April 4, 2007

Are we grateful?

Someone thinks that I, along with other Hondurans, are "ungrateful." I always like it when people lump me in with Hondurans because that means I'm assimilating. ;-)

My loyal readers jumped in to defend me. Thanks for defending my honor, readers! I really appreciate it.

There isn't a whole lot that I need to add, but knowing me, you'll know that I have something to say about everything. Here is the anonymous comment:

Hi Gringa,
I don't get it. I can't believe I just sat at my desk for almost one hour reading your blog and not once did I read a positive note on Honduras. Why are you there? I agree with all the other people that tell you to leave. Hondurans do not need ungrateful people living there. There are enough of natives that do that therefore they don't need another foreigner being so ungrateful.

I'm not sure what Anonymous was looking for in my blog. My blogicito includes 290 articles so I doubt that he could have read even a fraction of them in one hour. But that's okay. He can judge me by a brief look at my blog because I'm going to judge him by his brief (unsigned) comment.

First, regarding gratefulness: That is such an odd word to choose when speaking of the people of Honduras. It shows a lot of ignorance about this country. Should 60% of the population be grateful that they live below the poverty line, a line much, much lower than any U.S. poor could ever imagine? Should people be grateful that Honduras has now beat out Haiti and filled the number one spot in this hemisphere for the percentage of hungry citizens?

Should children be grateful that they can only go to school through the 6th grade, or even the 3rd grade, after which they will need to work to help feed the family?
Should mothers and fathers be grateful that their children likely will not receive a decent education, even if they can afford to send them to school?

Should everyone, rich and poor, be grateful that they live in fear because of the crime rate in Honduras?

Should agricultural workers be grateful for the L.75 (U.S.$4.00) that they receive daily for their 8 or 10 or 12 hours in the field under the hot sun? Should people be grateful that Honduras has an estimated unemployment rate of 28% while 40% of the population isn't even old enough to be out looking for a job yet?

Should people be grateful that instead of turning on a faucet, they can send their wives and children to the nearest river to get their daily water needs? Should women be grateful that a growing percentage of their husbands and sons have to go to the U.S. in order to find a decent job to be able to provide for their families?

You get the picture.

My experience has been that people are grateful for the beauty of their country, the time with their friends and families, for being treated decently and with respect. Most are grateful for jobs where their employers treat them with respect and don't take advantage of them. They are grateful for the things that so many charitable groups do for them that their own government will never do no matter how many billions in aid loans are forgiven.

But, my experience has also been that most are ashamed of their government and police and are sorry that their children's lives will probably be as impoverished as theirs have been.

Second, I just have to wonder where Anon's desk is located? My guess is that it may be or may have been at one time in Honduras. There are a certain class of people who want the status quo. They want the cheap labor, the uneducated masses who are glad for any job and will put up with almost any abuse or mistreatment in order to be able to feed their families.

These are the corruptos who become millionaires or multimillionaires on the backs of these poor people. The politicians who steal land from the poor and the foreigners who open businesses here in Honduras because they know the government is sweat-shop friendly. Those are the types of people who believe that the "natives" should be grateful for any bones thrown to them.

Third, speaking of "natives," I personally find this term offensive. Native Honduran is fine, but "natives" implies something else completely and I think speaks a lot to where this person was coming from in his comments. But don't take my word for it − from the American Heritage Dictionary:
When used in reference to a member of an indigenous people, the noun 'native,' like its synonym aborigine, can evoke unwelcome stereotypes of primitiveness or cultural backwardness that many people now seek to avoid.

And finally, for anyone who wants to read about turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and happy "natives" eating their rice and beans, there are plenty of those sites around. They will tell you just what you want to hear.

I'm going to keep writing about what I see and read about because, well, someone needs to do it. Little do you know that I am sparing my readers from some of the most awful injustices which I think would completely drive them away.

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