I’ve just spent five minutes scrolling up and down the homepage of the New Zealand Herald Online – my primary news source. Well, maybe not anymore. There is nothing on that front landing page that mentions the 300 Nigerian girls who are missing – taken from their families.
Have we forgotten already?
Is it already yesterday’s news? It doesn’t matter?
Well it does matter my friends. These girls have been taken against their will, against their families’ will. Taken and have been forced to convert to Islam, and are now being held until some militant prisoners have been freed. They are pawns in a war of terror.
It is easy to feel sad at this situation. It is easy to feel anger. It is easy to feel powerless. What can we, as caring citizens of the world do, to help? And will it really help? We have to believe it does. We have to do something. My friend Alison has written an excellent blog giving some very real and practical ideas on things that we can do – things that if a large body of people raise their voices in outrage and actually did these things – that voice would be heard. But first you have to know that this is not such a distant problem. First – you have to know that what matters so many miles away from our very comfortable lives here in Australia/ New Zealand or America, actually isn’t so very far away at all.
I want you to know that the world is smaller than you think.
I want you to know that maybe, just maybe, border lines of countries on a map, are really just handy marks. Borders merge and flow in ebbs and tides so much more than we think.
My own sister-in-love is a lawyer for the International Red Cross. Right now she’s working in Tajikistan. She’s an expert on the law of war. Yeah. There are laws to do with wars. And there are a lot of people who devote much time and energy to dealing with the bad guys. The very bad guys. To turn our backs on a problem that is so many miles away, is to turn our backs on the people who are fighting for the hurt and the marginalized, the devastated. The more people are aware of what these very bad guys are up to, the more that is in the public eye, the more the atrocities have to be dealt with. And the less, they can get away with.
Knowledge is power, yes?
When we as a family were visiting our extended family back in Christchurch last year, we had an amazing afternoon spent with friends of my Mother-in-love. Friends who are refugees from an African nation. This family had, against all odds, been able to leave their war-torn nation and came to NZ as official refugees. In the process they left behind a son, who had been drafted into the army. An army that you can’t ‘un-draft’ yourself from…..amazingly after a few years he did escape, he bribed someone to get him across a border and he himself became a refugee, found out where the rest of his family had ended up (they thought he was dead), and they were able to re-unite. In little ‘ole New Zealand. The stories this family can tell. What I’ve written in three or four sentences does no justice to the things they’ve experienced, the trials they’ve overcome and the very miracle that they survived and are re-united. However – what I want you to get from this, is this is real flesh and blood people, who sit in my in-laws living room on a regular basis and share meals with them. This is not a people group who are far-removed, living on the other side of the world, who we just can’t relate to as we feel so distant to them.
Worldwide borders mean nothing these days. There are Africans living all over the world, just like there are Australians all over the world. We have to feel something for these people, because they are just not that far removed from our lovely lives.
So – please – I urge you – read Alison’s blog and know your voice matters. Feel something. Do something. This isn’t just yesterday’s news.