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28028: FKondrat (response) Re: 28019: Kathleen - Poor People Begging (fwd)

from Peter Kondrat  [kondr8@gmail.com]

  From the perspective of a North American with a pocket full of money,  "the
begging problem" might seem to be one of tackiness, decorum ...  but I imagine
fhat from the other side of the begging bowl it's just a  last-ditch effort to
prevent oneself and one's children from starving  to death. The social,
political and touristic implications become  secondary, I would imagine. I
doubt that there are enough foreigners in  Haiti now for begging to be a
remunerative activity.

  More than that, of course, begging is an in-your-face symptom of a  society
that is not organized to take care of its neediest citizens. So  from that
perspective, it is not surprising that you did not see  begging in Venezuela.

  Even more than that, however, the prevalence of begging may be a  reflection
of a society's self-image, one of dependence or of  independence. Venezuela has
a lot of national pride now, stemming from  the policies of its populist
government.  I was not in Haiti at  the time, but I heard that there was a
similar swell of pride right  after the first election of Aristide, with people
cleaning up their  neighborhoods, painting dilapidated homes, etc. Can others
confirm or  comment?

  Peter Kondrat

Kathleen wrote:
     I returned from an 11-day stay in Venezuela yesterday.  During that
time, I marveled at how, no matter how poor the community or person, there
was NO begging.

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