france - 06 45 46 41 29 - iain@iainstatham.com

is theft always a crime?

Added on by iain statham.

walking through bujumbura, burundi, it's no real surprise to see someone being arrested or pursued for stealing some food. in a country with 80% living in poverty, 60% of kids suffering chronic malnutrition and the inequality gap between those who have everything they need and those who have nothing at all being such a steep drop, it's no surprise at all.

i was walking up to cafe gourmand in the centre of bujumbura when this commotion and subsequent arrest by private security guards working nearby took place.  the cafe is busy, vibrant and offers food and coffee exactly like that which i would order from a cafe back home in france. once inside you feel a million miles closer to european life and culture than you do to the reality of the world immediately outside the window.

i hope the guy is okay, i'm told he would likely have been held by the security company for a few hours and let go. ironically he would not be taken to the police and arrested by them because they would not be able to afford to feed him if he were kept in custody.

stealing food when you're literally starving. how much of a crime is it?