“Life is not a matter of place, things or comfort; rather, it concerns the basic human rights of family, country, justice and human dignity.” ~Imelda Marcos
However, the decline of human dignity is not isolated to the United States. It’s like a cancer spreading worldwide, eating away at the crumbling foundation of respect for our human race.
When I opened my Facebook page on Black Friday, I saw this post from Lucha Libro Bookstore in Granada, Nicaragua.
I remember the first time I saw a boy passed out at my feet in Granada, Nicaragua from sniffing glue. I was horrified, and unsure what I could do to help.What did I do? I stepped around him. He couldn’t have been older that 10 or 12 years of age. Glue sniffing has become a big problem for the young Nicaraguans in Granada. These posts attest to the fact: Glue Sniffing Kids in Granada and
Despair in Paradise.
In the meantime, step around him?
We have become a world of stepping around sensitive issues like immigration, homelessness, drug addiction, and poverty. I will be the first to admit that I, too, have stepped around these issues. I stepped around the boy passed out on the sidewalk in Granada. I’ve stepped around an old disabled woman begging for money in front of Pali’s grocery store. I’ve tiptoed around many sensitive issues affecting the people in Nicaragua. Why?
Maybe it is because of a sense of helplessness, or possibly a sense of fear. Maybe it is because it is such a common sight in the larger cities in Nicaragua, that I’ve become blind to the ugliness of poverty and destitution.
Is that what our world has become? Do we blindly accept the fate of the poor, homeless, and destitute? Do we blindly step around them and go about our shopping as if stepping around a cow paddy? What is wrong with us? Where has our respect for human dignity gone?
What if it were me? I try to put myself in the place of the poster. I imagine that he intended this post to be funny or ironic and now, is very sorry that he posted it because of the reaction it received. He’s probably worried that it will affect the business in the bookstore…and rightly so. Yet, I am as guilty as him because I have blindly accepted the fate of those who need help the most.
In the world of “a click and it’s posted” there is no room for irony ( if that’s what this post was intended to be) when talking about sensitive issues such as drug addiction, poverty, and homelessness. But, in this case, the irony worked against him.
In all fairness, the expat who manages the Nica-owned bookstore deleted this post after much outrage from the local Granada residents. He offered an apology to those who were offended. But, the damage has been done. Our dirty little secrets are out.
In the meantime, step around him?
I don’t want to live in a world of complacency, where we put our blinders on like the carriage horses in Granada, but what is the alternative? When the poverty is overwhelming…when the glue sniffing children are sprawled on every street corner…when the children are begging for food at every outdoor cafe…what should we do?
Step around them?
I feel… Helpless. Guilty. Overwhelmed.
The expats in Granada are angry that this original post continues to spread. They have told me to “Let it go, dammit.” “How many times can someone apologize for a mistake?” They may be right, but I can’t let it go for I am guilty of stepping around them, too. I can’t let it go until I remove my blinders… until the world no longer just steps around all the injustices in our world… until we restore human dignity and basic human rights of family and country.
In the meantime, let’s just all step around him? What is the alternative?