33 years ago we rushed out to buy “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” in a perhaps limited, yet well-intentioned attempt to alleviate imminent starvation in Ethiopia.
Now in 2017, there are upwards of 100,000 people on the verge of immediate starvation in South Sudan. Millions more from northern Nigeria to Yemen are surviving in such precarity that death could be weeks away for them.
Our world – our humanity – could quickly be facing four major famines, and we are at fault. Simply put, millions of people in one general area are at risk of imminent starvation and the causes are human made.
Yet shockingly this is not the lead item on every news broadcast and publication.
I want to thank the team at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for highlighting this tragedy of tragedies on the May 2 The National broadcast.
It would appear we have learned very little since we asked the rather redundant question; “Do they know its Christmas?”
It is well worth climbing into the many causes of these genocides, but foremost one must not lose site of our humanity. Imagine mothers holding their starving babies in their arms. Elderly people wasting away and the long-term pain and disabilities the few young survivors will endure.
Take a moment to simply contemplate what 100,000 starving people looks like. How it smells. The fear, the hopelessness.
Imagine the famine in Ireland. Imagine Rwanda, imagine the Holocaust, imagine Stalin’s Soviet Union.
We live on a planet that still produces more food than humankind requires. In the rich world, we speak much more of obesity than malnutrition, yet we are letting our own species die in misery.
Far more money is spent on military rather than relief. These poorest of the poor are truly the pawns of so much that is so far beyond anything they can possible effect. Their lives are so utterly desperate, as to render them economically irrelevant.
Whether these millions live or die will have no impact upon the global economy. This is a question of humanity.
What to do:
In the UK the Guardian published several ideas for donating.
Really, depending what country you are in and what your research suggests, it is a personal decision where to donate. But please do. We will probably end up giving $300 more as a family, and certainly, that is not enough to make any real difference, but collectively we can.
Secondly, call your local political representative and ask what he or she intends to do.
Lastly – spread this around. Make this catastrophe the number one news item. Have your children raise it in school. Talk about these people on social media. Force these people’s plight to remind us of our humanity and our obligations.
We can debate the how, why, who – but first, let’s help our fellow human beings live. With dignity.