Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Conscience Seared: What Can I Do for Nigeria?

Wednesday greetings from the frigid Midwest; four degrees this morning at O'Hare.

On my way into work this morning, my carpool colleague and I had a lively discussion about current events. The topics covered a few television shows we have watched recently on PBS; one having to do with a black family's pursuit of their genealogical roots in New Orleans (only to discover that a distant ancestor was an eleven-year old boy sold, re-sold, and re-sold as a slave). I watched the PBS show last night focused on the Ku Klux Klan, which I found both informative and balanced.

That brought us to both admit how fortunate we are to have warm, safe places in which to live. We may complain about the cold and the snow, or how our financial outlooks are not as wonderful as we had hoped, but we both admitted that we are fortunate indeed. I said, "Well, at least you don't have people breaking down your front door and entering your home and attacking you." I was referring, of course, to what recently occurred in Nigeria on January 3, when members of Boko Haram entered the village of Baga and massacred anyone in their path.

Most of those slaughtered (and there may be up to 2000 of our brothers and sisters who were killed), were women, children, and the elderly. The reason? They simply could not outrun the terrorists; they were mowed down in the bush areas surrounding the village, while those strong enough (mostly men) were able to flee.

The Mail and Guardian Africa, published the comments of a Nigerian Archbishop, as well as a representative of the United Nations:

A Nigerian archbishop called Monday for the same international support to tackle Boko Haram as France has received since it was hit by Islamist attacks last week.
“I see the very positive response of the French government tackling this issue of religious violence after the killing of their citizens,” said the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Jos in central Nigeria, Ignatius Kaigama.

We need that spirit to be spread around, not just when it happens in Europe, (but) when it happens in Nigeria, in Niger, Cameroon and many poor countries, that we mobilise our international resources to confront the people who bring such sadness to many families,” he told BBC World Service radio.
Kaigama was speaking after another bloody weekend for Nigeria in which three female suicide bombers, including one thought to be as young as 10, killed at least 23 people in the restive northeast.
His comments echoed those from the head of the UN children’s fund, Anthony Lake, who said on Sunday that harrowing reports from survivors of the a massive attack on Baga on January 3 and the use of a 10-year-old girl as a human bomb “should be searing the conscience of the world”.

"Searing the conscience of the world." What is the world community doing? What can I do? In a recent CNN report, Elizabeth Donnelly, said the following in response to those questions:

"The international community could do more to speak with one voice and coordinate better amongst itself to galvanize further and faster action in Nigeria, back those agencies and actors which are making progress, and identify gaps for greater support. An immediate priority is humanitarian relief and energies need to be focused on how to get essential help to internally displaced people and refugees."

Folks, take a deep breath right now. Look down at your hands. Turn your palms up and ask youself, "What can I do?" Recall the images of the millions who marched in France over the deaths of those journalists. Remember the line of world leaders with their arms locked together in solidarity over the horror of the murders committed there. Now look at your hands and ask youself again, "What can I do? How can I join my hands with others to help my brothers and sisters in Nigeria?" There are no world leaders locking arms over these massacres of our brothers and sisters in Nigeria, who are no longer breathing; their hands are gone.

I just made a donation to Catholic Relief Services. You can see what they are doing in Nigeria here. All I can do right now is offer my prayer and my resources. Perhaps later today I will express my own outrage to my representatives in Washington. Something has to be done. My own conscience has been seared. How about yours?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Alan Hommerding said...

I watched the KKK program on PBS as well. A grim chapter in US history.
There's certainly a selectivity in what we are told or shown to be involved in or causes to support. We willingly sent money and supplies to earthquake or typhoon victims all over the world while we ignored the genocide in Rwanda. The support shown to France should be shown in Nigeria as well, but also in the Central African Republic, where Christian militias are slaughtering Muslims.
Too often, I know that I am just uncomfortable trying to address the racism in the US or the terrors inflicted around the world because they are disruptive incursions into my comfy, controlled life that seem to come from distant centuries. But in the disruption I need to find and know the presence of Jesus and the Gospel, then act.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Thank you for your comment, Alan. It helps me broaden my own perspective. So true: "in the disruption I need to find and know the presence of Jesus and the Gospel, then act."

Kathleen Basi said...

I have been struck by the disparity in the coverage depending where things happen in the world. The Ebola outbreak disappeared from our news feeds because we stopped having cases here...and then it's too easy to forget that it's still going on. Things happening in Africa hit me much closer now than they once did because we have choir members who immigrated from two countries there. It has made me realize what a box I've put myself in. Thanks for the link to CRS' work in Nigeria. We do need to put our money where our faith is.

sewaya joanah said...

thx all of u...indeed something has to be done and now. let us always include them in our prayers. HE(God)can make away