Today I want to discus something that really has caught my attention the past few days. ‘Homeless people’. I see it more and more nowadays and it really gets to me.
When I was living in Asia and when I saw homeless people it was totally different. They were homeless but they were treated with the same respect as you and I, people that are not homeless. They were given food and money and the atmosphere was just totally different. I have never experienced something weird or rude towards the homeless. I am not saying that this does not happen in Asia, I am sure that it does but I have never witnessed it.
Since I live in Antwerp, Belgium I have seen some weird things and I can not believe that it is happening.
Last week I experienced something really bad, for those that I have on my personal FB, you probably have read the story already but for those who don’t have me on my personal FB here it is:
And just a few days after this experience this same homeless guy was sitting on the floor around the same area where we first met. I think the area around the ‚Keyserlei’ which is the street towards the central station of Antwerp is kind of his hang out place because I see him everyday. ( I walk this route from work to home everyday)
Now that we have actually met we sit and talk for a while and it is really nice. I get to know his story and why he ended up on the streets and it really made me think that it could happen to everybody. Also to you and I.
Just as I had my chat with him and I stood up and I was about to leave, this young fella, aged 25’ish shouted in Dutch to him in a very aggressive manner: ‚What are you doing here, Go away!!’ He said that twice while passing him.
Again I was shocked. What the F*ck was happening. Who is this guy to tell the homeless guy to go away and what shocked me even more is that the homeless guy did not even respond to it. This for me says that apparently it is not something new to the homeless guy. Where I was actually shocked by this behavior the homeless guy was not. It is probably ‘normal’ for him. But how can this kind of behavior actually be considered normal? And why would this guy be bothered by the homeless guy. He just sits there minding his own business..
I ran after the guy and I asked him in the most polite way as I could; ‘Hey can I please ask you something’. He turned around and checked me out, from my head to my toes and gave me a very awkward wink. I thought, yeah buddy now you like me but wait till I ask you what I actually wanna know, which, I can assure you is NOT your phone number. He said; sure sweetie and I asked him my question.
Why did you say that just now to the homeless guy? Do you think that it is normal. Immediately his facial impression changed and he gave me a very annoyed look. He said because that dude irritates me. I asked him why he irritated him and even so, what gives him the right to act like that? Than he said that it just annoyed him and that the homeless guy deserves it. ‚Deserves it, really?
I told him that that is absolutely not normal and that you can not behave like that towards everything that irritates you. He than ignored me. I told him that I was annoyed by his fake Gucci hat and obviously very fake Prada shoes but that that did not give me the right to act bitchie towards him or to tell him to go away because his ugly ass fake brands are hurting my eyes.. Now he was obviously mad but I just really did not care.
I asked him how that made him feel and he said that he did not care what probably was true. I mean, what can you actually expect from someone with obviously 0 manners. Did I actually expect him to apologize or to emphatize? I don’t know. I just always want to see the good in people and this kind of behavior is just new for me. I now wonder…. is this the ‘new normal’. Do people think they are better than others because of their personal situation? Are these new developments or just something that I just notice now.
Perhaps you can enlighten me because I truly do not understand.
What gives people the idea that they can treat others like that? Why would you kick someone who is already down?
Why are people not nicer towards other people? All questions that I hope I will find answers to someday.
I know that I can not become some kind of public defender of the homeless people but because at this point this kind of behavior was so new for me I just could not help myself. I know it is not realistic to say something about it every time but I know my self and I am not someone that can let go of stuff like this quickly. I know I can not change the world single handedly and I am not striving to do this but you can be the change you want to see in the world. Therefor, in the next few days I will investigate in projects that are happening here in Antwerp and I will try to get involved with one of these projects. If you have any tips for me, please let me know.
And in the meanwhile, please, don’t be heartless to the homeless. You don’t have to give them anything like money or food if you don’t want too. Just give them a smile, or say Hi. Talk to them. Acknowledge their presences. They are human beings. Like you and I.
Don’t judge when you don’t even know what it is that you are judging.