on justice -Benedict/James Orbinski

''Justice only fails when we fail to imagine that it is possible. But like so many things, it depends not only on imaginings but on what we do.'' - James Orbinski

Monday, April 26, 2010

thoughts on re-reading book

''Another committee, led by Adan Hussein, set up an orphanage in a bombed-out library in the centre of town. Adan's committee went around to the feeding centres in the city gathering up orphaned children who had little chance of survival without adult help. I asked Adan to go to Hawina to get Ali and other orphans. Unlike us, Adan had no guards. Many committee members were shot, beaten or robbed by gangs and militias. Still, Adan's group collected as many orphans as it could. By the end of October, his group was caring for over 350 children. I asked Adan why he did what he did. After a long pause, he answered, ''They are the seeds for tomorrow's Somalia. Tomorrow's Somalia will be better - it must be. We want them to care for each other, so we must care for them today.''
(p. 83)

An Imperfect Offering is one of the best books I've read so far, and I'm now currently re-reading this humanitarian masterpiece, and still the stories recorded in this book amazes me. So much can be said about the war devastation that is happening all over the world, the suffering of the people who are trapped in continuous hunger, unceasing warfare and the lack of respect for human life through horrendous acts like rape, and genocide -- but amidst places and situations like these, goodness, courage and hope still somehow prevails.
The excerpt above is one of my favorite and what I find to be one of the most heartbreaking passages. There are those whose life objective is to destroy and eliminate the lives of others, so that they themselves can have a better life. A better government, higher profit, bigger land, wider borders. But then there are those whose goal is to save the lives of others so that they can have the same things. Why is it that some have the hearts to save and repair and others are focused on the inhumane immediacy of killing - when both parties have seemingly the same future in mind? A better country cannot be based on bloodshed; unfortunately, those in power and with authority seems to believe that the only way to assert their authority and secure their profitable income is to push others down. A scary but true evidence of this is recorded in the same book, when the author is describing the food distribution in war-torn Somalia in 1992:
''The Red Cross and CARE were paying $10,000 a day to warlords for airport landing rights in Baidoa. Some food was being diverted to clans as a protection payment, and about another 20 percent was being stolen from warehouses or looted on the roads to the feeding centres.'' (p. 83)
This happened more than ten years ago, and is still happening now.
Why and how are good questions to ask, but importantly, WHAT is being done to change, and to raise awareness about people who are trapped in these unjustly governed nations?

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