Poverty / Tiny stories / Vignette

No peace, no rest

No peace for the poor

Yesterday the rich protested against the poor. They protested their rights, their growing dignity here in Ecuador. I walked among them with a big metal brick in my chest, watching them in all their fine clothes and white skin calling a democratically elected, popular president “dictator”. They waved their black flags and drunk beer and ate hotdogs and jumped up and down chanting “Out Correa, Out” as though it were a joke, or as though they were stupidly excited to protest, to get to pretend to do what we have been forced to do for centuries. Initially they were protesting the tax law, which increased taxes on huge inheritances. As Javier said, “They don’t want to pay any taxes, they are so rich, they have so much, and they want even more.”

And the abuse and the soft coups seem to follow the revolutions and gains by the poor around like desperate dogs. Yesterday I was reminded of Venezuela, because these bored rich people were using the same words and symbols as Venezuela; “dictator, regime, tyrant, the freedom to protest,” Guy Fawkes masks, and the lack of any sort of proposal, suggested way forward. Just get rid of the guy who speaks an indigenous language and talks about narrowing inequality. In Venezuela and Ecuador these sifrinos scream for freedom to protest after having done just that for weeks and years. The only way the rich can get broader support is by lying. And it would be funny, if their plan wasn’t to trample the country into submission. Ecuador, the most peaceful, quiet, orderly country I’ve every known. And like others, like Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, they would destroy it to get more power and money. That’s what the rich do: destroy and waste for profit. And that’s why there’s no peace for the poor.

No rest for the poor

Some of us dream, I think, of a calm day or one calm week of quietness and pillows and no alarm, books and hammocks and cuddles. But life for the non-rich is uncertainty. Rent going up and having to move again, losing a job again, can’t afford the medicine again. Constant exploitation and abuse. Long work hours with a missed lunch break and more work at home – childcare, housework, rebellion work. All the injustice to protest. We, the broken ones, always out there trying to fix this world, put things back in their places, restore humanity after the misguided priorities of the greedy rich.

-Tamara Pearson

Opposition mayor of Quito protesting

Opposition mayor of Quito protesting

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