Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Thoughts on Third World Suffering

About a month ago my geography class watched a documentary on something relating to the blood diamonds of Africa, and the brutality involved.  My memory is a little hazy as to how this correlates, but there was a certain part where the hands, arms, and feet of certain children were being chopped off to pay the debt that they or their parents owed to the government.  I cringed while watching it and I couldn't watch much, but what's more [sad] is that I couldn't believe it...literally.  I mean, I could not fathom the idea that there are places on earth where that is actually happening and is somewhat expected.  I walked from class to my car, in comfy clothes, listening to my iPod, and when I got home I cooked myself a nice lunch and then relaxed and went on the computer.  That is NORMAL to me.  Getting limbs chopped off will never be NORMAL.

I began thinking more and more about this and what I could do, if anything, to prevent it.  And I began feeling very helpless, because I know that I alone and can't do anything.  And before you stop reading, thinking that this is just one of those blogs where I'm going to rally support and encourage us to do anything collectively about it, I'll tell you, it's not that.  I am actually kind of pathetic in the sense that I don't intend this blog to arouse any feeling of activity in anyone, or myself, I'm just trying to display my thoughts on something that upset me.  It's rare that I get "upset" like this about stuff, seeing as I'm usually very passive and calm (what an introvert!) and have been desensitized to a lot of hurt in the world.

I think about our culture and how we "view" these things that are happening in other "worlds" and how maybe for the hour that we are sitting in class, we feel sympathetic, or rather, empathetic, but then we walk out the door and forget about it.  But really, what more can we do?  I am a college student with little to no money to my name.  I am not about to go start an activist group, or get on a plane to Kenya, or send money and food to kids there.  I have insufficient resources to do anything like that.  But maybe there's more?

What bugs me is the ignorance.  I myself included, but which I notice also in so many of my peers, have become so ignorant to the suffering of anyone else other than ourselves and the people in our immediate surroundings.  Out of sight out of mind?  I call it ignorance.  Or, selective pathos.  I was about to type selective love, but I realize that is an oxy-moron, as love is never selective.

So I've start thinking about it more often.

I start thinking about my good and loving God, and how he has placed everyone where they are and for a reason.  And then I say WHY? Why me here, and them there?  He has placed me in a middle class family in suburbia, getting basically everything I want.  I kind of feel bad about the fact that I live like this when others are born into a lifestyle of suffering, but then I don't because I wasn't in charge of it.  How can I feel bad for something I did not have any part in choosing?  I think instead I feel blessed.  If I feel bad about anything, it's that I don't thank my loving God for blessing me in my circumstance.  I am blessed that I wake up in a bed and I am more than well fed, when some kids wake up in a desert forest, hungry, fearing for their life and limbs, daily.

There is nothing that I can do about their circumstance.  Sure, I can go on missions trips, or I could donate money when I eventually come into some, but realistically I know that I have to take this as a blessing and just continue praying for the others who have less.

I think that the worst possible way to respond to the blessing I have received, in living the way I do, would be to speak of others' suffering with no sensitivity, or to continue pretending like it does not exist.  To make crude jokes, which I have occasionally done, or allow others to do it themselves.  Maybe I cannot make a big difference in a flashy, opulent way, but I can pray for them and I can accept my mistreatments without complaining.  I guess the whole thing I've got here was just a new perspective.  It really makes you see your period cramps in a different way when you know there's a little girl who's not only bleeding out of her uterus but also out of her arm, where her hand used to be.

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