Thursday, 16 March 2017

There is no water

and the lorry bringing it is late - again. Nobody knows whether it has just broken down or whether the soldiers have stopped it because there has been "an incident" or if the rebels have managed to get at it. The last time the rebels killed the driver and let all the water out - first making sure they had enough for themselves.
There is almost nothing to eat - whatever they can find in the bush. The last UN aid shipment was weeks ago. You can't plant anything because the rebels just destroy anything in sight. They burnt down the neighbouring village last night and now the women and children left here are terrified that it will be their turn tonight. The rebels have already killed all the men and older boys. They have taken some of the younger boys - to turn them into fighters.
It is searingly hot. Two children and an old woman died in the night. There will be more deaths before the end of the day. The mother of those two young children won't even weep. She is already in the worst emotional hell that any parent could ever fear of finding themselves.
Around her there are other mothers, other children. All of them are waiting. There is a sort of dignified patience about them, also resignation. 
People ask me sometimes, "Why don't these people do something to help themselves?"  The answer is that they can't. They don't have the capacity. They have no energy. All the energy they have is concentrated on staying alive, on keeping their children alive if that is at all possible. They will walk incredible distances in the poorest state of health, carrying others because they have that one, tiny, almost not there, little bit of hope that someone, somewhere will give them water and food and shelter and let them have the most precious thing of all - life.
There are fourteen million people in danger of dying from starvation in East Africa right now. They are in danger  because of conflict, drought, and agricultural mismanagement brought about by the greed of companies like Monsanto.
While we worry about the appalling conflicts in places like Syria we seem to have forgotten the women and children in places like the Sudan and Yemen.  It's almost as if they don't exist any more. They are too quiet. It isn't their way to speak up and the effort of doing so is too great. 
One of the aid workers left me a message. One of the few literate people in the village had left a message written in the dirt. Translated into English it read, "I have gone into the night."
How do you stop millions more joining him?

3 comments:

helen devries said...

It seems to be of little or no interest to the mainstream media...busy with Trump, with populism, with 'celebrities'...

Holly Doyne said...

The press still hasn't figured out about "news" vs glitter reporting.

I do think there is a certain amount of fatigue involving the Sudan. It has been going on for so many years. The warring parties don't care about the people, only the principle.

And at what point DO we interfere in a sovereign (by other countries recognition) nation? When we don't like it? When we don't agree? When they ask for humanitarian assistance which is an acknowledgement that they can not handle their own problems.

You have human rights on one hand - that which we all agree means at minimum safety, water, food, shelter and the right of people to self determination on the other (we don't like the election results....

Anonymous said...

And to this one I would say that the right to life of a child unable to vote is greater than the right of an adult who can vote and determines the child's future.
Chris