What are we in this world that children are dying? What kind of world is it that we live in that there are not thousands, if not millions, of people standing up in absolute rage at the idea that our children are dying? That our children are seeing torture, rape, execution, feeling fear and starvation and we are not saying a word?
Who are we that this is okay? Who are we that we accept this as a part of war, a part of life? Who are we that we have become so blasé about life, that the death of one child becomes equivalent to the death of millions?
I read story after story about children suffering. I read reports with numbers that make me want to bend my head down and weep. I read about the destruction of innocent lives and the full knowledge of those who claim to be Godly and I question everything in my soul.
I can handle soldiers dying; ultimately that is a willing price. I can read the stories about mothers dying, not because I believe that they deserve nor have come to a place where it is acceptable, but because death, whether violent or peaceful is a part of life. I honor those who fight for me, fight for those small children dying as they ride their bikes and play in the streets, and I respect those who fight where I cannot.
But don’t ask me to understand. Don’t ask me to ever accept a world where children are dying from disease, starvation and random bombs thrown in a war they have no part of. Don’t ask me to be okay with the knowledge that a innocent, playing, discovering, reading, and dreaming is being shot down with ammunition from machines they cannot drive. Don’t ask me to not get angry when I see children dying of starvation because those in crystal palaces, eating pate and steak, believe that terrorists reside next to the tents the children are dying in. Don’t ask me to not get furious that simple solutions are blocked when politics, power and fame, and the belief of the Almighty become more important that a fifty cents cup of oatmeal.
I am not a pacifist; I believe that there are times when kindness and goodness won’t protect that which I will gladly stand in front of a bullet for. Children have been dying in wars since the Olympians lived; and there have always been those who ignored the truth in favor of that taste of power.
But who are we if we stay silent? Where are the voices crying in the night for the children because it seems the only cries are those too gone to save? Where is the action beyond the words? Why is there one screaming until they are hoarse about these children, while the rest of us find comfort in the tucking of our own children into their beds?
Our minds protect us. They protect us from so much ugliness in order to help us survive. They protect us from gruesome images; they protect us from the disappointment and the fear so that we too could lose our souls. Our minds protect us from the reality, because the reality it too hard to bear.
We take our children to school, and refuse to think about another student with a gun. We put our children in our cars and refuse to think about drunk drivers. We take our children to church and refuse to think about those that would easily and almost without thought kill us for the very doors we are walking in. We take our children and show them this world, and we never think about the coin being flipped.
History has taught us that those coins can always be flipped. History has taught us that safety is an illusion, a mirror image of the reality. History has taught us that no one, not even those most innocent, can escape the violence, the hatred, and the absolute persecution of life. History has taught us that life is not precious to those on a quest for power or wealth. And history has taught us that terror has no skin color, no religious affinity, no income level, and no recognition of the innocent.
And yet, rather than yelling at the top of our lungs we sit in our offices, in our homes, in our lives and choose to look only at that which is comfortable. Rather than acknowledging that the front lines exist, we look at stories like they are lines in a novel. We believe with our heart and our soul that the darkness is not ours; and we comfort ourselves with the dismissal of the truth.
Who are we that this is acceptable? Who have we become that reading a story about a child dying while doing nothing but riding a beloved bike doesn’t push us to scream at the top of our lungs, “no more?” Who are we that we turn the channel when we learn that food, that basic and incredibly important necessity can’t get to those who need it most?
Is it that we have been burned so many times by gimmicks, by organizations that take our money and forget the very hope they are promoting? Is it that we have read so many stories about stealing, money laundering, lying, and misdirection that we cannot trust ourselves to find a way to help? Are we so disillusioned by life that we can accept a world of children dying? Have we gotten so used to the luxuries in life that we have forgotten terror? Because it is as real as the child dying while playing in the street.
I am just a voice on the internet. I can’t change the world, and I can’t save the hundreds of children that are going to die today. I can’t deliver food to children who didn’t ask to be born, and who grow up cynical in the knowledge that there is a God who does not care. I can’t give hope to an innocent who lost their most precious gift the day their mother lay bleeding out beside them. I can’t protect children from bombs dropping from the sky like fireworks and mortars that steal more than just lives.
I can go home tonight and hug my children and get down on my knees in thanks to a God that oftentimes angers me. I can go home tonight and teach my children about those who have less in the hopes they grow up to be the one who is screaming in horror at the world we are perpetuating. I can go home tonight, pay my bills, eat my dinner, and forget that there is a world out there where a child’s eyes are filled only in tears, never in the most basic emotion of all – hope.
I can do all that, and probably more. It saddens me that a child will die anyways. It saddens me that this world doesn’t see innocence in dying children, but another casualty in a war that they aren’t fighting. It breaks my heart that tonight as I fall off into my dreams, a child will cry with enough pain to be felt around the world.