Sunday, August 22, 2021

When the World Is Heavy

There is so much suffering going on in the world right now. In addition to already raging crises in Ethiopia, Yemen, Xinjiang, and elsewhere, there was recently a massive earthquake in Haiti and of course the ongoing rush evacuation from Afghanistan. I'm not an expert on any of these issues or those countries, and I think a lot of harm has come from pundits and even foreign policy professionals spouting their various hot takes around the clock. I don't want to add to that noise.

It's difficult when you work in international affairs not to be affected by such events, but the influence on our lives as observers or even responders cannot possibly be compared to those whose reality it truly is. A prominent journalist I won't name posted on Instagram something I found absolutely revolting regarding their experience reporting in Afghanistan. They said it's been "extraordinary" for their "career" and boasted about the chance to "get a front row seat on history", all while promoting their own book. Unfortunately, I've heard some others in the field express ongoing events in similar terms, focusing on how working in a crisis situation will help them earn a promotion or give them something to brag about on social media. Others have expressed envy that they don't get to be on the ground in the action.

There's nothing wrong with drawing attention to world events, especially when so many lack access to reliable information. And I know I am grateful for my colleagues who have volunteered to serve and help as many people as possible, including some who have done so at great risk to themselves. But I wish more of the posts I saw with political opinions, articles of varying credibility (and some that I'm pretty sure are part of disinformation campaigns meant to sow discord among the American public), or just photos of people I know in faraway lands expressing anger or sadness included something else.

So I wanted to use this space to do two things I wish I saw more of out there in the world. First, to those who are hurting and struggling with what's happening: know that you are not alone. To those who are most directly affected, those who don't parachute into a crisis and get to parachute out months later safe and secure: I will do my best to make sure you are not forgotten. And I will do my best to listen to you first.

Second, I wanted to share some links and resources for those who want to help but don't know how. Please see a very modest list below of places where your donation could make a big difference (in no particular order):

  • Doctors without Borders: They're providing lifesaving humanitarian care around the world, including in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Haiti, and Yemen.
  • International Rescue Committee: They help refugees, displaced people, and others devastated by crises, and they just put out a major call for immediate emergency funding to support people in Afghanistan.
  • CNN Haiti Earthquake Relief: CNN vetted 33 charity organizations that are helping on the ground in Haiti right now that need support.
  • CNN Help for Afghanistan Refugees: CNN vetted 15 charity organizations that are helping refugees from Afghanistan right now that need support.
  • United Nations World Food Programme: They save and change lives through the gift of food assistance to vulnerable children and families.

Even if you don't have money to spare, I recommend reading more on the issues above and contacting your Congressional representatives to let them know what you think. Every little bit counts. Thanks for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment