Ernesto Guevara de la Serna was a young medical student who, together with a friend, travelled by motorbike across South America in the 1950’s. During this adventure, which strongly shaped the ideas of Guevara, they came in direct contact with poverty. Che Guevara decided that only revolution was the solution to economic inequality.
I have come across a similar poverty in the Philippines, on trips I have made to the countryside in the last three years. I, for one had strongly believed in social equality, that all men are to be regarded in unbiased terms. I looked down on the Filipino upper class who treat with abject contempt those economically lesser off than themselves.
But my latest trip to the Philippines has drastically changed my ideas about the poor and the lower social class, and I now strongly believe that they should be treated with utter apathy. Education-wise and character-wise, they are positively simian.
Guevara died in the hands of the lower class, betrayed by those whom he vainly attempted to improve economic and social status for. They are an ungrateful lot and clearly belong in the dirt that is their life.
In the countryside of this once great nation, I came across the very people so many of us student idealists had fought for. We could not condone their exploitation by landlords who paid them a pittance for goods and services, and the exploitation by American capitalists who regard the natural resources of the nation as their national interests.
But are the poor grateful? Do they realise it when kindness is bestowed upon them? Do they see that they are being exceptionally treated well with heartfelt sympathy by someone among so many better off than themselves do the opposite of?
No. Perhaps there are some exceptions, but no, they show no gratitude nor do they realise their good fortune.
They will not hesitate to bite the hand that feeds them. They will abuse your goodwill and your trust. They will harm you if you so much as withdraw just a bit, what they normally should not have, wanting more and more and more. You offer a helping hand, they want the entire arm.
I am so very disappointed. I will no longer treat them with consideration and thoughtfulness, but I shall not treat them with contempt. This has been an eye-opening experience and I choose for now, to be ambivalent to their plight. For those who wallow in mud, instead of stepping out of it, deserve no charity from me.
“What good comes out of the truth, if it is beyond our imagination or power to act on it?”
— Dave Pollard of How to Save the World