Global Issues Have Faces
Is it true indeed as the pessimists believe, the world is all about man’s greed for power and money and the consequences thereof?
*Throughout the world people are forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution, natural disaster, and famine. At present there are almost 15 million refugees and 25 million internally displaced persons worldwide. These uprooted people are of every race and religion. The majority of them are women and children.
• In Sudan, more than 4.5 million people are internally displaced and over 500,000 have fled to other countries as refugees due to the world’s longest civil war.
• In the Middle East, 4.1 million Palestinian refugees reside in various camps.
• In Colombia, due to ongoing civil conflict and the U.S.-funded war on narcotics, 2.45 million Colombians are internally displaced and an estimated 80,000 to 105,000 Colombians are living in refugee-like circumstances in neighboring countries.
• At the end of 2001, some 345,000 refugees were living in India, including as many as 144,000 from Sri Lanka, 110,000 from China (Tibet), 52,000 from Burma, 15,000 from Bhutan, 12,000 from Afghanistan, an estimated 5,000 to 20,000 from Bangladesh, and nearly 300 from other countries.
– U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR)
More than 852 million people in the world go hungry.
In developing countries, 6 million children die each year, mostly from hunger-related causes.
In the United States, 14 million children live in households where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. That means one in ten households in the U.S. are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger.
As I contemplated on issues of peace and war, right and wrong, I realised that for every evil that is done, ten acts good are countering it. For all those who are disposed of land, home and family, there is given to them strangers, from around the world, who leave their homes and lands, becoming themselves sojourners, to lend an offering hand – to build them new homes, speak for those who are unable to raise their voices and to love a dying child. So many have left comfort, family and peace to be with their fellow brethen of another race, creed and religion to stand up for them in some form. When there is evil, goodness shines the brightest. There is indeed light in the darkness and it is in each of us, when we act.
I am thankful I am alive now, in this day and in this age where knowledge is made available at my fingertips. Knowing the numbers above constitute my fellow mankind, that each number stands for a living, breathing soul, has increased my resolve to stand up and be counted.
I may not be able to stop a war, I can help feed an orphan of the war so that he or she will taste the goodness of the inhabitants of this volatile world. I may not hold all the answers to the whys or hows, but I can help educate a child. I may not have ignited a war, I can be an instrument of peace. But I only can if I put my resolve into action and not just spew the words from my mouth. For my silence will not help, my action will.
Facta, non verba! Indeed, it’s time for deeds, not words.
“The difference between doing good for the oppressed and seeking justice for them is that the one who seeks justice seeks to eliminate the causes of suffering as much as they seek to alleviate it.”
Sr. Joan Chittister, The Monastic Way