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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The True Meaning of Charity (Part 2)


I felt that this background information about my past is important in order for one to better understand the other side. That is, the side of the one “supposedly needing charity”. For, unfortunately, while, rightly or wrongly, many praise the efforts of those who help a particular cause, it’s often the case that those who are “in need of help” remain hidden or even distorted to pull at the heartstrings of potential alms giver. And while the media may attempt to reach out to the people that are facing difficult life circumstances, the lives of such people is often misconstrued to fit into the idea that these situations arise only out of misfortune and society appears to have had no part of the play in maintaining a state of inequality or poverty.


As a disabled person, I can speak of my experiences as a disabled person. At the same time, while I share my experience of disability with many other disabled people, my experience is also unique and individual. Not every disabled person may have had the same experience of a boyhood which included a conflict between the ideal of a mind persistently contradicted by for what was, for many, an abnormal body. These are the thoughts and feelings that resurface every time I am witness to manifestations of so-called “charity”. But, on reflecting on my life experiences, I realise that our modern conceptions of “Charity” have seldom to do with the idea of charity as it was originally intended. 


In fact, what “”charity” has come to mean today is a market exchange where people can calm their consciences by exchanging money instead of bothering to look at others (deemed less fortunate) as equals. In this, modern “charity” is diametrically opposed to the original meaning of a charity that doesn’t seek for its own self. Don’t get me wrong, money is an important element that can help people get out of difficult situations and live a better quality of life they deserve. However, what I have an  issue with is the intention behind the modern constructions of charity. Indeed, those society judges in need of charity are, in many cases, put across as undesirables, broken or wretched and “lives not worth living”..



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