You may have noticed that I keep rolling the prior post forward each Sunday. The thought came to me that I should use Sunday, and my "On Sunday" thread, to post something spiritual or humanitarian. I was raised in the Episcopal church/ideology - which is also known as Anglican Catholic, versus Roman Catholic. I drifted away from going to church in my high school years - drifted away from organized religion in general. I was married in the church (the first time), but insisted the priest strike the language that "we were sinners, and not worthy to kneel at the altar of the Lord..." - something to that effect - from the ceremony.
So, this On Sunday theme is not intended to be "preachy". It is something I am doing more for myself - to bring my spiritual and humanitarian sides to a higher level in my life - and sharing it on my blog in the process.
Back to this post, the prior post that is, "On Sunday :: A Matter of Perspectives". I think I originally posted it three weeks ago. The concept came to me to show photos, with no words, photos of space and this delicate blue marble that we live on. Just to get us to think about our place in the universe. Then it came to me to also have a photo that represented poverty and starvation. The grandeur and beauty of the universe, the magnificence and opulence of human endeavor, countered with the terrible ugliness of some life experience on this earth. I naturally went straight to flickr to do a search.
The last photo is the one that I chose, because it represented for me, in the most graphic way, the visual image of starvation. Only one person, Kendalee, commented and verbally made the connection I was trying to achieve graphically - literally, and literally. A graphic depiction of a graphic situation for one innocent child on this earth. Kendalee said that we, as humans, as a global society, "are capable of such magnificence and yet such indifference" at the same time.
Before seeing this photo, I used to believe that starvation was a necessary evil. Mother nature in her worst incarnation - controlling the human population. High birth rate - drought - not enough food - then people will starve. Now I believe that with so much money flowing around the third world, so much of it being diverted to corrupt government officials, so much food being produced, that no single individual on the planet should ever go hungry. I often wonder if foreign aid (for food or other uses) from the world powers, from the world bank, from the IMF, ever ends up back in the U.S. - buying a swimming pool or a Beemer or putting a kid through college - for someone in America with the "right" connections. Now that would be a true travesty. There is always talk of "protecting American interests". If there were a way to profit from ending starvation, perhaps things would be different. Profit. Cash. Spoils. Does it always have to be about money?
I ask that you take a closer look at the photo - the last one. Apparently, the photographer who took it was so effected by the image, the image in real life, that he took his own life. The image shows an emaciated child dying in a field, with a bird of carrion looking on. The child appears to be between the ages of 2 and 6, but it's hard to tell with starvation and malnourishment. The photo is tagged on flickr with "Sudan".
Look at the photo and ponder how this child came to be in the field. Did she (could be a little boy, but who knows...) crawl off to die on her own? Did a parent or relative place her there to die? Perhaps an aid worker, with no other option, carried her and laid her there to die. She's just laying there, too weak to even support herself upright, or roll over on her back. Perhaps she is trying shield herself from the inevitable when the bird may begin to peck at her while she is still alive and breathing. Perhaps she has seen her friends die this way, and knows what is coming. At this point, is she hours away from death? Or days?
I know it's all pretty overwhelming and graphic and painful to ponder this scene. It is for me, as I sit here with tears streaming down my face. It's too much for me to bear. It's too much for all of us to bear. I think that's why we avoid thinking about it. That's why our media shows us the latest news on Britney Spears and not starvation in Africa or elsewhere in the world.
All I know is this - no human being should ever have to endure what this child did - and thousands like her. It's morally reprehensible for this to be occurring, right now, on our planet.
I have written to my sister, who lives in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia with her family to find out a good aid program/charity to donate to. I'm going to find one or two to start donating regularly to. Right now that's all I can do for my part. I'll let you know what I find out about a charity/cause.
This is my new mantra: "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem..."