Inequality, when I first come across you my immediate impression is disparity. Before we extend our arms to acquaint ourselves I can already tell that you've lived a life that is uncommon; almost unfair, tainted by injustice, obscurity and irregularity. These are the words I want to use to describe you.
We sit down for a while; make small talk and get all the politeness out of the way. There's an awkward silence about us now. A thick air of uncertainty above our heads, met with unfamiliarity and when I turn to face you, I'm met with a look of indifference.
I ask you if you've heard about the mother who was crushed to death in a stampede whilst waiting to enrol her son into his studies. I continue on about the thousands of aspiring students who've been turned away from the hopes of a future more promising than that of their parents' present lives. You're silent. After what seems like an hour, you get up. Poised, you lean over and almost whisper in my ear, "I know where you're headed with this so my answer to all the questions you might have is: I will remain unchanged."
You briskly walk away, while I'm caught mid-breath in the uncomfortable position of seeking retaliation in my head. You're gone before I can gather anything fast enough.
I sit and wonder if you've any idea of the questions that boggle my mind. You have the answers that I need, the answers that are imperative to many others. You're a part of our lives, you have shaped our world, you continue to push the boundaries of our society, you break homes and separate families; you're the 'us-versus-them'.
This is what I what I want to know from you: Why does the gap between the rich and the poor keep widening?
The numbers between the educated and the uneducated are astounding, why is that?
I'm clutching on to an intangible hope for my children's children when I read the numbers between employed and unemployed youth. Why do you that?
Inequality, why is the homosexual offered second-rate citizenship when they're in vivo and in vitro constructed from the same morphology as the heterosexual? Why the distinctions between superiority and inferiority among the black and the white, the Jew and the Arab, the Western and the Oriental?
How come a Nordic country provides free education yet Somalia, Haiti, Chad, Afghanistan have taken away that access from their children?
Why do some women wear rocks that are simply chiselled blood diamonds?
Why do some stomachs have to go to bed hungry, wake up the same, go to bed again with the pangs and yet others can throw out food that looks unappealing?
In the office, you allow an attractive face advantage over an attractive intelligence; yet the corporations who take pride in your opposite shout about not being discriminatory.
Why are the numbers of prisoners not equal to the severity of their misdeeds? We have prisoners of conscience detained in cold concrete cells while rapists and murderers are roaming our streets. Political; and held captive because a government felt they exceeded the limits of freedom of expression; what then does freedom equate to exactly? From Egypt, to Greece to China and across the seas to Louisiana we have these injustices occurring. All I keep hearing and seeing are how governments' intolerances increase against those of us rising up against you.
How much satisfaction do you derive from all of this?
There are scores of migrants sleeping on cardboard in detention centres or overcrowded cells only because they have the ambition to provide for their starving families. Why would I flee my country if I wasn't seeking some sort of refuge, to restore my human rights, to find a place of solidarity? I see people living happily in other countries, is it so wrong of me to want the same for my family? Is it so wrong to want us to live a life removed from your breeding?
Why should one mother's child be clothed in designer labels while another's seek shelter in a cave somewhere in the clutches of Sudan?
Stop showing us the images on television screens or tabloids about the abundance that lies in the laps of others and expect the rest of us to be content with flies leaping in and out of our mouths.
Stop showing us your ugliness, Inequality.
Stop showing us how we are not equal to our neighbours.
Stop the fallacies of a promise that a better tomorrow might some day arrive, when you're out there casting your shadows wherever you go.
Stop walking away from our questions, Inequality; and face up to your misdemeanours.
Show us some empathy; we've had enough of the indifference.
archive - issue 14