An excerpt (slightly edited) from the former "House & Garden" editor's blog "Slow Love Life" (dot com)...a very good read:
"There is nothing to say about the extreme poverty of India--and its contrast to extreme wealth--that has not been said a thousand times over the centuries. I have nothing to add to the conversation about it. But I am somehow honor bound to bear witness. Nothing--no book, no article, no warning--could have prepared me for the shock. Three hundred million people living without access to electricity, or clean running water to drink, much less for plumbing. Think of the millions of gallons of clean water used to flush toilets in middle class homes; our waste get better treatment than do millions of people.
"While I was watching the sunrise over the Taj Mahal, my gaze kept returning to the men shitting in the open field--it took me a long time to understand what I was seeing. I kept wondering, where are the women? A few days later, I happened to meet someone whose husband, she told me, is “obsessed with the subject of waste treatment.” I learn that the women shit only at night, under cover of darkness. The chronic diarrhea that plagues the poor is not just a health issue for women; it causes a terrible social stigma as well.
"There is no way to be hard-hearted about enormous poverty, yet it is equally impossible to be always heart-broken. We need, perhaps, soft hearts, hard eyes--a clear gaze? We see how environmental degradation plays out: who gets the clean water and filtered air; who lives under the belching smokestacks and bathes in the sewage.
"India and the United States are brimming, booming, beautiful countries. We have a choice about how we will go on living: up to our eyeballs in shit? Or cleaning up the mess we’re all making."
Enough said, no?
- Stephen Jerrome
- Los Angeles, CA, United States
- I am a writer, photographer and musician living in Los Angeles. In the last few years, new written work--numerous plays, screenplays, and two novels--have demonstrated this to be the most productive period of my life. The journal I have also kept for thirty-five years has, of late, become a personal sounding board for my thoughts on peace and the state of the world...about which I remain hopelessly optimistic! My writing here will be in tandem to video "Peace Talks" I have recorded, and which will be released throughout 2011. You're welcome to visit my website, the "Studio 5" link, to see my photographs. As a classically-trained pianist, I have been composing music all my life. Two guitar re-mixes of piano music are attached here, as well as several music videos, including "Consider Peace" the title track of an up-coming CD. Balancing writing, photography and music has been a long and challenging path...not to be recommended! Yet this very Aries diversity reflects an enthusiasm for the modern world of which I feel very much a part.