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Monday, January 5, 2015
Behind the Beautiful Forevers
2008, the slums of Annawadi, just outside the Mumbai International
Airport, India. Can there be anything more heartbreaking than thousands (millions??) of people living in the streets, garbage picking for a living? Little food, contaminated water, disease, no education, no help, no hope. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Katherine Boo takes us to the inner workings of one of the overcrowded slums where squatters have made their homes out of garbage. They have no bathroom facilities and very little fresh water. Children labor or beg, many do not survive. They come from far away villages hoping there may be more opportunity for themselves, for their children and the vicious cycle of poverty seems to only get worse. The charities unknowingly (sometimes?) donate their supplies and food only to have them sold on the black market. Very few are educated. Very few ever get out alive. That this exists just outside of a major airport, in sight of a fancy Hyatt hotel where people are lunching by the pool as they talk on their cell phones is part of the problem. Have we become desensitized to suffering? This author takes us on a scary journey into the lives of a few families that fight every day for the right to live almost as if they are entitled to nothing more than the free air, which is filthy as well (and if they could charge them for it, they would.) People, out of pure survival mode have learned to lie, cheat and steal. Between politics, the caste system and religious differences, Katherine Boo has described to us the details of this painful existence and the real and only question is; what can we do about it?