Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day One-Hundred Sixty-Three: The New Darfur

The Internet has exploded.

You can't go anywhere without seeing images of Iran, support for Iranian protesters, or headlines outlining what President Obama is or is not saying about the actions of the Iranian government.

Everybody cares.

And that's good. I'm sincerely glad to see folks all around the world get so up-in-arms and fired up at violence and/or oppression by corrupt governments toward civilians exercising what are supposedly their rights, be they rights of citizenship or basic human rights. Hopefully, this is the kind of thing most decent people around the world can band together against. If we can't, then we've become Nineveh or Sodom and deserve utter destruction.

The sickening thing (on this side of the pond) is when folks start using issues like Iran as a chip in their pile. When it suddenly becomes a partisan issue (like Iraq did). When it becomes an artistic gold mine (as 9/11 did). Also, when everyday folks like you and I take an issue like this and make it a banner we proudly wave, reminding ourselves how conscious of the world around us we are because we deplore the atrocities being inflicted upon our common man. We fume about their plight as we drive by the loser with the cardboard sign standing on the corner on our way to work.

I remember the public outcry about Darfur not that long ago when a group of celebrities and musicians decided to use their social influence to further that particular cause. It was just awesome! People donating money to help with the cause, folks actually contacting their government to take action (rather than the customary sitting at home and complaining that the government doesn't do anything), the innocent people getting massacred in Darfur were put on the world stage. Darfur headlines were everywhere you looked.

Until, you know, we got over it.

I want to be clear here (and I know that is NOT my strong point): I am NOT condemning any of these campaigns, nor the response to them, nor any of us who join the throng in rightly opposing these great evils when they surface. That's not my intent. I'm not attempting to criticize anyone except those who use world crises for personal gain, like I mentioned a few paragraphs above, and to my knowledge I don't know anybody personally who has done so.

All that I am saying today is this: if you oppose the evil in Iran, and I believe we should and I stand with those who do, you must remember that evil does not only reside in the regions that are spotlighted on the six o'clock news, nor the pictures shown on the Net, the tweets on Twitter, or the videos on Youtube. Need is everywhere. In our zeal, let us not lose sight of those who are suffering at the hands of corrupt governments all across the African continent, bystanders living in daily terror from Middle-Eastern terrorists, Americans living under bridges and living for the next Meals-On-Wheels drop-off, Chinese babies abandoned on doorsteps due to a one-child-only policy, and victims of race wars and ethnic cleansing across the globe.

Oppose evil, wherever it shows itself, in whatever way you can. Pray for the people of Iran. Pray for the people of Darfur. Pray for the Sunnis and the Shiites, pray for the orphans, the widows, the diseased, the impoverished, the victim, the killer, the hateful, the dying.