I’m not going to put up the requisite starving children picture on this blog. As a child of the 80s, I remember how the pictures of starving children in East Africa left a largely negative impact on the perception of Ethiopians and Somalis. Instead, I am just going to write something brief as a reminder of what we can do.
2011 has truly been a traumatic year, not that we forgot Haiti in 2010, but this is a devastating humanitarian crisis. I am especially disturbed by how the extremist group Al-Shabaab is not allowing a number of aid organizations in to help, dismissing claims that there is a famine. Famine or drought, people are dying and people need help. But there are organizations that are getting in there, such as Islamic Relief and the Red Crescent, trying to address some of the immediate needs. The Huffington Post also has a page up outlining some organizations to help Somalia. Many of us understand that much of the aid we give in the developing world only provide bandaid solutions. I pray that our society begins to invest in innovation, encouraging our most brilliant minds to tackle the social, political, economic, and environmental problems that have contributed to this crisis. But right now, we have festering wounds that must be treated immediately. Let us clean up these wounds and apply the bandages so we can save lives. I hope more of us become inspired to be committed long term solutions for the dealing with our greatest challenges. And for those of us whose life’s purpose takes us elsewhere, please don’t forget that we are one family and that we cannot affirm our own humanity if we turn our backs to the suffering of others.