Thought for the Month 6th March 2022
It’s said that one of the first casualties of War is truth and I think we have seen considerable evidence of that in recent weeks. What we believe is true is, to a large extent, influenced by what we are fed in the media – as witnessed by the reactions of some in Russia to its state media propaganda. But, away from blatant lies and deliberate misinformation, there is, one truth that cannot be denied or ignored, that is the humanitarian tragedies that are unfolding before our eyes – and not just in the Ukraine, but Afghanistan and Syria as well to name but two. Regardless of your political persuasion or perceptions, the human cost is shocking and those who have lived through such human tragedy must despair that it still happens today.
My first thought as I came to write this was, are we going to become ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ fatigued, again? Yes, it’s true almost everyone you speak to will acknowledge how terrible the situation is in many areas of the world. We wring our hands and make our ‘Armchair Politician’ statements, often with little or no understanding of the complexities of the situation whether historical, cultural, political…… and then five minutes later we go back to our own lives with little more thought and even less action.
I honestly do not think it’s because people don’t care, they do, many will have shed tears over what is happening in the world and be genuinely concerned, it’s just that with modern media, wall to wall news, instant access to what is happening in the world through TV, radio and the internet, everything becomes overwhelming and as individuals we can feel paralysed, not knowing what to do, so we push it away.
Right now outrage, concern sympathy, compassion are evident in abundance (as they should be) but (yes I always have a but) if Vladimir Putin were to pull his troops back right this second and immediately be replaced by a kinder more benevolent and just leader, the events in the Ukraine would disappear from our screens and probably by replaced by some salacious gossip that makes good headlines and sells papers but has little or no benefit to society, exactly as happened with Afghanistan, Syria and countless other social concerns. While all this happens, the aftermath of recent events will continue for a generation or more, the humanitarian crisis will continue for years. And let’s not forget the countless innocent Russians who want no part of this dreadful war, many of them suffering for their views, even imprisoned.
Those seeking to rebuild, to restore normality, to reconcile with neighbours, all need to be in it for the long haul. I wonder if leaders, nations and their citizens will be in it for the long haul too, or will it drift into the background leaving those in the front line to get on with it?
My point here is that when love and compassion run dry, so does hope with the result that the cycle starts all over again. With love and compassion comes hope, and with hope comes healing.
As I said above, not knowing how we as individuals can help is a major problem. We can’t all just pack our bags and jump on plane to go to the front line. Apart from the fact that wheels need to be kept turning at home, to have real effect on the ground takes great skill, resources, time and much more – including courage. Thankfully there are organisations who have people with such skill, courage and maybe some resources but these usually cost money. Maybe you have skills and resources you can offer, most of us can afford at least a few pounds in financial support. These organisations need support. Some agencies have targeted appeals for specific items that are urgently needed, things we might not think of that we can easily purchase for onward transportation, this is the case for Ukraine right now (See below) and never underestimate the power of prayer. We can all do something.
Just two final quick thoughts
Firstly, I believe our reactions and responses to the many injustices, tragedies and humanitarian crises of today will influence the reaction and response of future generations to future crises. What message are we going to leave those future generations?
Secondly, we are heading into the season of lent leading us to Easter. I have often quoted the title of a book by Anthony Campolo at Easter ‘That was Friday but Sunday’s coming’ in it he quotes his pastor who preached “… it was Friday and my Jesus was dead on a tree. But that was Friday, and Sunday’s comin’!” He continued in this vein until the end of the sermon. For Ukraine and its people it’s Friday. Let’s pray that Sunday comes very soon and let’s also remember that on Easter Sunday the work of Jesus on earth was done, but the work of the church had only just started!
Heavenly Father, in this world full of conflict
We pray for peace among nations and their people.
We pray for victims in Ukraine and beyond.
Displaced, homeless, injured and afraid.
Those who have lost loved ones,
Lives are shattered
That can never be the same.
We pray too for the innocent people
Who are demonised
Because of the actions of others.
For those working to bring relief, security
And hope to troubled communities,
Guide them in all they do
And keep them safe we pray.
Give the leaders of all nations,
Wisdom in the decisions they make
May they seek Your justice,
Peace and reconciliation.
We ask it all in Jesus name. Amen.
Aid for Ukraine
I have been contacted by Roxwell resident Anna Adams who is a contact for Essex Charity Felsted Aid for Deprived Children (uk-aid.org) who are now collecting for Ukraine refugees as they cross the border. This established charity was featured on BBC LookEast last night and tonight and has a warehouse at Leaden Roding. She sends the following message:
Following Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine, a local humanitarian charity, UK-AID (uk-aid.org) have had an unprecedented response to their aid appeal. They are arranging three 18 tonne lorries to transport the much-needed aid to Ukrainian refugees who have crossed the Moldovan border at Palanca, Tudora and Otaci. However, more is still needed.
Items being collected
- new underwear (women and children)
- washing powder/ bottled washing liquid (no capsules)
- shower gel
- new or nearly new bedding
- nappies/baby wipes
- ladies’ sanitary products
- new towels
They are not currently asking for either clothing or soap.
In Roxwell leave inside the church on the right near the font – by Friday 11th March please. Church unlocked between 9.00am and 5.00pm.
They are also asking for cash donations to help with the transportation costs. Payments can be made to Felsted Aid for Deprived Children via Santander:
Sort Code: 09-01-53
Account number: 71315484
For details of other organisations and areas of need it’s also worth looking at the Disaster Emergencies Committee website www.dec.org.uk