Monday, March 7, 2011

‘Everything has either a price or a dignity’ – Kant

Just returned from a visit inside what is known as Crackland, in the decimated heart of the old city. I have blogged previously (here) of the threatened urban regeneration and have often received first-hand accounts of life within those streets, but nothing quite prepared me for this night.

A rare moment in which I am lost for words as the images and thoughts tumble around inside my head. I saw people stripped of their dignity tonight. Children, prostitutes, hundreds and hundreds of addicts - often with eyes fixed on the ground, searching for stray rocks of crack. An acrid stench of human faeces. An oppressive fear eating into my chest.

When I see a child sitting, docile, sucking on a crack pipe or playing amongst the filth in the street - oblivious to the danger all around - my only response is one of ineffable pity. Who is there for such people? If the state - with all its power and might - just stands to one side, who dare extend a hand of help in what is in many ways an urban leper colony?

On returning home I found the footage below which was taken last year. Nothing (it seems) has changed.


The shepherding can be illustrated rather depressingly above. Click on the middle street (above the pedestrian crossing) to advance towards the group on the upper right of the photo. The addicts are miraculously replaced by police surrounded by drug paraphernalia - the words CRACOLANDIA can me made out in the graffiti behind the officers’ heads.


Gian said...

Nothing changes there Luke. We abandon our children to crack, and neglect even most basic education...the "haves" just dont care about anything but ourselves - there is barely a project for "a" country.... but don't worry, there is always carnaval. That makes us a happy. We this we are happy, the world thinks we are happy, we must be a happy bunch.

King C said...

That video is so sad. Like a scene from a film depicting a dystopian future, but it is here nad now.

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