Sometimes, wars are justified. As we watch from a distance, we often take sides.
Other times, there is uproar against the fighting and the media is filled with calls for a cessation of hostilities. Whatever the approach in our understanding of war, the sad fact is that when countries fight each other or amongst themselves (in the case of civil wars) there are always devastating repercussions.
Children die, parents die, brothers and sisters lose their siblings. Many are left without a place to call home. Jobs are lost and livelihoods are snatched from eager hands that only want to earn a living. Injuries are often fatal; many are left maimed and with deep emotional scars that almost never heal.
So for me, the question usually is, why would anyone consider starting a war for any reason? I still don’t have an answer, and I am sure the answer is complicated. Meanwhile, gun and artillery battles rage on around the world.
Since March 2011, close to 5 million children have been affected by the war in Syria; more than 1 million are currently living as refugees in neighboring countries.
The 5 million affected are living in dire situations.The destruction of infrastructure, in the past two years, in cities like Homs is overwhelming. It will take a long time to re-build what has been destroyed.
In the unstable Central African Republic [CAR], close to 1 million people are internally displaced. Around the capital city, Bangui, around 500,000 are said to have fled their homes due to the fighting. About 60 percent of these are children.
The fighting this time is largely based on religion. CAR is endowed with massive untouched rain forests and has some of highest densities of lowland gorillas and forest elephants in Africa. Now, the fighting is driving this country to the edge.
Everyone had high hopes that South Sudan was on the mend. In one month of fighting, close to half a million people have been forced out from places they call home.
How devastating is that? More than 1,000 people are said to have lost their lives in the recent fighting.
I was in South Sudan six months ago. There were no indications that things would deteriorate as fast as they did. The usual friendly South Sudanese went about their business, working hard in attempt to better their lives and rebuild
Food for the Hungry (FH) continued to work in towns as well as very remote areas to ensure every boy and girl had a chance to get an education; a vital building block to great economies.
During this visit, I met a young girl called Aker. Aker comes from a family of five. Her family was affected by the previous war. “My younger brother is still in Kakuma Refugee camp,” she said. “When we came back home, we learned under trees, and then FH came here and built this school. I have a future now because I can continue my studies. I even encourage others to come to school rather than be married off while still very young,” she adds.
Stories like Akers gave me hope that South Sudan the future will have a generation of men and women who will make use of the immense wealth of this country and set it on the path to development.
Even though the current fighting is a setback I remain hopeful. I am hoping that the guns will go silent soon, not only in South Sudan but also around the world. I still don’t know why we have to fight, but I know this for certain: Love is the answer.
What we need is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at it’s best is love implementing the demands of justice and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” Excerpt from the sermon, “Where do we go from here?” by Martin Luther King Jr. on August 16, 1967.