In the Commonwealth, which is to say the countries which at one time were part of a certain empire on which the sun never set, we have the habit of every four years wasting a massive amount of money on a thing called The Commonwealth Games – think Olympics with all the big threats like the U.S and China eliminated and you’ll have the right picture.
Not surprisingly the event is held in one of the participating countries, and this year the task fell to the poor bastards in the Indian capital of New Delhi.
This in itself is offensive, in that the ruling elite of such a poor country is being allowed to waste on a mere entertainment money which could instead be put into helping the people starving in its over crowded streets.
But to make matters worse, the authorities have decided to lie to the rest of the world by hiding the city’s poor.
Not only are the fetid shanties in which Delhi’s poor are forced to live being hidden from view by brightly colored facades, but beggars – 70% of which are male and 30 % of which are younger than 18 years of age – are being rounded up, packed into trucks, driven outside the city and told to not come back until the games are over!
The authorities deny this of course, but places that usually teem with hundreds of beggars are now seeing only a handful. And to buy the authorities’ take on the situation one would have to believe that Delhi’s poor are so stupid as to decide that rather than stay at home and cash in on the influx of middle class Indians and well-heeled foreigners, it is instead time to take a holiday in the provinces!
Some of these people have been put into shelters, but according to activists Delhi simply does not have enough shelters to house more than a fraction of the city’s poor. On top of this, several slums have been demolished in the lead up to the games, which means that even if the poor are allowed to return once the middle class and the rich have had their fun, they will be facing even worse conditions than before.
India is not a welfare state in which these people can go out and collect a government benefit that affords them a packet of noodles and a leaky tenement. For these people, you beg or you don’t eat. But that’s just how it is, isn’t it? In India as elsewhere, the rich get to party down while the poor get to starve to death in a cardboard box.