Friday, April 18, 2008

Justice & Dignity

As human beings, we speak of justice. Whether to be served for a charge of domestic violence, the determination of punishment for a murderer, or in fair hearing of a local court case--we claim to value justice.

But, where was justice for Rwanda in 1994? 800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered over the span of 100 days while the UN quarreled over the definition of "genocide" and whether or not the situation in Rwanda demanded intervention. Did we think that by avoiding the label, we could in turn avoid the tragedy?

UN soldiers stood by while mass killings took place, because their orders didn't "allow" them to fire unless fired upon. The UN sent in trucks to rescue the white Europeans trapped in Rwanda, but quickly abandoned 2,500 Rwandans left at the same location to their death. All under the guise of peace.

Where is our dignity? Where is the sanctity of human life? I can't portray in words the heaviness of my heart as I remember Rwanda. No, I wasn't there. But I feel the service of injustice not only against Rwanda but against humanity.

I am by no means a political person. I don't follow the news as much as I should, and I understand it even less. But I do know that if humans are being served injustice and are being subjected to suffering by those who should be protecting them, then other humans are obligated to step in. Those who say that the US should pull out of Iraq simply because it's not our country, and not our battle, should ask themselves if they are members of the human race.

Human suffering does not allow time for diplomacy. A part of all of humanity died at Rwanda--not only the Hutu's and Tutsi's... but anyone who considers themself a member of the human race. Injustice was served to all of us. Injustice is being served to all of us at Darfur. To all of us in Iraq. To all of us in the death beds of AIDs victims. To all of us in the fight against cancer. To all of us victims of human trafficking. To all of us who are human.

Pain is not a feeling only for the less fortunate. Some of us may manage to keep it at bay, but we cannot deny the fresh stab in our hearts at the sight of another human's suffering.

Suffering cannot be an issue we avoid. We must yell it from the rooftops. We must wear it's evidence across our foreheads. We must preach it from our pulpits. We must carry it's truth in our hearts.

The reality of suffering will lead us to the greater reality of hope. And there, we will find rest for our souls.