600,000. That is a greater number than the population of Miami, FL. Imagine every child in Jacksonville, FL starving to death and there was nothing you could do about it. All the local hospitals are out of medicine, the local Red Cross is out of food. There is no safe passage for resources to be delivered to you and your family. The local law enforcement is not allowing you to leave Jacksonville and imprisoning those who try.
Now imagine not being the front page story in the national news.
Last month over 30,000 children died of starvation while 12 million of their fellow countrymen stumble toward a similar destination. 600,000 children are dying. Families, and these are family centered people, are being divided in half by decisions of which child they will be able to save and which child will die. The people are facing the worst draught in their region in 60 years, but there major enemy is famine.
“Droughts are ‘acts of God’, but famine’s are man made” Bono of the band U2 said in an interview with Anderson Cooper of CNN. It is true that draught has created a major depletion of resources in Somalia, but it is the human element the keeps salvation just out of arms length. If there was ever a case of evil oppression, this is it. The unarmed and out resourced citizens have been overrun by extremist, War Lords, and pirates who have created a power center by cutting off outside assistance. It is because of these people that over the past 20 years many countries have pulled back aid and many aid organizations are hesitant to return.
Over the years, it seems, we as a world have become jaded when it comes to areas like the Horn of Africa. We have heard the stories about the Battle of Mogadishu. We have seen the results of massive pirating in the region. We have felt the frustration of aid being stolen and wasted. A land torn by civil war. K’NAAN, a Somalian artist, has said we have put up a “psychological fence around our heart”. (see attached video for CNN source)
These may be reasons to walk cautiously, but not to turn a blind eye. In the same CNN interview, Bono said, “We’d rather watch people in the high streets of London fighting police officers while children in Somalia are fighting for their life. People watch the stock values crumble while I think about our own sense of values tumbling.” Bono doesn’t dismiss the hardships happening in our lives, but he is saying that loosing his house does not compare with the fear and tragedy of loosing his family.
Perhaps it is not just a jaded heart that keeps us from action. Maybe we are stunned into believing we cannot do anything and bewilldered by the difficult intricacy of it all. To this Bono responds,
“We should not let the complexity of the situation absolve us from the responsibility to act.”
There are things we can do. There are things within our control. We can petition our leaders to do what they have promised to do regarding Somalia. If you have wondered why I have only posted quotes from two musicians, here is the sad answer: There was nothing to quote from our politicians. They are spending an exorbitant amount of resources attempting to find a politically favorable solution to a recession born out of our excess while Somalia needs a solution born out of their paucity.
As we urge our world leaders to take action to provide safe passageway for the needed resources, we must be ready to give of ourselves and our resources. Jesus Christ said that the greatest gift we can give our friends is to lay down our lives. Laying down our lives is not just about dying, but about sacrifice. Even if we don’t have money to spare this doesn’t mean we have nothing to give. Pray. Share their story. Lift up their humanity. Lift up your humanity, and face this crisis head on by refusing to ignore it. Light overcomes the darkness and we were made to be light.
What can you do?
Get knowledge. Petition. Give. Share.