The afternoon sun shone brightly as young Maddie trudged down the road home from school with a glum look on her face. She still felt downhearted because of what had taken place in the schoolyard at morning break. Some boys from her class had made fun of a girl from another class. This girl’s father had been laid off quite a while back and her parents could hardly make ends meet with only her mother’s wages. The boys were making fun of her second-hand clothing and calling her parents losers.
I stopped eating meat about a year ago. Why? Because I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror any longer without feeling bad about the abuse and exploitation of farm animals. I had already cut down on meat consumption years ago, and now I felt it was time to stop eating meat altogether. Not long after that, I stopped eating nearly all dairy products – I only eat butter, and occasionally cheese – which, basically, means I have a vegan diet. However, this still doesn’t make me animal friendly. And, on top of this, I don’t feel the need to associate with other vegans.
Have you ever wondered why governments bail out the big banks and companies when the economy’s going through a rough patch...and let the small ones go under? And why more and more people all over the world are living in poverty?
Midnight Oil sang about it in ‘One Country’: one country, one vision, one people. They meant Australia, didn’t they? In between the lines the astute listener will pick up the subtleties: one movement, one moment, one difference. Differences, that’s what the song’s about. Essentially there are no differences between countries and people. Still, misplaced, nationalistic sentiment continues to pop up its shameless head. From deep-rooted xenophobia and from the inability to change, we call for more stringent immigration requirements for economic refugees, migrant workers. The demagogues cry: ‘They’re taking our jobs’ and the ignorant among us cry along. The Netherlands is our country and it belongs to the Dutch, they reason. But what are The Netherlands? Who are the Dutch?