OUR OPINION: Human crises place many issues in focus

By NEMS Daily Journal

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
- from Matthew 25 (NIV)
The debt ceiling/deficit reduction battles left many people emotionally exhausted and worried about what’s ahead for themselves financially and for our country.
Those issues aren’t nearly finally resolved, and hand-wringing continues.
However, the next news cycle often carries worse news that, although far away, make many of us feel even more torn-up inside.
First, on Aug. 6 – a week ago today – 31 American soldiers, sailors and fliers died when their Chinook helicopter was downed by enemy fire in Afghanistan.
Many were Navy SEALS, and many of the others were specially trained in the knowledge and abilities war requires.
The Washington Post ran photos of all 31 on its website, with a brief biographical insight. All were relatively young.
By their status on a mission that won’t be fully described it is a certainty that all were exceptionally capable, gifted, brave and heroic. They were special to somebody as a son, a dad, a brother, a husband, a friend.
A few days later, one of the chronic, disturbing crises of humanity regained the spotlight: starvation, especially of children and mothers, in Somalia – plagued by war, famine, drought, and mostly isolated from the people, agencies and resources that could pull them through.
For the sake of innocents who share a nationality, forget about Somali pirates and hijackings with bloodshed. Hundreds of thousands in that pitiful country are starving, and they are not the only hungry ones in the world.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday described the severe drought threatening more than 12 million Africans with starvation.
In a speech at the International Food Policy Research Institute, Clinton announced that the United States was providing another $17 million in emergency food aid to the Horn of Africa, with $12 million going to humanitarian operations in Somalia.
That brings total U.S. assistance to the region to more than $580 million this year, The Associated Press reported.
Every dime that saves victims of circumstances beyond their control is money well spent.
The United Nations also warned Wednesday the famine hasn’t peaked, and that the long-running drought has been exacerbated by the Islamic militant group al-Shabab’s refusal to allow many aid groups to deliver supplies in parts of Somalia it controls.
Thousands of children have already died and more than 1 million Somalis have fled their homes.
The crisis is also severely affecting Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti, where millions more need support, the AP reported.
Our focus must never become so narrow the larger picture is blurred.