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Dead Hungry

September 20, 2005

I don’t normally like the Mirror and all the other tabloid press, but this story in the Mirror has made me feel sick.

When you think of starvation and deprivation you think of the famine in Niger, the suffering in Ethiopia and the scores of people reduced to skin and bones.You think of the wretched forms of children who haven’t eaten in weeks. You don’t think of a woman in the West. You don’t imagine that a 79 year old woman would be able to starve to death when she has 10 children and 30 grandchildren, living in the ‘affluent’ United Kingdom.

“She was left broke when the door of her one-bedroom council bungalow was replaced without a post box. Her benefits book and giro cheques were returned by Royal Mail to the pensions office.”

So the council replaced the doors and didn’t put in a letterbox. This happens. A whole block will have the doors replaced and then the letterboxes will be put in, with all the doorbells and knockers etc etc.

But what is concerning is that no one at the Pensions Service noticed that this woman was not drawing her pension for 3 months. That surely would flag something up in some system somewhere. Or has the Welfare State collapsed into complete and utter ignorance and forgotten the people it is supposed to serve and help.

But ultimately for me, what is the most appaling, is that of these 10 children and 30 grandchildren, no one noticed that this woman, their Mother/Grandmother, was wasting away and had no money. What does that say about the social fabric of the UK? Have we really degenerated into a bunch of self centred individuals who worry about themselves and not for the better of society?

My Parents have both retired now, and they live with my Wife and I. And we would not have it any other way. On many occasion have I said to my wife that if you like we can make separate living arrangements. But she refuses. And that to me is the essence of what a family should be. Inclusive. Caring for the young and caring for the old. Even making the Old care for the Young, and us middle generation just get on with life.

I’m going to finish this post with a quote from my favourite book:

‘And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them a word of contempt nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word.
And make yourself submissively gentle to them with compassion, and say: O my Lord! have compassion on them, as they brought me up (when I was) little.’ –
Qur’an Chapter 17: Verses 23-24

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One Comment
  1. i agree with you!

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