“If I am poor and I sleep on dirt & you are my guest, I think you should hang out with me on the dirt and I should show you where I live. This way, I have a better chance for asking you for help – you my rich guest”.
In other words, I shouldn’t pretend that I don’t live in dirt.
The recent visit of Laura Bush to Bamako, Mali got some press in the US but it was a mega event in Mali. You can listen to the news item through this NPR link. But without being influenced by the otherwise opinionated piece, I can’t seem to look at it any other way. And please…I am not writing this because it involves someone from the current administration.
The reality is that, there is something in the third world psyche that makes it look up to the western world. As much as a small sect of radicals which hates the west and indulges in cleansing the effects of modern western influences on their culture, there is the rest of the population that wants to impress its western counterpart irrespective of the field we want to analyze. Is it that there is some kind of deeply etched disappointment that there lies an accepted justice of racial helplessness for the state of misfortune they are in? Do you think as third world countries like India continue to climb the global economic ladder, there is a chance that such an impression in the minds will get eroded gradually?
Apparently, there was a lush green lawn that was laid out in front of the school with trees, plants and flowers, with electricity being supplied by generators brought by the US embassy to keep the two rooms that the first lady visited, cool. The entrance was remodeled – only the entrance – the dirty graffiti on the side walls remained untouched. Because, the rich guests were not scheduled to take any detours. It was pretty much like a movie set that the US embassy helped build in order to impress the White House for the few hours or minutes that the guests spent.
Where does the problem lie? In this case, Does it lie on the Mali administrators and the Nelson Mandela school officials who agreed to do whatever the US embassy wanted them to do to show their “gratitude” to Laura Bush? Or does it lie on the US embassy and the white house officials who orchestrated this “compassion filled” trip by the first lady in order to steer the political wind in their favor?