Posts tagged ‘Humanitarian Crisis’

Venezuela’s Humanitarian Crisis

File:Homelessness in Venezuela.jpg

Credit: Wikipedia

Venezuela is in crisis.  Nicolás Maduro, the nation’s president, stands accused of all sorts of heinous crimes against humanity.  Luis Almagro, writing for the Washington Post, exposes some gruesome examples, including:

…subjecting opposition demonstrators such as Echenagusia Guzmán to electric shocks, beating them with nightsticks, kicks and fists and burning them with cigarettes. And [the Maduro regime will] continue to douse young men such as 18-year-old Marco Cello with gasoline, threatening to burn him, or fracture the skull of others such as Jorge León, beating him with rifle butts and helmets.

This is disgusting.  But it is also only just the beginning.  Mr. Maduro’s government stands accused of murdering some 8,290 people between 2015 and 2017.  His penchant for corrupt governance has turned what was one of Latin America’s richest countries into an economic and humanitarian disaster.

Recently, however, the heat has been turned up on Mr. Maduro.  Opposition leader Juan Guaidó is gaining political traction among the Venezuelan people and is now recognized as the interim president of Venezuela by the U.S.  Still, Mr. Guaidó’s path to power is anything but certain.  When the U.S. attempted to send some much needed aid to this desperately impoverished country, Venezuela’s neighbor, Colombia, stepped in to prevent it from reaching its desired destination, fearing a messy clash at the border between supporters of Mr. Guaidó, who were delivering the aid, and supporters of Mr. Maduro, who oppose all U.S. intervention.

In these types of situations, there are never any perfect – or, many times, even great – options.  Unfortunately, this reality is often used as a justification for a failure to act against morally abhorrent realities in the name of a cynical realpolitik.

Genocide and starvation are simply not acceptable status quos – not only because they destabilize whole regions by creating floods of refugees, but because genocide and starvation are objectively and grossly immoral.  Period.

Yes, other nations must think and carefully strategize before attempting to exert influence in a situation like Venezuela’s.  But thinking cannot become a conveniently indefinite buffer against acting.  Something has to change.  Lives are at stake.

For us in the general public, perhaps the first step is simply paying attention.  Our news cycles are dominated by domestic affairs – soap operatic machinations of a deeply divided Washington D.C.  Special counsels, special investigations, salacious testimonies, presidential tweets, executive orders, and border walls fill our headlines.  International crises often register only as a blip on our consciences, if at all.  But they should and they must.

In Venezuela, people are needlessly dying.  And as Christians, if there’s anything we should want to stand up to, it’s death.

March 11, 2019 at 4:15 am 3 comments

The Biggest Humanitarian Crisis In The World

36535686993_b6f67725e2_k

Credit: USAID

Katherine Zimmerman, a Middle East expert, has called it the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.  In 2014, war broke out in the poverty-stricken nation of Yemen when Iranian-backed rebels stormed and occupied Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa.  Since then, a Saudi-led coalition, along with the Yemeni government, has been trying to take back the city.  Over 10,000 people have died, half of which have been civilians, as a direct result of the fighting.  Indirect casualties are even higher.  Save the Children reports that 130 children are dying every day in Yemen.  Ms. Zimmerman fears that conditions in the country will continue to deteriorate, explaining, “As the conflict goes on, the people are suffering, and it’s to the point now where we’re looking at a cholera epidemic, and massive risk of famine.”

Sadly, this crisis, half a world away, has been regularly eclipsed by a steady stream of riveting domestic intrigue.  But the cries of these victims of war deserve our listening ears and concerned hearts.

One of the most common prayers in the Bible, especially in the Psalms, is that the Lord would hear the cries of the oppressed:

  • “Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray.” (Psalm 5:2)
  • “Hear my cry for mercy as I call to You for help, as I lift up my hands toward Your Most Holy Place.” (Psalm 28:2)
  • “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.” (Psalm 61:1)

The glorious promise is that the Lord does hear the cries of the oppressed:

  • “The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.” (Psalm 6:9)
  • “Praise be to the LORD, for He has heard my cry for mercy.” (Psalm 28:6)
  • “I love the LORD, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy.” (Psalm 116:1)

If the Lord hears the cries of the downtrodden, we should too.  So please join me in lending your prayers to the cries of the Yemenis, asking God to bring this crisis to an end.  Pray also that famine and disease would not overtake this land.

In a world where our news cycles regularly revolve around the powerful, it can be all too easy to forget about those on the margins of our societies.  The gospel, however, reminds us that we worship a God who marginalized Himself by being born into a poor village called Bethlehem and growing up as a poor carpenter from Nazareth only to become a poor rabbi who was executed by His enemies on a cross.  Jesus lived His life as a marginalized man.  This man on the margins, however, has promised to use His very marginalization on the cross to draw all people to Himself (cf. John 12:32).  This man on the margins has turned out to be nothing less than the very center of history.

Jesus’ method of marginalization should most certainly inform our mission of reaching and loving the world for Him and in Him.  So, let’s keep our peripheral vision peeled to see those others miss and love those our world overlooks.  For this is what Jesus has done with us.

August 6, 2018 at 5:15 am Leave a comment


Follow Zach

Enter your email address to subscribe to Pastor Zach's blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,136 other followers


%d bloggers like this: