16 Feb Ubuntu Mini Protest Banner outside Wandsworth Prison
It is a protest about the injustice of poverty, and especially the massive and widening gap between the minority rich and the rest of us. It refers to the African concept of Ubuntu which we do not have a single word translation for in the English language (interestingly!) but which means something like ‘we are human only together’.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains it – “We believe that a person is a person through another person, that my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. When I dehumanise you, I inexorably dehumanise myself. The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms and therefore you seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into its own in belonging.”
I believe that the system we live in is all set-up to allow an elite minority group of people to live in wealth at the expense of the majority of people kept in poverty. Their wealth is utterly dependent on majority poverty, just as the wealth of our country is dependent on poverty in Africa, for example. Its all about terms of reference – worlds within worlds – from micro to macro, local to global. In my mind economic poverty is at the heart of all social injustice and is essentially ‘dehumanising’.
I wanted to show my mini usa online pharmacy no prescription protest on tour because I wanted to refer to some of the ways that I believe division between rich is poor is maintained. People aspire to wealth and security, and so, if they can afford it, they send their kids to private school ‘for a better education’. The kids grow up into a ‘better’ life with more money and better jobs, and seek ways to protect their better, wealthier lives – such as living in gated communities. Meanwhile so many of the have-not-kids who havn’t been hot-housed for ‘better’ lives, grow up with with other sets of choices on offer and end up banged-up in a different kind-of ‘gated community’. Lets face it, most of the people in prison are poor – and a horribly disproportionate number of the young men in Wandsworth Prison are black.
Instead of aspiring to separated lives of wealth and security, I would like a future for my son in which he can find the ‘belonging’ that Ubuntu refers to – in which he doesn’t have to invest in protecting his ‘better’ life from the ‘have-nots’. But for this to happen, I must aspire to it equally for everyone. After-all, as Tutu also says, “there is far more that unites us as human beings than separates us”.
Ubuntu was invoked during reparations in South-Africa. Tutu says, “Through Ubuntu – and against all the odds – South Africa experienced the astounding transformation from a violent, oppressive apartheid regime to democracy without descending into vengeful chaos”