22 April 2009

The Poster Which Said Feed a Hungry Child

It was a crappy poster that first caught my attention. "Feeding a hungry child is not charity. It is your social responsibility." It yelled at me. And there was a picture or two of poverty stricken kids stuffing themselves up with rice from earthen pots. Apart from the distasteful design of the poster, the copy continued to stare at me in the face. A social responsibility? Well, everyone around me seemed to agree with the poster. "If you have the power to help, then it is your responsibility to help, " a friend said. So is it the 'responsibility' of the most powerful person on earth (say, the American President) to eradicate poverty from this planet? Is the rest of the population justified in not assuming 'responsibility' since they are not 'powerful enough' ? If this act of giving and helping is considered 'responsibility' , then what is charity ? And if you are indeed feeding the hungry so that the 'world' will be a better place for you and your kin to live in, isn't that an act of conscious selfishness? If yes, then why pretend like you are performing a sacred act for the sake of someone else? If not, then what is it? Somebody tells me that it is 'good' to feed a child and that nobody can say you are 'wrong' in doing so. Who decides what is right and what is wrong? How are we to say what is good and what is bad?


PS : Is it blasphemous to ask questions?


  1. I agree completely. Haven't see the poster though, but i get what you're saying. Back in the late 80's / early 90's there was an explosion of charity advertisements on American television, mainly focused on poverty and starvation in Somalia. Small scary looking walking skeletons and skinned skulls were all over every channel. It tipped and generous donations poured in. Then it all unexpectedly stopped. Its like they all suddenly formed a union and decided not to donate anymore.

    There was a name for this phenomenon (i don't remember). Basically its not that they were done giving their charity or felt like it was not doing any good, etc. Its just that they got used to the visuals and no longer appealed to them to budge. In a while the ads stopped too.

    Similarly for the poster you saw, my best guess is that since its election time and the phrase "social responsibility" is quite a rage these days. Everywhere you look its voting reminders, the voting finger (with the dot stain thingy and all), youth social responsibility guidelines and wannabe patriotic songs.

    Maybe we've stopped caring for charities anymore and branding it as a "social responsibility" is the next step to get things rolling again! You can ignore charity in a blink... but social responsibility (all heads turn)... now that's peer pressure at its best :)

    I think its a smart move... unethical.. but still smart! I personally don't agree with it and certainly don't like where this is headed. Its completely stripping charity off its "voluntary" nature. And to top it off, it can be rather scary if the people around me claps and sings along with it like zombie children :)

  2. Oops... it looked so much smaller in the small scrollable comments window :P

  3. I doubt that the starving person would care. Either way.


  4. Quite true... like citrus says, the kid aint gonna care either ways. Hmmm.. so, in true Aynrand spirit (nope, she aint God. but i still like her).. i think ill just follow what i 'think' is 'my' 'right'.. assume whatever reason 'i' find reasonable.. all.. of course, as long as i let others live too in the process. what say? any other solutions?

  5. Who's taking about the kid? kid's not even remotely involved. I'm talking marketing strategy here... the kids will get their food and needn't bother how it came about :)