Human beings are selfish.
By nature we seem to gravitate to anything that brings us pleasure or happiness. We are sold the lie that life is about the pursuit of happiness, therefore whatever does not make us happy is not of value. We are to look for our own best interests and that it’s good to be kind to others, but not at our expense.
I am half way through a class on Governance, and the class has really been exploring all the benefits and ideals of a democracy. I clearly see the positive aspects, but as I begin reading General Romeo Dallaire’s book “Shake Hands With the Devil” and I listen to him speak about how we failed, AND continue to fail, I realized the downside to democracy.
Democracy means that leadership and government are decided by the votes of the people. As I stated, people are selfish. I cry often since Sunday when I watched Hotel Rwanda and think about the loss of life that people were indignant to. I watched General Dallaire in a video today after getting a vaccination (so I can again travel to Africa) and he talks about how we are more guilty today than we were back then, countries like Maynmar and Syria are current examples.
I realized that saving lives of people in other countries does not win the popular vote. Look how hesitant countries were to engage in WW2 and save the Jews. NO ONE in the international community came to the aid of the Tutsi people – they literally had to save themselves. People in the developed world are comfortable in their homes and maybe have a sponsor child photo pinned to their fridge, but people are dying. Politicians want to get re-elected and stepping into a conflict wins favor with no one, but that doesnt mean it’s not the right thing to do. The right thing to do is sometimes to disobey orders: thank you General Dallair for the 32,000 lives you saved in doing so. The right thing to do is important even if it is not popular. Human beings have value.
I am confronted with the fact that these battles are not over. People are dying and many don’t care and even more don’t understand. I want my life to reflect the fact that I valued human life – all human life. The ONE campaign has a saying: “where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live.” I was blessed to be born in Canada and have the freedoms, resources, and liberties that I do. I am going to use all of them to benefit those who were not born here with the same things I was.
I also want to be very clear that every country has its issues. Canada does not have all its problems solved. Africa is built with amazing countries. I have been to 7 of them and I was blown away at how majestic and culturally rich they are. They too have issues and the majority of extreme poverty reside there, so that is where we focus projects, but just because they have extreme poverty does not mean they don’t have anything to offer.
I get asked often when I will go back and the only answer I can give right now is, not soon enough.