African Shirts

Africa and My Old Shirt

It’s a broken system. Broken.
It’s a continent that has been ransacked for centuries.
Disease, exploitation, corruption. Anyone paying attention feels guilt for it.
Not seeing “them” as people is the beginning of trouble.

I live a nice life. Pretty nice.
It consists of little true existential crisis.
I go to the store. I know that all of my needs will be met, or I will…I will…I don’t know.
I will get what I want, and no one will get hurt.

I have a lot of things. Like, a lot.
There are people that have a lot more.
There is a tension between the new and the sentimental, but the unwanted must go.
Maybe these people on the other side of the world could use it, and I will feel better in the process.

The thing is, they don’t need it. They just don’t.
They need me to buy what they are selling.
I give my old clothes, pack it up, and ship to their economy by the ton.
They live in the residue of our unwanted desires.

We are trying to be good. We are not.
We are forcing our charity on their fragile development.
They make beautiful textiles full of patterns and colors that we wouldn’t attempt.
I wish I could buy them at my store that has “everything”.

We kill a chance at beauty. WE kill it.
Agrarian cultures use textiles to pull themselves out of poverty.
Instead, we flood their markets with secondhand garbage and squash development.
Freedom is to be fully oneself without imposition.