Someone stole my mug from the plaza where I was playing with the children. She picked it up from near the swings where I’d left it, wrapped it in a child’s blanket and hid it under her arm. I asked her if she’d seen it, but she said no, and since there wasn’t a lot else I could do without accusing her of stealing my stuff, I decided that discretion is the better part of valour. We only actually have four mugs in the house, so losing 25% of them is a bit annoying, but it won’t change my life. Although it did make me wonder why she did it.
San Francisco is a well-off city in Argentinean terms. Average vehicle ownership is two cars per household, and even in the poorest neighbourhoods people travel by moped and watch cable TV, so why would anyone steal a mug?
I think the clue is in this snippet of conversation overhead in the corner shop the other day;
“Alfonsin (a previous president) never stole as much as this one (current president)”
“Only because he wasn’t in power long enough; we didn’t give him time to.”
Brazilian educator Paolo Freire developed a theory of the self sustainability of oppressive regimes, as the oppressed at the bottom of the pile seek leadership not to bring about change, but in order to become the oppressor.
So, what can we do? Pray that the light of self-respect might find its way in through the cracks in this broken society. And then buy some new crockery.