Africa Blindness

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Africa Blindness is a phenonemon.

It is a state of mind that afflicts virtually every person in what is called "the first world" ie America, Britain and much of Europe as well as Australia, New Zealand and any other country where most of the people in that country have 1) enough to eat and 2) adequate shelter.

Africa Blindness is what occurs when a person from this "first world" sees a news report or documentary about the majority of inhabitants of this planet who are either 1) starving or 2) homeless.

The person who sees this is usually a caring person. He or she may have a family that they love, children, parents; in short, they are not unfeeling brutes.

The blindness occurs when, after seeing this terrible story of the suffering of people, this person blocks it out. This is not a conscious thing they do - rather it is a defence mechanism the brain has devised to protect 1) the self esteem of the person and 2) the emotional state of the person's mind.

This is a widespread phenonomen that has been briefly interrupted in the past by such monumental efforts as "Live Aid" and, in Britain, Comic Relief. It is also commonly called "compassion fatigue"

So what is the solution to this?

I don't know.

You'll have to ask a cleverer person than me.

Anyway, here's the poem:

Africa Blindness.

I see you but do not see you,
I hear you but do not hear you,
I feel you but do not feel you,
I'm near you but am not near you.

I know you but do not know you,
I need you but do not need you,
I want you but do not want you,
I feed you but do not feed you.

I help you but cannot help you,
I name you but cannot name you,
I ignore you but can't ignore you,
I shame you but do not shame you.

You beg me but do not beg me,
You ask me but do not ask me,
You shame me but do not shame me,
You task me but do not task me.

I'm happy but am not happy,
Alive but not alive,
Peaceful but not peaceful,
I thrive but I do not thrive.

Together but not together,
The past is not the past,
The future is not the future,
And the last shall not be the last.

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