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Humanity coming under siege

On a clear day when we look out at our beautiful calm waters, magnificent foliage along the shoreline, and if its summer, watching the longtails glide across a blue sky with scattered clouds silently drifting in a gentle breeze, for a moment it would seem all is at peace with the world.

Little Amal is backdropped by the Houses of Parliament in London. The giant puppet of a young Syrian refugee girl is part of "The Walk", an art initiative that travelled 8,000 kilometres from Syria to Britain across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium to focus attention on the urgent needs of young refugees (Photograph by Matt Dunham/AP)

However, thousands of miles across the oceans, there are people existing in a state of utter fear on a daily basis. They have little or no hope that they will ever wake up to peace and justice. Their dream is that children will no longer wonder whether they will have food or attend school without fear of being harmed before the day ends.

Countries considered wealthy with powerful military might seem unable to play a more significant part in helping millions of families caught in a cycle of violence so horrific that they are willing to risk their lives attempting to flee to lands where, sadly in most cases, they are not welcome.

All this and grave concern about climate change already having a devastating effect, with the world of science pleading for leaders to take urgent action to reduce fossil-fuel emissions into our atmosphere. World temperatures rise steadily each year, creating massive forest fires and powerful, life-threatening storms as the corporate world and political divisiveness continue to hamper efforts to protect the Earth.

More alarming is that millions of men, women and children struggle to survive each day in regions ripe with violence and under brutal oppression, along with vicious criminal activity that wipes away their hope for true justice and freedom.

When people are willing to cram like sardines in a small vessel with little to no food to seek a better life, humanity itself is under siege.

In today’s world, just about every incident — whether it is big or small — is flashed around the world in seconds, with communication technology so advanced that even children have devices with the ability to connect to negative and positive information that flows so steadily.

However, it is that very technology and journalism that allows a viewer to witness a mother in distress beyond measure, as she helplessly watches her child slowly dying from hunger. Unfortunately, it is a scene being played out daily in too many parts of the world. It is not an easy problem to solve, but with a greater effort by the world’s most powerful nations, surely more could be done to reduce the amount of suffering, which has left a trail of broken families.

There are far too many troublespots in the world to focus on in a single column, but there are few people unaware of the tragic events unfolding in Haiti, and also the desperate situation in Afghanistan, where acute shortages of food and medicine have plunged much of that country into crisis. Economic support from countries was withdrawn when the previous government collapsed and the Taleban took control in running the country. There are no quick solutions to the plight of millions, with many feeling abandoned by the rest of the world.

When families so crushed with a lack of food are willing to sell a child in order for the rest of the family to survive, there seems little doubt that humanity is really under siege. Thousands of Haitians are fed up with conditions where daily life is riddled with violence in an atmosphere that seems out of control.

At the time of writing, hostages — mostly aid workers — are still being held by Haitian gangs who have demanded $1 million for each hostage. Children are included in the group and the outcome remains uncertain.

Meanwhile, Haitians continue to cross the ocean in anything that floats to hopefully reach something better. The situation caught the attention of noted film star Richard Gere, who many will remember from the award-winning film An Officer and a Gentleman. He felt a need to help in any way possible a number of Haitians crowded on a boat for three weeks, headed for the Italian shores.

He managed to board one of the boats a long way from Hollywood luxury. An Italian official got word to him that he was stepping out of line in aiding Illegal immigrants. But Gere was not impressed and told a reporter he was brought up in a religious family, and in his words, “Jesus would not be happy to know helping people in need would be considered illegal”.

Gere’s objective was to do whatever he could to assist these people who needed food, shelter and a degree of comfort and safety.

The Duke of Cambridge recently hinted at how so much money could be spent on floating in space for a few minutes when there was so much urgent need in various parts of the globe. There is nothing wrong with space exploration, which has created benefits in medicine and improving devices for use on Earth. However, as long as there is a child gasping for life through lack of food and medicine anywhere on the planet, there is a desperate need for a global approach to eradicate such suffering.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has spared no country including our Bermuda, should have been a reminder that without countries learning to co-operate on important matters that affect daily life for millions, humanity will remain under siege. Until human life is valued more than the dollar, there is not likely to be any dramatic change for those millions struggling to survive.

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Published October 27, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated October 26, 2021 at 4:46 pm)

Humanity coming under siege

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