ParkTales on a little blue dress

The little blue dress that stole my Christmas spirit
Image: Photo-illustration of Bangladeshi sweatshop fire behind backdrop of young girl wearing a Disney Princess costume.
By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective
Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

ParkTales Image, small01 December 2014 — Tonight as I was watching television and the ads came on, a little girl was pictured at Toys R Us. She magically twirled around and turned into a little princess in a beautiful blue dress.

My mind immediately flashed back to that terrible fire in a sweatshop factory in Bangladesh. A  place where some of these clothes were made, perhaps that little blue dress. To where the children will not be enjoying a magical transformation  in one of these  dresses that their parents made working for slave wages in sweatshops. Many of whom perished in that fire.

Then came the news. People fleeing their countries as bombs fall on innocent civilians – women and children, little girls just like that little girl in the Toys R Us  ad.

Across the screen under the news “donate unwrapped toys so every child will have a gift.”

This reminded me of an article in the Toronto Star November 16, “Keep the promise to end child poverty” by Arthur Bielfeld and Mary Jo Leddy.

“It was a rare, brief shining moment in the House of Commons. It was also real. On Nov. 24, 1989, in a unanimous all-party resolution, the political leaders of this country resolved to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000.

'This promise was made 25 years ago. It is all too easy to lament the fact that this is a promise that has not been kept. There have been steps backward and forward in the struggle to eliminate the scandal of child poverty in this very wealthy country of ours. Yet the poverty remains and the dreams of too many children are deferred.

“In the 25 years since the promise was made to end child poverty, many Canadians have settled into thinking of child poverty as normal, inevitable and permanent. We adults can say that to each other but we cannot say this to the children. Not when they look at us and ask “why?”

“We cannot keep on saying “tomorrow” to the children of this country. They take promises seriously; they know when they have been broken.”

The newspaper article continued:

“As the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral has written:  “We are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer ‘tomorrow.’ His name is today.”

Let there be peace and sharing of the wealth in this world. Let every child achieve the wish they dream and deserve.

Frances Sedgwick
My Parkdale