Sunday, 2 December 2012

Coffee and Cupcakes in Addis Ababa

From Ethiopian highlands,
Via Ottoman Empire trade,
To Venice and so to England's
Coffee-houses where deals were made.

On to Boston in a slave-ship,
Then over time, across the land.
Seventies Seattle made it hip
And created a global brand.

Today west meets east in China,
Where, now facing wage inflation,
Their thoughts turn west, to Africa,
To outsource negotiation.

Hearing of inward investment
And an African middle-class,

Should be, by any assessment,
Good news when compared to the past.

But surely I can't be alone

In feeling a certain unease,
When I hear "From Our Own

Correspondent”, that downtown, amidst poverty and sleaze,
A red velvet cupcake's the thing to enjoy along with your morning brew,
At least that is, if you can afford the caf├ęs of the privileged few.

This poem was inspired by the Saturday 24 November broadcast of the BBC Radio 4 News Programme From Our Own Correspondent.  You can listen to the podcast (may be restricted to UK listeners due to rights issues) or read the associated news story and judge for yourself whether I am right to "feel a certain unease".

With the exception of universal healthcare, free at the point of delivery, and Sir David Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA, this country's greatest treasure has to be the BBC, and jewel in the crown of the BBC has to be BBC Radio 4. I am a huge fan of programs like: Today, From Our Own Correspondent, Desert Island Discs, Front Row, In Our Time, and The Life Scientific. So today's recommendation is: BBC Radio 4; listen if you can in your part of the world.

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