Saturday, September 15, 2007

Empathy outlawed

Jakarta followed recently Denpasar (capital of Bali) and Medan (capital of North Sumatra) with the decision to penalize giving alms to the needy. An enormous fine of Rp 50 million awaits you upon showing empathy. Empathy becomes a crime in this period of the year - Ramadhan - that Muslims are obliged to give - the so called zaqat. This decision will not elevate poverty in Indonesia, but it will push the poorest of the poor outside the city borders as they are perceived within the city ethically as surplus humanity, aesthetically as eyesores.

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