i'm having trouble understanding that someone actually died in NZ ... because our health system sent her home with an oxygen machine but no back up power, because a privatised electricity company didn't think that her life was worth more than an unpaid power bill, because our welfare system is set up to give you less money than you need to survive.
there are lots of places to put the blame, but Folole Muliaga is dead and she isn't the only one.
As Maia says, this happens every day.
just as distant from my reality are the dawn raids that have seen migrant workers woken at 5am, bustled out of showers, stopped at roadblocks and deported in Northland.
we call our habitat in central wellington the "activist ghetto" and it's oft said that we need to get out more. But calling it a ghetto ignores the fact that we are the privileged ones. Many of us have university educations and will be able to get a job when we eventually need one. Many of us have parents who would foot the bill if we needed urgent medical care. Most of us have enough visible class and pakeha privilege, that if we said 'when you cut our power someone will die,'
we would be taken seriously.
i'm generalising, there are activists in our scene who have much less privilege than me, and they often have a hard time of it. But the predominance of the white and middle classed creates a culture that is very very far from the struggle for survival that families like Fololie Muliaga's face.
There are also activists doing amazing work, fighting for everone's rights to healthcare, to food, to survive winter (and many of them are the ones struggling for their own survival) .
But I see on indymedia, that spies in our midst warrant 64 comments, while a woman dying from poverty (and a hatred of the poor) commands about 20 all up. I'm part of this too, i've certainly spent more time talking about spies than poverty in the last few days. That's why I'm writing, to try and figure out why I feel so distant from a woman's death that is geographically pretty damn close (and I'm sure there have been plenty more even closer).
I gonna leave this for now, I've got a lot more thinking to do.
Though i do reckon that forcing ourselves to talk less about spies is definately not the answer.
But maybe we should force ourselves to get out more, to make relationships that help us understand what survival really means. And force ourselves to admit our own vulnerability, our own fears (reasonable and not) about staying alive under capitalism.