Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Beggar in Black


I remember from my childhood and early adolescence in a communist country, that begging was seen as public disturbance and  forbidden by law; beggars were treated cruelly if caught. 
Charity and fundraising were not allowed either. 
The rationale behind it was that the government took good care of its citizens , and the above activities implied the opposite, which was unacceptable.

Perhaps the communist approach was not so bad after all, considering the amount of fraud and corruption regarding benevolent, non- profit organizations in the western world.
People give away stuff and money without properly checking where it goes to and that doesn't help fix the situation.  Sometimes even the social services are involved  in the scam.

Well. to go back to what I started with - begging and beggars.
Over the years, I occasionally stumbled upon a certain beggar who for some reason or another, managed to capture my attention. His "territory" was the heart of  Tel Aviv city. 

He was not the standard beggar. He didn't have a 'fixed' place, but was rather on the move, stretching his hand to passersby and shop keepers, an imploring look on his face . He seemd ageless, with no visible physical disability. He made no use of kids or heart-breaking little posters to ellicit symphaty. He was casually dressed in a black t-shirt and  pants.


begging-   (Getty's images)

I happened to see him a few times in an adjacent town, probably his hometown as he was not begging there.  Last time, I saw him sitting in a posh restaurant checking the table menu. I stood outside for a while, not believing my eyes; my imagination ran wild. Was he leading a double life? Was the man at the table, perhaps,  a twin  brother?

I entered the restaurant and approached his table; looked him into the eyes, but... couldn't do it, couldn't ask him about the begging, couldn't tell him that people begging money, do so for very basic needs, not for luxuries.   
Just turned around and left.  
Were are the story investigative journalists when you need them?




48 comments:

  1. Here in the states they have done news reports with how much people can make begging like this. One person made over $100,000 dollars of tax free money in a year! I rarely give money to such beggars these days but will buy homeless people a meal and donate monthly to the rescue mission here who helps people get off the streets.

    betty

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    1. I used to hear now and then about 'rich' beggars, but I dismissed the stories as myths.
      Well, not any more. Not after seeing 'my beggar' sitting in an eleganr restaurant.

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  2. Replies
    1. Yes, it's rather hard to believe; unless you personally encounter such a case, and you start asking yourself if this is real.

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  3. pues vaya, si que es verdad que a veces los mendigos no lo son por pura pobreza si no con otros fines, una pena

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    1. Some do indeed take advantage of people's generosity. That's a shame!

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  4. I think you are the "story investigative journalist", Duta!! Your posts and careful eyewitness eye (even going right up and looking him in the eye!), and thorough reporting give you credentials that seem just right for the job!! ♡
    Blessings and a good week to you !

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    1. Thanks Shayndel for the big compliment.
      Investigation would usually include following the guy home, asking the owner of the restaurant about him, observing his begging habits over a period of time etc..

      Delete
  5. I suppose one always wonders whether beggars on the street are genuine or not, and I am sure that the activity is prone to abuse by the unscrupulous, as are most aspects of life, unfortunately.

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    1. Indeed, so. That's life with its realities. Most activities are likely to be abused by unscrupulous people, and it would appear we, as society are quite helpless about it.
      The above, doesn't mean we will refrain from giving and donating.

      Delete
  6. "...beggars were treated cruelly if caught.
    Charity and fundraising were not allowed either.
    The rationale behind it was that the government took good care of its citizens , and the above activities implied the opposite, which was unacceptable."

    Was it good? I mean, did the government take care of them? It seems like a relief in one way, but there is just something about helping someone and giving of ourselves that seems like we would miss out on if charity were not allowed.

    "Perhaps the communist approach was not so bad after all, considering the amount of fraud and corruption regarding benevolent, non- profit organizations in the western world."

    Was there ever fraud in the government system?

    I am thinking there was, because...well, governments-- pfft, right? But, really, I don't know.

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    1. Hi Sandi,
      I was too young to have solid, well-formed opinion on things. I would say, however, that I was never hungry and I got good, free education. So, it seemed the government did take care of the basics: food and education.
      Communism was not all bad just as capitalism is not all good.

      Delete
  7. That happens here too. Our journalists have videoed people begging and hours later they will get up and walk to their nice car and follow them back to their nice homes. One woman dressed as a disabled elderly woman who was shaking like she has parkinsons. They filmed her getting up hours later with her donations, taking off the old woman costume and walking away. No wonder people don't want to donate to beggars.

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    1. Sounds interesting!
      I believe disclosures of this kind do affect people, but don't altogether stop human tendency to help, give, donate. Until next time some new fraud is revealed...

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  8. What a grub!!! Greed...along with envy...is a most horrible trait to have.

    What a disgusting human being!

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    1. The truth is I wouldn't know what to say or what word to use, unless I have the chance to talk to the person, to people that know him, or observe his behavior closely.

      Delete
  9. Wow,interesting story! I prefer to offer my money for trustworthy charities. Have a lovely day☺

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    1. Well, there are good, legitimate, charities receiving high ratings of transparency and accountability, and there are, sadly...bad charities.

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  10. I have heard of a beggar who is taken home at the end of his shift in a posh car.
    Again, no idea as to the truth of this but people have actually seen it, they say.

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    1. Now and then, we hear and read about similar cases. I used to ignore the stories; not after noticing my "beggar in black" sitting in an extravagant restaurant.

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  11. It's sad to say that a lot of beggars are not really once and that is of course not good of the real poor people. Once a man told me that he was hungry so I bought him a fresh wafel on the street, he took it throw it on the street and insulted me ! He wanted money not to eat. Bad experience !

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    1. You've touched an important point, Gattina. Those "fake" beggars, so to speak, are making it tough for the real beggars that need the coins to buy some basic food: bread/veggies/fruit.

      Delete
  12. Excellent story as always DUTA! I used to teach catechism in the Catholic Church and I always told the kids, "if you see someone begging, help them if you can, give up that dollar you were saving to buy candy and help another human being". Many of them would tell me that their parents would tell them that these people were con artists and didn't really need help, they were stealing from us and lying to us. I always told them that it was just our job to do the right thing, to help, to be charitable...what the other person did with the money we give them was on the other person, in God's eyes we did the right thing.

    That being said, I know there are many charitable agencies that are corrupt and they money you give them does not go to help the people you think you are helping. It is necessary to do research and see where this money goes and what causes they are supporting. There is true need out there and I would hate to have help taken away from everyone just because of a few bad apples.

    Always a pleasure reading something you have written, you are a true conversation starter!

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    1. So, among your many skills, you were a teacher too, Alicia? It suits you.
      I definitely and totally agree with the following sentence of your comment: "There is true need out there and I would hate to have help taken away from everyone just because of a few bad apples".
      Thanks for reminding us.

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  13. Duta, you should be the investigative journalist! You're great at saying it like it is and very observant! It's pretty sad that people stoop that low and dupe the public. But what goes around, comes around! We have them around here and many more closer in to Chicago, but we did notice one man that was there for several years always had manicured nails. Interesting post!

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    1. Thanks, Pam, for your kind, appreciative words.
      Sometimes, things just stick out, draw your attention (like the manicure nails),and you notice them whether you want it or not.

      Delete
  14. What an interesting thing to notice. I couldn't confront him, either. It's rather bizarre.

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    1. I remember feeling a sort of uncontrollable urge to confront him, but lost it after getting near his table.
      Yes, the whole thing was rather weird.

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  15. begging sounds in this particular occasion like a good business!

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    1. Probably, and that makes us feel sad , worried, and angry. How low can human nature descend?

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  16. Realy? O wow ... I could imagine a nice story around it. A newspaper story.

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    1. You mean a story in the tabloid newspapers, yellow journalism. Yes, indeed.

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  17. A very interesting account described so well.... I have seen on a number of occasions a beggar in Bournemouth UK get into his car at the end of his 'shift' to drive home. Not any old car either, it is a rather nice BMW.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words.
      We do indeed, notice or hear occasionally about 'beggars' of this sort. These people could damage people's tendency to give and help the real needy, and that's a shame.

      Delete
  18. This is very interesting and very well presented. Thank you for sharing your POV, and I agree with you. I think I watch too much "Crime Drama TV" because I am skeptical about beggars ... many times.

    Happy Valentine's Day to you!

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    1. It's a nice feeling to get your post referred to as interesting and well- presented. Glad you agree with my POV.
      Thanks.

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    1. Thank you. Glad my post arose your interest and attention.

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  20. Oh, my. Beggars make so much money on good-hearted souls who, I guess feel better doing it. We see so much of it all over our warm state. I have learned from our Jewish roots studies to look for ways to help people. In Christianity we learned to bless others as we've been blessed. But this pandering has got to annoy even God.

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    1. Really? You've got much of this in your state?
      I believe both Judaism and Christianity teach us to help the poor and needy, but certainly not to encourage people like the above 'beggar'.

      Delete
  21. We also have panhandlers and beggers on the city streets here and often they are outside local eateries. One older gentleman has been standing with a walker near the entrance to a busy shopping area for the couple of years I have been in that area. He always has a sign that reads "homeless" but after 2 years, one does wonder if this is indeed a scam. My husband has told me there are many who make a living by begging and that sighting you mentioned in a posh restaurant seems he may be correct.

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    1. Your husband is right. Almost anyone has a story about some beggar making a living by begging. It appears to be a common sight.

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  22. Hello Duta, I really had to think about what I might say.
    First of all, great post and I agree wholeheartedly with what others have said about you and your skills at investigation, reporting etc. You are an observer of life, and where you stand out from many who do this, you don't have a biased view.
    It always comes as a shock to be, or to feel that, we've been duped and admire how you handled this situation.

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    1. I feel very flattered by your kind words, dear Sue. Thanks a lot for your compliments.
      I wish I had your talent for painting life - but I don't. So, I must be content with being just an observer of life.

      Delete
  23. I think meeting his eye spoke volumes. Those in real need are often hurt by the freeloaders who panhandle as a lifestyle.

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  24. Well, what a story!
    I think you should be the investigative journalist!

    Worldwide there is homelessness and begging.
    Locally we have the Church that do a regular soup run and is very well organised and run by the Church and it's wonderful volunteers.
    We also have a food bank which again seems well thought of.

    All the best Jan

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