Injustice a World Away

Posted Mon, 07/21/08

This article gave me slow burn:

  • Africa's women last and least in food crisis (link no longer valid)

I've always felt men are grown adults who can take care of their own basic ay-to-day needs, which is why I've probably never made an ideal wife. However, children are a different story: they are dependent on their parents or others for such needs until a certain age, but men are quite capable of looking after themselves.

I understand the cultural differences in Africa, but they are appallingly lopsided. I simply find it outrageous.

The Washington Post article by Kevin Sullivan detailed one day in the life of a woman named Lingani living in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. She sleeps on a concrete floor while her husband rests in his own double bed with a thick mattress. She goes outside the home to work for money – sweeping streets – where she makes $1.20 per day. What she earns has to be enough to feed her entire family. Polygamy is rampant where she lives, so she is often feeding second and third wives as well as children. Her husband has no job as work for men is scarce where she lives, but he does receive a pension as a retired police officer yet never tells his wife how much money he gets.

The cost of food has risen in Africa just as it has everywhere else, so Lingani has to make do with very little to feed her family, not to mention eating last with a small portion for herself.

As I said, I understand the maternal instinct to care for children, but I cannot comprehend a grown man allowing his wife to go hungry or to sleep on a concrete floor while he has a double bed all for himself. What kind of real man permits it? And why are men such greedy pigs the world over? How can any civilized society tolerate such a thing? It seems to prove the old theory true: familiarity breeds contempt.

I am convinced one thing is much the same in any culture: the more one does for a person, i.e. a woman "looking after" a man, the worse one is treated. You'd think men would be a little more appreciative instead of being resentful, disrespectful and demanding even more. Where does that crap come from? If someone put my needs ahead of theirs, I would certainly hold them in high regard instead of treating them like garbage. Apparently men don't think that way, which bears out my long-held belief that they don't have an iota of common sense in any culture.