Time to Get Real

A doctor feeds a malnourished child at a feeding center run by Doctors Without Borders in Maiduguri, Nigeria last month.

In this photo taken Monday Aug. 29, 2016, a doctor feeds a malnourished child at a feeding centre run by Doctors Without Borders in Maiduguri, Nigeria. The whimpers from skeletally thin babies too weak to cry are a harbinger of worse things to come: A quarter of the children lucky enough to make it to this emergency feeding center are dying. They are the latest victims of Boko Haram’s Islamic insurgency.


And the countdown clock is ticking.

Yep, the countdown clock is ticking. As I write this, there are 23 days, 11 hours, and X minutes until the next Presidential election. You can go to this website: http://www.270towin.com/2016-countdown-clock/ should you feel the need to keep track of the time you have left before the world implodes/explodes/does-whatever-the-fuck-it’s-gonna-do.

Need a little titillation in the interim? Go ahead, pull up MSN online and read about Hillary’s latest possible ethics violations, or The Donald’s latest over-the-top response to yet another tawdry sexual assault allegation. Or, if you prefer, scroll the headlines for Billy Bush’s possible $10,000,000 buyout from the Today Show. His lawyer says it ain’t so . . . really compelling stuff.

Boy suffering severe malnutrition at one of the Unicef nutrition clinics in Muna on outskirts of Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, north-eastern Nigeria. 30 June 2016Image from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-36831225

Maybe you’re looking for lighter fare. Today’s MSN headlines include how often you should wash your bras, Trump calling for a drug test before the next debate, and this not-to-miss headline: ‘General Hospital’: Where are they now? Or perhaps you’d prefer to read about the latest Ken Bone controversy. Yep, Ken Bone, aka That nice-debate-guy-in-a-big-red-sweater. . .

Meanwhile, as you scroll down the headlines (beer in hand), another child dies from starvation in a world a million miles away . . . actually 6000, but whose counting?

You may have noticed that headline while you were scrolling, the one about all those people starving in Nigeria. You may have even paused a moment; thought to yourself, That’s in Africa, right? Far away from here, that’s for sure. Well geez, that’s too damn bad. Hope somebody helps those folks but hey, this crazy presidential election’s important, too. What is it . . . 23 days and how many hours now? I might be missing something important and what’s this about Ken Bone and Reddit, anyway? How did I miss the THAT controversy?

Meanwhile, in a hellish place called Borno state, in a besieged country called Nigeria, another starving child is fighting for his life.

Photo Attribution: World Vision Deutschland

Photo Attribution: World Vision Deutschland

Aid experts say the humanitarian crisis caused by the seven-year conflict between the Nigerian military and Boko Haram militants has left an estimated 500,000 people homeless in northern Nigeria, the majority of whom are in urgent need of food, shelter and medical care.

Of these, 244,000 are children, and the French charity Doctors Without Borders, which has set up a network of emergency camps in the region, warns that one in five will die in the coming weeks if they do not receive urgent treatment and food supplies.


The photographs aren’t easy to look at. The stories about famine and suffering are tough as hell to read. It’s easier for us to shake our heads, say, “That’s so awful.” Easier (and far more pleasant) to keep scrolling through those mindless headlines. Easier for us to complain to each other on blogs and Twitter feeds; easier to turn on the tube and tune out the suffering somewhere else; easier to mindlessly watch our football games and our recorded episodes of The Big  Bang Theory; easier for us to check out the latest viral clips of animals behaving oddly during a full moon and epic cooking fails.

We scroll the headlines on our smart phone and tablets for proof that our privileged world is falling apart, forgetting just how lucky we are, just how good we have it here. As we eat our Cheetos and drink our bottled waters and trade our vicious barbs and lament our democratic election process, another child too weak to cry starves to death in front of heartbroken parents–a child whose only crime was being born in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Charles Dickens was right: Mankind is our business. The common welfare is our business. And when our fellow human beings on this earth suffer as those poor people suffer, they are our business. We have a responsibility to help the most vulnerable, whomever and wherever they may be.

Take a moment to consider the unfolding, epic tragedy in Nigeria: 500,000 people literally trapped in a hell not of their own making, in a country under siege from terrorists and famine. Pick up the phone or pull up the website for Doctors Without Borders and donate as much money as we can to those brave, brave souls who put their lives on the line every day, for a cause the likes of which we can’t possibly fathom, for a people whose personal suffering is a million times worse than any we will ever know.

Today, thousands upon thousands are enduring unimaginable suffering. Thousands of starving children are dying. Thousands of grieving parents can’t do anything but watch.

And the countdown clock keeps ticking. . .

2 thoughts on “Time to Get Real

    • It is an outrage, the result of which is tragedy heaped on tragedy. The plight of those people . . . I can’t fathom it. It’s like Aleppo, the utter destruction of that city and yet, thousands of people are still living there, if you can call it that. This world, I don’t know. Mr kk and I do what we can–

      Thanks for weighing in, luciesmoker.

      xo kk


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