Thursday, May 16, 2013

Life can be hard, but chances are you've got it better than these people

So, after a really long day I was feeling what I would have described as hunger and exhaustion.  I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.  But then I was entering my building and I saw a rather poor looking family moving into my building, with what seemed like the assistance of a few people who were not at all poor-looking and I realized how good I actually have it.  I don't know hunger, and I don't know exhaustion.  I know something close to these, but the solution has always been in sight. I don't know what it's like to be persecuted.  I don't know what it's like to live in a shanty.  I don't know what it's like to not be able to wear clean clothes, shower well, and blend in with general society.  I feel a bit ridiculous now.  

Now, this all came to mind as the family I saw (who I actually held the door open for...I usually don't take much notice of people, so I'm thankful I didn't ignore them) This family looked to me to be Rohingya.  Of course I have no idea if I am correct, but the point is that it reminded me that at this very moment there is an entire group of people who are unwanted in the country they live in, are persecuted by their neighbors, and are about to be hit with by cyclone Mahasen  which is approaching the eastern shore of Myanmar. They live in shelters which have been declared by the U.N to be unfit for human habitation and those shelters couldn't survive much at all.  

Most of these people are not going to leave.  The Burmese government is trying to get them to go to shelters, but considering how badly they have been treated by their government, it's no surprise that these people don't trust them.  Considering that the Burmese military is being used to provide relief (probably the only purpose of the relief is that they know it will look bad for them if they screw up again) and that the Burmese military has been known to rape children and burn down villages, I don't blame them for taking their chances with the storm.  I also would be awfully hesitant to attempt entry to Bangladesh, who also don't want these people, or in Thailand which has sent some off on boats to die with no food or water.  I think I would probably just dig down and pray to God too.

Consider also that only yesterday a hundred Rohingya were found dead after their boat collapsed.  Consider that they have no way to travel.  Consider that they can't get visas, have no passport from the country they live in and don't have an economy anyway.

Would you hop on the back of the army vehicle?  Would you pose for the international media and than just hope the world pays attention long enough so that your daughter doesn't get raped and your son put to work?

This makes my problems seem very minor.

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