It is extremely hard to reconcile the television footage of the South Sudan food airdrop with what happened in Windsor last December. The images which followed the airplanes, on CBC’s the National on May 1, are even more startling, showing children dying of malnutrition.
The report ends with a footnote; one of the starving children died.
Compare that to the foreign coaches brought in to crowd Windsor’s streets in December to cart around privileged second, third, and lesser tier swimmers. The city had to import the buses because local ones were inappropriate for the finicky and picky swimmers. They wanted ones all of a same colour, which, in the end, never happened anyway.
South Sudan, once a part of Sudan, is a civil war zone. Its skirmishes have crippled the nation. Many have no food and less hope. One mother, reported the CBC, had only water lilies to feed her children. The airdropped staples will help feed some 20,000.
At a children’s hospital in Juba, head nurse Betty Achan said most don’t, “… know if you’ll live, if you’ll eat … We don’t know what’s going to happen.”
In Windsor everything was meticulously planned out for the coddled swimmers, including a commissary at the St Clair Centre for the Arts filled with food which, most likely, would break the heart of a South Sudanese child.
Windsor spent upwards of $20 million in taxpayer money to fund an event which a rich, foreign swimming outfit apparently can’t afford on its own. It was all done to gain a few seconds on the world stage.
At least, that was the plan. The reality was much different.
There is no record of the event being worldly successful. Most of the real stars of the swimming industry stayed away.
A swimming reporter told The Square it was so minor his British newspapers had no interest in covering it. With so many empty seats at the competition, the manager admitted swimming is not a spectator sport.
Food falling from the sky in South Sudan can last 30 days. It is basic subsistence. Fallout from Windsor’s FINA event evaporated the day after the swimmers, at taxpayer expense, flew off to their homes elsewhere.
At this point, Windsor Council is unwilling to even release a full accounting of the true costs, even just to pretend Windsor was a world city.
The World Food Program on its website pins the cost of the food drops at $1,000 US per ton. It would be interesting to see if the city will release the cost per ton of the food it feed to the pampered visitors.
At a $1,000 a ton, the city could show the world it is a caring place by funding South Sudan food drops. But that would give the mayor and Council no glory.