack of courage when so many are suffering. There are so many atrocities around the world every day; this is a microcosm.

These children got a taste of life away from that poverty, and did a job that has earned them the opportunity to be out of it, along with their families. These young people need to be fairly compensated the way a union actor would have been and give them a quality of life that anyone would be proud of today for the same amount of work.

I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to live where I live, and do what I do. I am committed to spending time doing more for those who cannot, teaching those to fish so that they can be fishermen, as it were. I hope that we all do that in our lives. This example is making me more aware of how frequently (or infrequently) I participate in paying it back and forward.

Falcon and Dove

No comments: