Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"An Imperfect Offering"

Well I’m halfway through “An Imperfect Offering” by James Orbinski. He has worked with MSF (Doctors without Borders) in Somalia, Afghanistan, Rwanda and many other countries. Books like this are always painful for me to read. I let my emotions feel the stories that are told. Also, they always bring so many questions to my mind, and they always fuel my desire to DO something. Not that I feel like I can do a lot, but I’m a doer by nature and often long to help those less fortunate that I am.

I just finished reading the section of Orbinski’s book devoted to his time in Rwanda during the genocide…my mind just goes so many places. How is humanity capable of such evil? What kind of deep seeded fear and hatred would drive people to be so rationally cruel? Why did nations comfortably sit back and debate the term “genocide” while thousands were being slaughtered?

Why is it that something like this would never happen in Canada? Many would say it’s because we are a “civilized” society brought up under the rule of law. We are, for the most part, tolerant of other peoples’ beliefs and respectful of our leaders and political system. Tribal hatreds do not exist in Canada as they do in many African countries. The intricacies of clans and sub-clans, and the divides therein, are completely foreign to us. Our people were not kidnapped and sold into slavery by colonial powers. Also we are not a country devastated by poverty. So are these the things that fuel genocide? And if so, how can the roots of it be stopped before they are even planted? Is this even possible? I guess some would say it has to begin in the education system, so children and young adults can learn that racism, hatred and killing are not an answer. But who is going to teach them? And who is going to teach those are can’t afford to attend school? Is there a generation of Africans ready and willing to take up the cause of educating their countries’ children? Because I believe it has to come from within. It is all well and good for Westerners to go to Africa to offer aid. But without those born and raised on its soil desiring change, how will it ever come about?

These are just some of my jumbled thoughts. I could go on…

But on a lighter note. I bought this great piece of art from an amazing photographer on etsy. Although it feels a bit strange sharing this after what I just wrote. And ironically the piece is titled, "The evil that men do"

Maurice: So many dichotomies in this life…


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