OpEd, Politics

Us versus them: The rich and the less-fortunate

Once upon a time, there were two men who lead completely different lifestyles in a country that eats division as its lunch and corruption as its supper. 

One man, who happens to be the luckiest, favored by the country’s shrinking resources, lives in a multi-million-dollar villa, bought with money made on the backs of the less fortunate, the forgotten members of the society. His home is highly protected with security cameras all around.

He is among the few men in the world who can make his bed with money. His car, a Lexus can pay the salaries of 100 soldiers.  This man runs the town. Among all his other problems, money is not one of them. He is money himself.  He surprises his friends and family members with car keys when he is happy when them.

On his holidays, he goes to Dubai and the Taj Mahal to spend his money. Though his home village happens to be among the poorest regions in the country, one of his biggest problems is little or no knowledge of how to spend his wealth. He owns properties abroad and thriving offshore businesses. His children are on a scholarship, the one that was meant for disadvantaged children.

Each day, throngs of beggars gather around his home to ask for financial assistance, a mixture of widows, orphans, and military soldiers. He uses this time, mostly on Sundays to mock and laugh at these people, addressing them as a disgrace to society.

Most of these people are women without husbands who face the dingy realities of the day. Though he holds a public office to address the problems that force these people to beg, he made it clear that he is not a God to solve people’s problems. This man is a bad man if that description fits him but he cares about nothing. He thinks that life begins with him and also ends with him but there is one thing that squeezes his testicles really hard, it is the day he will die.

He dreads that day and wishes if he can change things but this time, the reality of death haunts him, and it brings him pain instead of enjoying his money.  The money, having been his only source of joy will be of no use when that time comes.

There is also another man; who grapples with poverty all the days of his life. He represents millions of others who go through the same each day. At first, he was a soldier before he became a charcoal maker. He burns charcoal to feed his family.  His first-born son graduates next month from the university but will live for the next five years before landing a good job.

This is how it is here if you don’t know, for you to get a job or to be someone, you have to know someone, and that person must also know another person, not just someone but also an army general or a highly profiled person. But for the son of this peasant, his only hope is his degree. He wishes that it works one day. But he is wrong because we are living each day at a time.

When he was in high school, his dad taught him to work hard in class, that it was a way a son of nobody who wants to be somebody can work to change things. He did that; graduating at the top of his class but now, his future darkens on his face. He has to go to the University again, to master his course. It will be one paper after another and nothing at the end.

His dad on the other end is getting old and too frail to provide for the family. His other children need school fees, and this quickens his aging process.  As he struggles day in and day out to survive, his lucky neighbor who changes v.8s like clothing just laughs at him. He wishes that he remained poor forever because as his poor neighbor gets poorer, he equally gets richer.  The story of these two men depicts inequality and the ever-growing economic gap between the rich and the struggling poor.  Peace!

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