Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Don't Forget Gaza

I am plagued by a guilty conscience as I go to bed at night with the rain pouring outside, lightning flashing, and the thunder roaring. My bed is soft and warm and dry. I have a solid roof over my head, and windows that keep the wind and the rain outside.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti don't even have a bed anymore. And families in Gaza, just a little more than two hours away from me, live in makeshift tents since the Israeli war one year ago. The continued siege makes it impossible for Gazans to rebuild their homes: borders are sealed and building materials aren't let through. Pending some kind of solution, their roof and walls are made out of blankets and plastic sheets, and their floor is mud.

Yes, mud. The rain storms have drenched the refugee camps in water. Temperatures drop to or even below zero at night.

And I lie in my bed with the heater on. I lie there with these images before my eyes (follow link, and click on the picture to see more). I'm going crazy with guilt. What am I doing to change any of this? How can I go on when I know that this is happening so close to me?

We mustn't abandon Haiti. Nor Sudan, Congo, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, or any other place in the world where there are displaced people who had to flee from their homes, had their homes destroyed, don't have a roof over their heads or access to the basics in life. And we can't forget about them as soon as the media stops reporting about them because there is a new conflict, or a new earthquake or flood. Just like we can't forget about Gaza.

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