Archive for January 20th, 2008

How many mornings start off with a sense of despair as I open my computer to learn what has happened around the planet as I slept the night away peacefully in the bosom of my beautiful little family? Far too many.

The world is for more people than not a terrible place of unimaginable pain and suffering where each day brings yet another hurdle to jump or cross to bear … one after the other until there is no more jumping or bearing to do.

The headlines give indication of misery enough, but my mind always wanders a bit further down the road and often ends up dwelling on whatever impact the attention-grabbing event that leads a report has on the children caught somewhere way down the story and living the consequences of religious fanaticism, ethnic intolerance, political unrest, greed, corruption and all the other horrors self-imposed by the human race upon itself.

Occasionally, a news item addresses the effects on innocents directly, as was the case in this article. Although designed by the United Nations propaganda machine for self-perpetuation and circulated through IRIN, the UN’s “humanitarian news and analysis” branch of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the report does manage to pass along information without too blatant a tooting of its own horn … mainly because there is absolutely NO reason to credit the organization with anything positive under this circumstance … or make a begging plea for additions to its bulging coffers.

The story is on how the unrest in Kenya is impacting the vulnerable in the country, widows and orphans.

When the violence broke out immediately after the election, at least two of the people we support were killed by rowdy youths in their homes. One of our widows was attacked and her home was torn down to the ground; she was very lucky to escape alive. One child-headed household had their home invaded – they were chased away and when they came back everything had been stolen.

This, of course, is one tiny example in a country where millions are at risk any time the boat is even slightly rocked, so precarious is the semblance of stability.

Kenya has long been held up as a positive example of democracy in Africa, a model for other countries more obviously in danger of a rapid downward spiral into chaos. But Kenya has been corrupt as hell for years, and no one with the slightest knowledge of the place could pretend not to notice that the average Kenyan has been getting screwed by their government for decades while the powerful are creaming off the top and living like royalty.

With Zimbabwe just down the road a piece getting a complete pass from the “global community” on everything from its flagrant violations of human rights to blatant corruption, where could impetus possibly come for rising above?

Does the world care? Face it, folks, the answer to that is: Not really.

Pretending otherwise appears to be an unhelpful practice that works pretty well to keep the levels of hell stable for the majority while the minority takes expensive vacations.

Think about this …

At the moment, the population of the USA is somewhere around just over 300 million. Although numbers are hard to come by, USAID estimates that by 2010 25 million children in the world will have been orphaned by AIDS alone (Some suspect this number is a low guess, with estimates up to 200 million circulating.), and although that pandemic does take a hefty toll, added to numbers of children losing parents to other diseases, alcoholism and drug abuse, grinding poverty, famine, violent conflict, the total global population of children forced to fend for themselves could easily approach the number of people living in the United States in any given year.

Orphans, of course, aren’t the only people suffering … billions of children with parents suffer alongside their mothers and fathers … yet no small number of humans blithely go through their lives under the illusion that life is relatively fair … and is meant to be so … and that for the most part justice somehow prevails. Decisions on everything from product purchases to elected official to laws addressing adoption tend to be based on the false sense that happiness is a logical consequence of life for everyone finding the wherewithal their own bootstraps should provide, so consequences are slow to come to those living off the backs of the downtrodden … and that is often not only an expression, but a reality … and remedies too often have more to do with alleviating the little guilt that comes with plenty than actually addressing the real issues others face every day.

Forcing ourselves to wake up and smell the toast is a first step to taking the problems on full frontally, as we will never come to grips with something we have refused to see in all its naked ugliness.

Read Full Post »