How Much Is A Life Worth?

I’ve become increasingly worried about the food situation in West Africa as the months have past. Just last year there was a famine in the horn of Africa. Most of the world did not respond until thousands upon thousands had already been affected…or died. The media only covered the famine once it had actually reached “famine” rather than when all the warning signs were present, and when it could have made a real difference.

And now we have West Africa. In the same situation. Food shortages are reaching critical levels. Children are suffering (along with adults). And it seems that the world just does not care. Again. Richard Stearns on the World Vision blog sums up the problem:

In the news business, there’s a saying that goes, “One dead fireman in Brooklyn is worth five English bobbies, who are worth fifty Arabs, who are worth five hundred Africans.” I quoted this in my first book, The Hole in Our Gospel.

It’s understandable that we identify and sympathize with the people closest to us. We have a harder time empathizing with people who are somehow removed — whether geographically, culturally, religiously, or nationally. It’s normal.

But it’s not okay.

Eliza Naquinda and her severely malnourished son, Filipe, at the World Vision feeding center in Angola.Eliza Naquinda and her severely malnourished son, Filipe, at the World Vision feeding center in Angola. (Photo: Jonathan White/World Vision).

God cares as much for the mother in Angola as for the fireman in Brooklyn. Some 1.8 million people have been affected by a drought in the southern African country of Angola, but you won’t see news coverage of it.

Sometimes when I think about it, I feel like my heart is broken. Not just cracked, but open wide. Deep chasms of grief nestled in there with the rest of my cares and passions.

Because it’s not true….one dead fireman in Brooklyn is not worth 500 Africans. We are all equal in God’s eyes. But most of us live as if it were true. How can this be so? How can we sit back and let this happen? Again?

You can help by spreading the word. Spread the word about the drought in Africa since the media will not. Pray for those affected. And if you can, please give. Here is one possible place to give. World Vision is a very trustworthy organization, and has proven to use donations well. They are well established around the world, and have already started work in Niger, Mauritania, and Mali, three of the countries affected by this drought.

How much is a life worth? Let’s send a message to these people that they are worth just as much as any other. They are God’s precious children.



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