Things that happened over the weekend:
- I hung out in a few nice coffee shops, chatting and writing.
- I ate moderately impressive amounts of Chinese takeaway.
- I watched England fight bravely against Italy but consistently send the ball flying over the bar.
- 500,000 terrified Iraqis fled for their lives, taking only what they could carry.
I’ll be honest. When I heard yesterday morning that Christian Aid were about to launch an emergency appeal for the crisis in Iraq, I had to go straight to BBC News to find out what had been going on. I’d heard snippets about violence in Iraq, about extremism and about cities being taken. And I’d tuned out.
When the world feels chaotic and dangerous, I’d rather not hear about it. I don’t want the violent conflicts and power struggles of far off countries to break in to my comfortable complacency.
My world isn’t dangerous or unsettled.
If I put my fingers in my ears and change the channel, I can keep it that way.
When there’s an environmental disaster like flooding or a typhoon, it’s a tragedy that we can understand. Storm came, homes gone. People dead, families grieve. First clear up, then build up. But conflicts are complex. There’s politics and religion and history and unfamiliar place names to get your head around. Understanding the problem is hard enough, answers are way out of reach.
The headlines aren’t sexy, and I want to look away.
But as much as during a drought, after an earthquake, or a food crisis, there are people at the centre. Hundreds of thousands of individual people. Children, men and women who are terrified and homeless, fleeing violence with nowhere to go. They’re headed for a region already severely stretched by refugees who’ve escaped from civil war in Syria.
You don’t have to understand the politics to understand that a hungry child needs food.
If your weekend left you in a better position than the 500,000 were forced to escape, please consider donating to Christian Aid’s Iraq Crisis appeal. They’re already at work to get humanitarian help to thousands who desperately need it. For those who left with nothing, you could be the difference between despair and hope.
Pass it on.