A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America
The UNs Philip Alston is experienced on deprivation and that he really wants to know why 41m Americans live in poverty. The Protector became a member of him on the special two-week mission in to the dark heart from the worlds wealthiest nation
La, California, 5 December
You had a option to make, man. You can go straight onto paradise. Or you might turn right, into that.
We’re in La, in the middle of certainly one of Americas wealthiest metropolitan areas, and General Dogon, outfitted in black, is our tour guide. Alongside him strolls another tall man, gray-haired and sprucely dolled up in jeans and suit jacket. Professor Philip Alston is definitely an Australian academic having a formal title: United nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human legal rights.
General Dogon, themself an experienced of those Skid Row roads, strides along, walking more than a dead rat without comment and skirting round an appearance covered with a worn orange blanket laying around the pavement.
The 2 men keep on for block after block after block of tatty camping tents and improvised tarpaulin shelters. Women and men are collected outdoors the structures, squatting or sleeping, some in groups, most alone like extras inside a low-budget dystopian movie.
We arrived at an intersection, that is when General Dogon stops and presents his guest using the choice. He points straight ahead towards the finish from the street, in which the glistening skyscrapers of downtown LA rise inside a commitment of divine riches.
He then turns right, revealing the black power tattoo on his neck, and leads our gaze back to Skid Row bang in the heart of LAs downtown. This way lies 50 blocks of concentrated human humiliation. A nightmare in plain view, within the town of dreams.