Lois Dalphinis

To Have and Have Not

We still are living with the effects of an imperialist way of life.  What are these effects? List a few and see what you come up with.

In 2007, we saw in the UK one of the most horrific summers in terms of youth deaths. I see young, bright and motivated people losing life over the latest Nikes or mobile phone. You could say its children behaving badly or you could pause and look at the situation a little deeper.

Seen but not heard

This is not “a black problem” (as some may care to think), it is a real life situation, which has effected swathes of generations and in spite of the fact that we no longer say women are below men or white is better than black, the psychological effects of this has and is felt by many, at times on a daily basis.

‘The loving, compassionate voices are going to be the ones that rise above the din and affect real change.’

Russell Simmons

Following on from this, and in spite of the racial connection, the dynamic of polar opposites, leaves us with the reality of “the have and have-nots”. In a capitalistic world money comes to the forefront, imparting the power to do and be an active citizen.

The London Riots of 2012 is a painful reminder of this, and while those who took part (in some eyes), had no idea what they were doing both politically and economically; the rage of poverty and marginalisation or more importantly, the treatment of people who fall into these groups, is for me, an obvious fuel to this event in history.

Being working class (at best) I have daily experience of being without money, unable to always do the things I’d like to (like visiting museums or going out with friends, visiting the cinema etc). I’m also a university graduate, which used to be a middle-class privilege. Bearing all this in mind and comparing my lifestyle to others, I also recognize that I am materially ‘rich’ by way of just being born in Britain.

Looking at the List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita, the dynamic again here is that a continent such as Africa is rich in natural resources in comparison to England for example.

For me, we are at a point in history where we have more than the ability to make a change to our world problems. The environment is in a dreadful state due to over consumption and pollution and this lifestyle effects the health of individuals and the world in its entirety.

Growing up in what I would like to call the cross-over period of cultural exchange, I’ve enjoyed both the “hard-copy” of books, magazines, paintings and the like, whilst also enjoying the benefits of paper free “software” environments online.

We are now in a world where more or less everything is available at the click of a button. Take Google for instance – you couldn’t have the level of information readily available in previous eras. And in addition to all this, we are in a highly commercial world, where advertising offers us the chance to acquire a certain lifestyle simply buying in to say a bottle of Disaronno (picked at random) or any other commodity for that matter.

I wonder, how this fast paced environment, coupled with the possible inability to take part in this lifestyle could affect a person. It’s like a “you can but you can’t” type situation. That could breed frustration. The economic downturn I don’t think helps together with the banking scandal either.

I’m not in any way condoning the actions of those who rioted and this piece of writing is not just a discussion on the recent happenings, but the event does inform it. I’m just aiming to reflect on the current situation at hand.

We all struggle and work in this life to (at times) just have the basics and many make choices which others would frown upon. It’s easy to judge if you have not walked in someone else’s shoes.

The internet (as an example) allows us more now than ever to publish work, express ourselves, virtually and for free. Knowing and realising what you have available to you is a blessing, and focussing on what you don’t have can breed contempt and make you feel down. Of course we all have a range of ability and access to things in life, so for me it makes sense to apply “what you/I have” or acquired in life for the best we can possibly attain.

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