I felt exercised to write this blog as a response to a blog by Mr Pran Patel that I read this morning. I want to say from the outset that I want to listen and engage with anyone's points of view, but felt on this occasion I wanted to contribute to the debate. And it is a debate, I might not be right. So here we go…
The title of the blog is “white saviour complex/syndrome/trope”. You can read it here.
Part 1 of the blog addresses “white saviour through charity work”.
It begins by presenting four images of global cities; Mumbai, Dar Es Salaam, London and New York. The writer says he would be “surprised if these images are the ones you would normally associate with South-East Asia or East Africa”. Really? You don’t think people could imagine that cities in East Africa and India could have some architectural similarities to Western cities?
Beneath the architecture and appearance in a photograph, Mumbai and Dar El Salaam, even within the city limits, experience levels of poverty that I’m afraid you simply wouldn’t see “en masse” in any western European city. The Mumbai Slums (pictured below) house people in conditions that we simply couldn’t imagine. 41.3% of people there live in Slums, that’s an estimated 9 million people living in the slums (2019 estimate).
(Mumbai Slum Housing)
If Mr Patel believes that the fact the UK has food banks with someone’s spare Marks and Spencer ready meals on the shelves could be comparable to this, I see this as a slight on the very people he’s trying to say we should have more respect for.