I am still floored by the events on the other side of the globe last weekend. As far as relief goes, I like that the White House has encouraged public participation in the effort and the way the two former presidents have been tapped to co-chair the effort. It seems to be a classy and heart-felt approach. I intend to participate at some level. Just think about the impact if every family gave even the paltry sum of $50. That would be billions just from the U.S.!
While it is so difficult to put into perspective the enormity of this tragedy, it is also somewhat depressing to look at it in light of other things which we do not meet with the same degree of shock or resolve. Consider these numbers and then think about whether we can just go on about our normal lives once the tsunami chapter is behind us.
- Every year over 200,00o people around the world are killed in alcohol-related accidents. If you were to then add to this number the number of families destroyed or spouses abused or even pregancies caused by the abuse of this drug, why do we not exercise prevention rather than lauding this industry?
- So far, among the 40-50 mass graves uncovered in Iraq, the total of people- men, women and children- murdered during the reign of Saddam Hussein is appraoching 300,000.
- Ethnic cleansing in Africa has caused the savage slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people- again- men, women and children.
- Within the lifetimes of many people we know, over 6 million Jews were killed because of their heritage. Today the drumbeats of anti-semetism are growing louder and louder, not just in the Middle East but increasingly in Europe, yet still ignored by many.
The list could go on and on- referring to North Korea, Columbia, Haiti, Afghanistan...
Equally long are the questions in the face of such tragedy.
Who do we blame?
What can we do?
Could we prevent these things?
How can I help?
How can I take advantage?
How does this help me?
Why should I care?
Some of those questions are not pretty, but they do get asked, and sadly (and perhaps too easily) some of the negative ones get answered.
One not so easily answered, yet still containing a flicker of hope is "How long, Lord?"