by Joy Isi Bewaji
In third world countries, begging is an occupation.
It demands respect. It commands its own economic rights to be given what it has not earned. It clamours for attention.
Religion backs this trade. Culture accepts this profession. Beggars are ordained spiritual aides in some parts.
There’s nobility attached to it. The logic that it takes humility to beg is stretched to ridiculous lengths.
And it doesn’t end on the street. Our abiding position of entitlement nurtures this tradition.
That the beggar has rights to take from you, knock on your windshield, harass your private space to get what he believes you owe him.
It is why the upper middle-class is slightly despised by the poor (in this case I refer to the beggar, and not the hardworking poor whose monies are yet to balance up).
The middle-class executive is a mirror that the beggar refuses to examine- that the possibility of a better life is within his/her reach, but for the sacrifices required, the beggar is convinced that he cannot be bothered as basic needs of food, water and shelter are badgered into his/her psyche that these needs should be met by someone else.
So when the beggar is presented with an opportunity to leave the streets and into a defined space where he/she can be part of a working society; be judged and earn his wages… he sometimes gets offended.
That begging is yet to be recognised, by itself, as a career.