The shocking reality of powerlessness
Phrases get bandied about until they become empty. Take powerlessness.
The poor are powerless, women are powerless, various disadvantaged groups are said to be powerless.
Well, here’s an example of what powerlessness really means: it’s the very definition of powerlessness. It’s quoted in the New York Review of Books as part of a review of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo:
“Then there is the accident Abdul witnesses on one of his trip to the recycling plant, where the fierce machinery is owned and run by men in starched white kurtas (shirts) “to announce the owners’ distance from the filth of their trade.”
A few weeks ago, Abdul had seen a boy’s hand cut clean off when he was putting plastic into one of the shredders. The boy’s eyes had filled with tears but he hadn’t screamed. Instead, he’d stood there with his blood-spurting stump, his ability to earn a living ended, and started apologizing to the owner of the plant. “Sa’ab, I’m sorry,” he’d said to the man in white. “I won’t cause you any problems by reporting this. You will have no trouble from me.”blog comments powered by Disqus