Thursday, May 12, 2005

You can be great...

Most people know that my life mission is to end world poverty. Last year, when I took a first year sociology paper, I not only discovered my major, I also discovered my life's great passion. I heard for the first time how poverty is not some natural disaster, but the disgusting product of greed, and the imbalance of power. I heard the figures, I learned the theory, the history. I was, in some way, traumatized. Then, shortly after I went to Parachute, and listened to the World Vision speakers, especially Princess Zulu who has the aids virus.

I want to tell you that my heart was broken, and not by human hands.

Excerpts from Bono's speech to the Labour Party in Britain:

"...justice is a tougher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment.
Because there's no way we can look at Africa- a continent bursting into flames - and if we're honest, conclude that it would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else. Anywhere else. Certainly not here. In Europe. Or America. Or Australia, or Canada.
There's just no chance.

...We are the first generation that can look extreme and stupid poverty in the eye, look across the water to Africa and elsewhere and say this and mean it: we have the cash,we have the drugs,we have the science -- but do we have the will? Do we have the will to make poverty history? Some say we can't afford to. I say we can't afford not to".

His speech is fantastic. Read it, it is fantastic. I have a deep fear that my grandchildren will not look kindly on my generation, when they learn at school that:

30,000 (real) children die every day from preventable poverty-related causes;
800 million (real) people suffer from hunger; and
1.2 billion (real) people live on less than US$1 a day.

And like I said, this is not some natural disaster - they pay with their lives for our luxuries. That sounds like I am being melodramatic, but actually, it is the truth. If you have any money in your pocket, or your wallet, or your bank account - you are richer than 92% of the worlds population. Sickened? I am.

Nelson Mandela to finish:

"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings...

Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. Of course the task will not be easy. But not to do this would be a crime against humanity, against which I ask all humanity now to rise up. Make Poverty History in 2005. Make History in 2005. Then we can all stand with our heads held high".

Inspired? I am. If so, head to the World Vision site and see what YOU can do.


Elizabeth said...

Dearest Sharyn
It takes this kind of inconsolable passion to make momentous changes. The journey may well tear your emotions apart but go for it kid. It is better to travel the journey following your passion than to sit in your rocking chair when you are old wrestling with the grief that comes from "If only I had....." God be with you precious Shaz as you pursue this vision.

Lynne said...

It struck me when the tsunami hit. Yeah it was a huge disaster and it is great that it moved us to give and care and pray, but I had to contrast it with the AIDS epidemic in Africa and think why are we not doing SO MUCH MORE to help in that situation? Why do we only respond when tourist beaches are engulfed by waves, in places we have heard of or been do? How can we enthuse ourselves and others to be involved in the everyday disasters that are in our world. And then i think about myself and wonder what I am actually doing at the moment...

Sharyn said...

Oh I think about that all the time. I have such a guilt problem. And then I think, I shouldn't feel guilty and try to rationalise it - but God says, do you really want to feel okay about this? Bono's speech is so good. The only way I can cope is by promising myself I WILL do something, when I finish Uni