In a dusty, dirty street corner in the lap of Thailand, a three-year old boy sits cross-legged with soot across his forehead and a Styrofoam cup rattling with coins. You avoid his eyes. Yours glide from one point to the other, lingering carefully just above his head. If you don’t make eye contact, you don’t feel guilt. If you don’t make eye contact then you don’t come to terms with the fact that this three year old is a slave and is embarking on a life without love, a life without freedom, and a life without personal relationships. If you don’t make eye contact, you didn’t see him right? If you don’t make eye contact, then you never did anything wrong.
So you go home and you try not to think about the little boy that you didn’t see. Put on your new shoes and try not to think about the little boy you didn’t see who spent the last four years in a factory making those shoes for pennies a day. Eat your three square meals every day and don’t think about the empty stomach of the little boy you didn’t see.
In the UN Declaration of Human Rights it states that: “no one shall be held in slavery,” and yet there is slavery in the world reaching as far as three-year old boys; “all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” and yet equal opportunities are not reserved for every human being; “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself…including…medical care and necessary social services…” and yet the situation in Haiti begs to differ that not all people are given the same amount of valuable health care. Oh the difference between what are human rights and what ought to be human rights!
In the novel Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder, Paul Farmer is a major proponent for legitimate health care for those in the world who are too poor to afford or seek it. A Mother Theresa figure, he takes the ugly by the horns and embraces that which the rest of the world would rather shun or...