What is our world coming to?

June 1, 2010

On May 31st,the world awoke  to yet another catastrophe as Israel raided an aid ship headed for Gaza, according to Al Jazeera:

“Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country’s siege on Gaza.

At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, Israeli radio reported.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.”

Whatever it is that took place, I have been shocked by the ease with which the world accepts the taking of life by one human being from another as common. It shocks me that although there is huge media interest on the story, no one has really stopped to pay respect to those who so tragically lost their lives. No value has been placed on comforting those who have been robbed of their loved ones and the attention is on what happens next. Whatever happened to the sanctity of life?

I met a friend of mine Josefina, who studies International Relations to pick her brain and find out what she thinks of where we find ourselves as a society, and her thoughts were powerful indeed. She mentioned that it is very difficult to say who is right and who is wrong in these kinds of situations but more importantly she highlighted that that question is fundamentally flawed. There is no point asking questions on a scale that is too big for us to influence as individuals, she asked what is different from the loss of life on a boat to the countless murders that are committed in abortion clinics her in the UK. Why is it that we are moved when people perish halfway across the world but are not raising alarms about this society that is doomed to perish unless there is serious reform? Why is it that we advocate for the relief of the desperate in Gaza but cannot stand up for what is right and challenge the status quo that says that to be a true university student is to get drunk a lot, incur a lot of debt, have a lot of sex and then complain that not enough is being done by the government to help poor students. She introduces some powerful thoughts about how it is incredibly hypocritical, as serious as the issues abroad are, to want to be a champion on the world stage when many western families are breaking down everyday. I am persuaded slowly as I listen to this oration that comes out from within as she lays down the passion she has to see real change.

The reason why people can cry for those in Gaza and not their own child who is vexed with drugs and alcoholism is this – it is too painful to confront something you CAN change, so they elect to focus on what they cannot change because at least they’re trying to help. Rubbish. The only way this world will find peace is when we all find something to focus on that is bigger than all of us, that takes away from us the prerogative and the false sense of justice that qualifies us to take lives we can never give back. Josefina boldly states that this world needs God, not just for Him to be there but us to believe in Him because only then can we, through love for our neighbour, see beyond our own prejudices and realise that those things that separate us are but a vapour and can change if there is a will to see that change. I want to applaud. She has hit the nail on the head and I am left investigating where I have chosen to focus on the big picture because the things I can change are too close to home.

There is a choice that is set before us in life and it is this – we can either go through it, wishing that things could be better, encouraging others to try their best and hoping that some day we will see what we hope for come to pass – or we can BE THE CHANGE – we can identify where there is a need and we can meet it – I mean close to home – not in Gaza or Harare, but here in Exeter, on Fore Street, on Sidwell street, we can begin to live beyond the constraints of me, myself and I and make today count. Life is precious and while we have breath in our lungs, we must do what we can to make sure that this world is a better world because we walked on its sands and exchanged life with others like us.

Make today count.

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