Saturday, July 07, 2007

What Are We Doing To Each Other?

An injured Lebanese boy seeks comfort from his mother in the picture on my wall above my computer. He leans over his mother; both of them covered in blood. Her hands reaching up trying to comfort the boy’s cries. An Israeli rocket hit their van as they fled through the coastal city of Tyre in southern Lebanon.

As a currently childless woman, I can not help but fear ever being in position of fright and helplessness at the actions of other people and their effect on my future children. Should I dare ever bring another human being into this hurtful world?

-A 3-year-old boy died in Chinese hospital after ingesting pesticides and was denied medical care until his grandfather could pay for the treatment. The boy died after the grandfather left to raise money.

-Mukhtar Mai, 4 years ago, was gang-raped by four men in her village in Pakistan to punish her brother for an offense they believed he committed. Her honor destroyed, she was expected by her community and even her own family to kill herself in shame.

-Formerly ChevronTexaco dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into the soil and water of a previously pristine section of the Amazon rain forest. Too poor to move, parents have watched their children play and their livestock feed in areas contaminated with these hazard wastes. Rene Arevalo who lived near a separation plant that was once operated by a Texaco subsidiary and lives with his five children drink contaminated water… “What else can we do?”

-Ayaan Hirsi Ali had her genitals cut out when she was 5-years-old. Her clitoris and labia were carved out and the whole area was sewn up so that a thick band of tissue forms a chastity belt made of her own scarred-flesh. “What were we being kept pure from? Somebody owned us. What was between our legs was not mine to give. I was branded.” (Infidel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali)

-Kazakhstan, Sept 2006, a government official confirmed that 55 children had contracted the H.I.V. virus through contaminated blood or used needles at a hospital.

-On an icy February morning 19 years ago on a Bronx street, Alison Dolan was left in a Bud Light box in a filthy alley. The plight of babies who are abandoned in the U.S.-left in dumpsters or gas station bathrooms or vacant lots.

-171 million children throughout the world work in hazardous conditions or with dangerous machinery.

-In less than a decade, an estimated four million people have died in the Congo, mostly of hunger and disease caused by fighting. It has been the deadliest conflict since World War II, with more than 1,000 people still dying each day. (“In Congo, Hunger and Disease Erode Democracy”, New York Times, 6/30/2006)

-88,345 homeless people live in Los Angeles and the surrounding communities. Close your eyes, and they disappear. Better yet, tell them to get a job!

-Rebecca Riley, 4-years-old dies of a drug overdose after being prescribed medication for ADHD and bipolar disorder since age 2 ½. She was 2 ½…yes, it is called ‘terrible twos’ for a reason. Nothing new but hey, pharmaceutical companies can make money and doctors kickbacks from such diagnosis’s.

-After bouts of hypertension and diabetes, Mary Rose Derks, a 65-year-old widow, scrimped money out of her grocery fund for an insurance policy that promised to pay eventually for a room in an assistant living home. After paying for the insurance, now 81, has yet to receive a penny from the Conseco Insurance while her family has paid around $70,000 in care.

All blips in the morning newspaper…if you even get one that covers such events. Wash down that bagel with your Starbucks, put your head back in the game and remember, who makes the most money wins!

Where has our compassion for one another gone?


Anonymous said...

Geiss - very powerful rant. It makes me cringe about all those horrible things you mentioned, especially about the girl who was raped and expected to commit suicide. That is so heartbreaking. As usual, extremely well written. Sorry it took me this long to comment, I know you love to have feedback.


Anonymous said...

Jen...very touching rant. Keep up the good work. Its samey same on this side of the world too. I am glad there are still people like you who atleast feels and thinks.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jenn,

I read your rant the other day and was meaning to reach out back to someday you could be a mother to be.

As a father to be, ok the cat is out the bag now, a father to be I say yes, something terrible might happen to the one you raise and love...

However, something truly wonderful may happen as well. Like, maybe he or she will become a leader in the effort to solve all the problems you listed.

Far fetched...maybe...but maybe not.

Besides, there is nothing like bringing a life into this world...nothing at all.

I would have to say, having a person like you in this world makes it a better don't stop there! Someday, you'll be able to share your wonderful personality, charm and beauty with one of your own and mold them into good person too!

So go forward and be fruitful!

Best wishes!

Daddy Dan

Alison said...

Dear Jenn,

I stumbled across your rant last summer and wanted to comment, but I couldn't quite find the words to say.

Now, a tad older (and I'd like to think wiser), I've realized that although your words may be "hard" and somewhat controversial at times, they are absolutely necessary... and very welcomed.

It is my sincerest hope that your work continues to get published, as I believe it has a positive impact on all of us. It has been especially powerful to me-- for I am Alison, the woman who was abandoned as a newborn in the Bronx-- and I am glad that your rants bring these issues to light.

All the best,