Suffer the Little Children
06/16/05 “ICH” - - I fell in love on Wednesday. Flipping the television channels looking for something other than the newest reality TV show, I came across Brad Pitt in Ethiopia. I watched mesmerized as this actor became a man in my eyes; a man of compassion who evoked a true caring and humanity. I found myself transfixed as the horrors filled my senses before I was fully aware I was crying. Not just tears filling my eyes and rolling down my cheeks, but a pulsating sobbing. How is it that two-thirds of the world live and eat less than my puppy?
We have but to turn on the television and we’re face to face with starving children, dilapidated huts, contaminated water, raw sewage running through and by the thatched roofs, and deplorable, unsafe living conditions. We have but to read any newspaper in any town or city and we’re apprised of the suffering of the world: Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Sudan in Africa. Five-hundred million people are starving and malnourished in this world all because they were born in the wrong part of the world, or as Brad Pitt said, “The wrong longitude and latitude”.
Hard to fathom in this the richest country in the world the daily devastation and degradation that most of the world exists. When I compare the life of my little puppy who has a full tummy, a potpourri of toys with which to play, a comfy bed in every room in the house, whose bathed regularly in warm, sudsy water, whose water bowl is washed and replenished with drinkable water daily lest he should sip some contaminate, who sees his Vet if there’s a need, and who is loved and cuddled and secure, I’m filled with a sense of anguish. A part of me feels like the ugly American, grotesque in our exuberant, extravagant lifestyle. How is it possible that my puppy eats better than two-thirds of the world? Do I – and you – have a responsibility to make this world a better place?
Damn straight we do. If not us, who? Every day there’s a new story, ten-million stories, to be accurate, of a human life wiped off the face of the earth for the lack of food and drinkable water. Perhaps the words and the images have lost their potency. After all, didn’t we grow up being told, “Eat your food, there are starving people in the world”? A parent’s ploy gone awry. As far back as I can recall there have been fly-ridden little faces with swollen bellies looking into the television camera with their eyes pleading. Back then Feed the Children promised for 22-cents a day you can feed and house a starving child. As a child, I promised myself when I grew up I’d send the money.
But then we became jaded. How is possible that 22-cents could feed anyone, much less sustain them? Besides, how much of my money would actually go to the starving children? Aren’t the organizations always in the news for misusing and misappropriating the funds? I guess if we try hard enough we could find a plethora of excuses not to give. But in the end we still have to face ourselves in the mirror. Do we like that image staring back at us?
Are we truly humane, caring people, a caring society? Do we care for those less-fortunate than us? Do we care only when it matters who sees us giving or do we give because our heart and our soul are so motivated? The basic tenets of all faiths is that of caring. Yet, here we are in the twenty-first century with famine and disease, torture, inhumanity, and abuse. Have we not learned how to have dignity of life and to cherish life? Have we not learned to reach beyond ourselves for the sake of the downtrodden, the starving? All of us work hard to better ourselves and to live grander. Should we, instead, inspire to reach the heights of truly caring for those born geographically deprived? I, for one, believe we must. For if we do not then we are truly the ugly American.
Norma Sherry is co-founder of TogetherForeverChanging.org, an organization devoted to educating, stimulating, and igniting personal responsibility particularly with regards to our diminishing civil liberties. She is also an award-winning writer/producer and host of television program, The Norma Sherry Show, on WQXT-TV , Florida .
Visit Norma Sherry’s website at www.togetherforeverchanging.org
Copyright Norma Sherry 2005
Originally published on the Information Clearinghouse website at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9157.htm and reprinted in TAM with permission of the author.