“THROUGHOUT HISTORY, IT HAS BEEN THE INACTION OF THOSE WHO COULD HAVE ACTED, THE INDIFFERENCE OF THOSE WHO SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER, THE SILENCE OF THE VOICE OF JUSTICE WHEN IT MATTERED MOST, THAT HAS MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR EVIL TO TRIUMPH.”– Haile Selassie
All of us have the awesome responsibility to exercise our rights as citizens. I have long heard that we have the government we deserve. And I have now come to see exactly what that means.
We all need to step up and make our voices heard. We need to stand up and make sure our vote is counted. We cannot allow the plague of fear, hatred, and ultra-right nationalism to continue to spread. It’s up to us to stop the spread of this insidious infection.
And if we don’t, if we are too busy, too indifferent, too callous and uncaring, well… we will live in a country that has the government we deserve.
I have two enemies in all the world, Two twins, inseparably pooled: The hunger of the hungry and the fullness of the full.
This little poem I recently came across by Marina Tsvetaeva well describes my own feelings. After 40 years of walking along side the poor and hungry I still cannot reconcile myself to the apathy of those that have sufficient resources yet refuse to help those of our family in need. Here is an equally short poem I wrote over 30 years ago.
Hunger is an obscenity,
a four-letter word
scrawled across the lives of millions
by those that could, but do not share.
Every week a tsunami rips through poor towns and villages all over the world.
It claims 25,000 lives a day, 173,00 a week.
It sweeps children from the arms of their mothers, robs hundreds of millions of any hope for the future.
That tsunami is hunger.
Global hunger is the perfect storm. We don’t need to tune to the weather station to get an early storm warning. It hits every day, and kills thousands. And the only shelter necessary is for us to share the abundant resources already available.
But for some reason, even in the midst of this ongoing tsunami, we don’t care enough to act. I wonder what single word might best describe our apathy.
I am torn between two choices. I think our lack of response to the cries of the hungry is either “pathetic” or “repulsive.”