Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Warlords and Chocolates
I was in Washington DC recently riding the subway around and around. I love the subway and will spend time just riding from one end of the line to the next. My favorite subway stop is called Foggy Bottom. I don't get off there, but the name intrigues me. So.... on to my thought process.
I am obsessed with Africa. Especially the part of Africa (a moving wasteland) where babies are starving to death. Year's ago I saw this photograph by Kevin Carter and I've never been able to shake it from my thoughts. Neither could he as he committed suicide after this. Warning, warning, warning, Will Robinson, it's a horrific picture and will change your life forever. One cannot look at it without being altered on some cellular level. Daily I think about what is going on over there and how we can stop it. How we can't ignore it, how we must, must, must answer the cry of these innocents. America is a nation with great passions and compassions. We have poured money into the money pit of Africa for years. Billions of dollars have been poured into it's gaping maw and yet the babies starve. The definition of insanity is executing the same set of circumstances over and over again and expecting different results. Are we kidding ourselves here? Africa is hungry and we think we know why. It's the warlords who intercept the red cross and other aid organizations. They who keep the food for themselves and charge the villagers enormous prices for it. They who build up power and wealth literally on the skeleton's of their children. So far, we've been helpless to turn this around. I've often thought we should put together a think tank of some of our brightest and best thinkers. We know what doesn't work. Let them figure out what will.
Into this mess I get on the subway train and a young woman sit's near with a small girl and an infant strapped to her chest. The little girl is dressed in lime green and pink which sounds atrocious but looked good on her. I stared at the family and let my mind drift. If a warlord climbed into the car with us, raised a machete and started towards the woman. If I had a gun, I would kill him. If I didn't have a gun I would jump up and put my body between him and the children in hopes that it would buy some time for others in the car to jump on him. In short, I would sacrifice my life so the children could live. Now, lets go back to Africa.
Suppose I managed to orchestrate a plan in which I included a box of Russel Stover Chocolates with each shipment of rice and milk I sent to the villages. We know the warlords take charge of the food stuff's and dole it out at their leisure, and the villager's ability to pay. The difference today is the chocolate. Do you think they'll share it with the babies? Not a chance, rich smooth chocolate is going right to their own bellies. So let's poison the mix. Instead of creamy nougat you get creamy arsenic. I don't know which would work best, but I'm thinking it should be slow acting. Give them time to go home and relax before dying. That way they can't alarm the other warlords in the area. Not that they would. So I have now committed mass murder. I will be punished for this obviously. Will I sacrifice myself for the multitude with the same conviction as I did on the train? In the interests of saving the innocents, I've killed thousands and thousands of brutal men who are killing the children daily. Is it a sin? Of course it is, but is it any worse a sin than killing the man on the subway train who waved a machette in front of the woman and her children? Do you think God keeps a tally sheet in heaven and when the score is oh say...... 20...... you go to hell. I believe the death of the one man is as onus as the death of many. Does it matter that your intentions were good? I don't know. I suppose soldiers the world over struggle with this one. I could not sit and watch the machete man kill them. That would be a sin. But could I kill him to stop him? Knowing it's a sin? Yes, I believe I could do that. Could I kill the warlords in Africa? No of course not. I am an ordinary woman living in Kansas fer crying out loud. But if the means were available to me, it would sure make me think long and hard.
I tried to post that photo at the end here, but the blogger rules aren't letting me do it. I'm not sorry for showing it to you. I think everyone should know this is still going on today. If you want, google Kevin Carter and you can learn more about the photo and the man.