Monday, February 04, 2008


Saturday I found myself sitting in an auditorum at Colorado College looking at horrific images flashing across a screen. Tears started streaming down my face and I was so moved that I didn't even bother to brush them away.

Some friends and I went to watch "The Devil Came on Horseback" an independent film regaring the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. It's one thing to see fake gory violence, it's another to see an image of a child who was burned to death. I never cry when I see movies and usually never cry in general. So why was I so moved by this?

It's because it's injustice. It's wrong. When we as people are not moved by horrific images, there is something wrong with our society.

How can we see injustice and not act against it? If we fail to act, essentially we are like the German citizens of the 1930's who knew about the concentration camps and did nothing.

In the past I would hear about programs such as Displace Me or even (Red), but I never bothered to do anything about it. In fact, I criticized the programs and even the people who would participate in them citing that the programs were not sustainable, poorly run, etc. I would get on my high horse using example after example of programs that essentially hurt the people groups that the NGO's were trying to help. **most of these examples were pulled from "A Bed for the Night"

Wow. How much a view can change after traveling to a 2nd world country and coming face to face with the problems that you have been critiquing from the cushy chairs of a bohemian coffee shop.

You know, even though a program or solutions to a problem are not ideal, at least it's something. It might not be sustainable, but it works for the here and now. (And if any of you know me, you would realize that this idea flies in the face of all my financial and economic education).

So, I know the idea going through your mind is "What's Jamie going to do about it?"

I'm going to write letters to my Senators and Congressman, I'm going to become more and better informed. I'm going to write to the President.

P.s. And don't worry. I'm not going to go on the "Free Tibet" campaign....yet.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Part of the problem is that people have become so desensitized to human suffering. I've heard about what's going on in Darfur, but it's hard to grasp sometimes because life is so comfortable here. The thought of genocide of starvation is alien because people in North America want for only material things. Even our poor really aren't that poor.

What hit me was living in Campeche. I was within a stones throw from a slum, and one day I got on the wrong bus and had to walk home from there. Seeing how people lived in improvised houses with dirt floors, how the kids seemed so happy regardless, made me realize that materials items don't really matter. This is a big source of contention between Marco and I; he's very materialistic, having grown up rich in Tijuana, and I'm not. He would never think of buying second hand clothing, but I do.

And despite money worries, I still feel very lucky in life. I don't have to worry about somebody breaking into my home and hacking me to piece because of my ethnic identity, and I have food in my cupboards. What more should I ask for?