So last evening when I walked through Paris to get to my place. I saw a most striking sight: On the street there was a musician playing a jazz song, while a happy couple was dancing, and just beside it was a mother, sitting in the dirt, begging with a baby in her arms. Now this is an everyday sight in Paris. In fact, it is even so common that most people hardly take the luxury to turn their head anymore – even if they see a whole family with several children sleeping on the street. It very strongly reminds me of this sad movie called “Grave of the fireflies”, an anime about war/postwar Japan (see below).
But this scene also raised some disturbing questions: How can we have a social change that makes us take care of starving children or poverty-ridden countries that are far away, if we even close our eyes to poverty that is beside us?
If we are “discounting” people to that degree, or if we have such a strong emphatic distance to even our neighbours, how can we ever hope to reach the extent of social change that is necessary to alleviate poverty at the other end of the world? Do we maybe need a certain distance to other people’s troubles, sorrows or problems, in order to be able to enjoy what we have ourselves without feeling wrong about it? So, most importantly, can we ever hope of having the degree of social change that we need?
Thus, while social change is a vital aspect for achieving a sustainable development, a holistic world view, equity and justice, it is without doubt necessary to strongly supplement this with further government intervention and support.