There is no hope for the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since 1996, 5.4 million people have died in the war torn country and over 1 million people have been displaced. Rape is a weapon of choice leaving 70% of the women and girls survivors of violent sexual assault. The conflict is spurred onward by the illicit trade in minerals that we need to manufacture cell phones, digital cameras and other techy devices. There is no peace, only strife and perseverance for those struggling to survive.
Okay. I lied.
There is hope for the Democratic Republic of Congo. I was imagining a world without you, me and all of the other advocates and organizations. I was imagining that this information was never shared and that no one moved. Of course, I am delusional. No one with a conscience could hear this information and go back into the world uninspired to help.
Okay. I lied again.
Most people will hear this information and do nothing. A few will at least share it with the ones they love and maybe make a donation. A very small minority will participate in advocating for the millions of people in crisis both domestic and international. And a tiny, microscopic number will begin to do all of the above.
These thoughts do not just apply to the Congo. They apply to children in East Asia caught in the dignity stealing sex trade, the homeless teens in Lansing and the people of Burma targeted by their own government. There is no hope for them if no one reacts to their stories.
As a busy American business owner, wife and mommy of three who tends to be overly self involved, I thought it was important to remind myself and my readers why we should care about social issues. I am aware that many of these issues do not directly effect us, our family, our city, our state, our country or our continent. I could probably give you over 5.4 million reasons but since their names are unknown to me, I will give you five basic reasons off the top of my head.
I Love My iPhone
I love diamonds, oil for my car, iPhones and coffee. I love these things and many others that cause strife for people around the world, except Walmart. I hate Walmart. Well, I kind of like Sam’s….but only quarterly. I am in conflict with myself about how my purchases cause strife around the world. I make efforts to use my money responsibly. I look for fair trade, independent owned, conflict free items to spend my money on. I’m not perfect but I am now aware. That awareness drives my consumerism. Hey, If you are going to consume, let it go to a good cause.
The Modern Housewife
I own a dryer, a washer, a hot water heater, an air conditioner (out of order but nonetheless), a car, a telephone, a computer, a television and a vacuum cleaner. All created, marketed and purchased with the distinct purpose of making my life easier and giving me more free time. Every second of which I fill without a single thought. I don’t need to remind you how over scheduled and over burdened we are. I am in that very same category but I am constantly asking myself how I can serve others. If I can find time to watch America’s Next Top Model, then I can find time to sign a petition on line to prevent stoning deaths in Iran. Even a good cause junkie needs to learn to smile with her eyes.
More than Money
I am not a huge donation giver. I think you would be astonished at how little I give compared to how much I talk. However, if you could compare how much I talk to how much I take action on, you would see my account balances. I am a woman of mediocre means and we do give. I never assume that throwing money at an issue will change it. Financial support of the world’s social organizations is just a small piece of the social change puzzle. Collectively, we need to get off our lazy asses and pen a letter, protest and make phone calls on behalf of the people who are struggling. From Lansing to Istanbul. Money is the easy way out.
My Three Sons
I have three sons that I am responsible for raising. They need to know that tyranny and oppression are not acceptable forms of leadership. They need to know that the love and respect of a woman is a reward greater than her obedience and fear. That her willing physical intimacy can never be stolen. They need to know that all people have value. They may have already learned that from Horton Hears a Who but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. When my sons leave my home it is important that they have a view of the world that is empowered and tempered with a sense of justice. Keep reading and in approximately ten to fifteen years, I’ll write a post to let you know how this goal works out.
I am exhausted, angered and frightened by what I perceive as a movement that justifies the rich and condemns the poor in our churches. That the poor are lazy, uneducated and sinful. Therefore, they deserve the lack of concern from the pious and upright in our world. That is a misguided, un-Christlike attitude that makes me want to resort to violence. I see the Bible as a source of light and inspiration. When someone whips it out and degrades the oppressed I want to grab it and beat them with it. That’s probably a pretty un-Christlike attitude. The Jesus that I know and love is the come-unto-me-peace-be-still-get-out-of-the-temple guy that preached love and charity. He was unafraid to take the hand of the leper and the whores. He was not about making the lessors feel lower to earn a tithe.
I am no better than a leper and a whore and neither is anyone else. Sweet Jesus, are we jerks sometimes.
This week while researching the Congo, I found this amazing website. It’s a visual petition. One small action to stand in solidarity with the millions of women living in fear today. I hope to see some of your beautiful faces uploaded next to mine and Arthurs.
I found so many other great causes this week. I want to make sure you understand that this is not about the right cause. It’s about advocating for someone that needs someone stronger to lift them up. I did not look them up on Charity Watch, so take this info at face value.
I love you all and I hope that you are all moving with me!
Peace and Grace,