I admire people who grow old graciously and leave the troubles of the world to look after themselves, but I am not one of them. My wife and I give modest support to several charities. They keep us in touch with their activities and their need for more support. By all most every post there are new appeals for help from charities and we are on the e mail list of several groups campaigning for justice. We try to keep up to date with the massive human crises in the world, but we wish we had the power, the opportunity and the energy to do more, to keep up with the news but not to be burdened by it.
Syria gets easily forgotten by the media but then a particular area of need hits a the headlines – families huddling together in temporary accommodation that begins to be permanent for example. Today there’s a long article in The Guardian with a picture of a devastated slice of Damascus, once people’s homes now only rubble. How is this going to end? And how does someone like Assad allow his whole country slowly to destroy itself and kill its people.
The feeling that the world is ruled by mad men is reinforced by every fresh piece of news.
I am a supporter of the Friends of Sabeel, a Christian organisation that petitions for peace in Israel and justice for Palestinians. I find the information that is e mailed each week, painful to read and the invitation to pray about it difficult to respond to. Here from a recent bulletin: ‘While the world is focused on so much unrest in the Middle East it seems that Palestine has been forgotten. And yet we who live here are daily made aware of the continuing hardships of living under occupation. This past week alone, homes were destroyed, people arrested, land confiscated. 40 members of one family were made homeless when their house was demolished in Beit Hanina; 80 Palestinian civilians were arrested in the West Bank, including 8 children and 3 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council’.
I recently read an autobiography ‘In Search of Fatima ‘ by Ghada Karmi whose family fled from the occupation of their country by Jewish immigrants in 1948. In the process she lost a sense of identity that she never regained.
Today’s Sabeel bulletin which I have just received begins in this way : ‘ Lord God, we come to you again today with concerns that pressed in upon us last week, last month, even last year. We know that you are at work around us, but we are tired. Please renew us with fresh hope for each day’. That phrase ‘We are tired’ moves me very much, and the passion and persistence of such a group makes my worrying about the need in the World seem trivial; and my anger at the way in which my own country is being bled of its equity and fairness by the present government is put into perspective.