Oh, the irony. When a luxury meal is served at a summit dedicated to fighting social inequalities, look what happens:
Dozens of street children have invaded a five-star hotel food tent and feasted on meals meant for sale at the World Social Forum in Kenya’s capital.
The hungry urchins were joined by other participants who complained that the food was too expensive at the annual anti-capitalist get together.
The police, caught unawares, were unable to stop the free-for-all that saw the food containers swept clean.
The gathering in Nairobi is discussing social problems, including poverty.
A plate of food at the tent being operated by the prestigious Windsor Hotel was selling for $7 in a country where many live on less than $2 a day.
The children, who had been begging for food, launched the raid after being told they would have to pay for the food.
Of course, no one at the luxury meal tent asked them if they had means to pay. That would have been so horribly embarrassing. Rich people don’t talk about money, you know–that would be vulgar!
Even more embarrassing, though, is how this object lesson in problems the market failed to solve, somehow missed its mark. And if that’s not vulgar, what is?
But if the catering hotel comes off looking like shit, at least the organizers of the forum were able to drag themselves a little ways out of their own latrine:
Two days ago, World Social Forum organisers were forced to waive entry fees for participants after Nairobi slum dwellers staged a demonstration against the charges.
Participants were originally being asked to pay a 500 Kenyan shillings ($7) accreditation fee.
“We are now not charging anybody, the event is free so that many people can participate,” Boniface Beti, the event’s media officer, told the BBC.
Mr Beti also said hawkers had recently been allowed in to sell cheap food to participants as up until a few days ago five-star catering firms had dominated business.
My question is, why were fancy catering firms even being hired at all? Isn’t the point of the gathering to make sure those who can’t pay a penny, still get heard?
Or is it something else altogether, something I’m obviously missing here?