Monday, March 8, 2010

Please, God, make it stop!

I look at my blog and think: Rebel Girl, people must be wondering how come you didn't write about the Chilean earthquake. Don't you care? Why didn't you go to Fr. Hoyos' special Mass with all the diplomatic bigwigs? Answer: Because after a long and tiring trip up to Baltimore to see Angelito in his new digs the previous day and after escuela bright and early on Sunday morning which went on and on and on, I sat at the bus stop in a catatonic daze trying to decide where to go next and talked to God. God said: "Girl, you're exhausted. Go home and go to bed before you crash completely." So, instead of church, I counseled a depressed young man who wrote in on the Renovacion Web site via e-mail and got my mother's financial papers in order for her tax preparer. And then I listened to God and took a nice, long nap.

People send me stuff constantly. Each person wants everyone else to get excited about their particular crisis and humanly, we just can't. Chile is bad, true. The March 6th death toll estimate from that disaster according to the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is 528, with hundreds of additional internally diplaced persons. Relief is coming in quickly, as the international community is getting adept at surfing the steady waves of disaster being inflicted on the planet. The more recent earthquake in Turkey -- a mere 6.0 on the Richter scale with 57 deaths so far -- barely registers on our consciousness. As for Haiti, the mind simply shuts down when confronted with the question of how that country will dispose of the rubble from its earthquake -- 30 million to 78 million cubic yards or "enough to fill the Louisiana Superdome, from playing field to roof, up to 17 times."

And what is capturing my mind and heart today is not Angelito's struggle against pancreatic cancer and the even deadlier diplomatic and health care bureaucracies, not Haiti, Chile or Turkey, but Nigeria. From the Associated Press:

The killers showed no mercy: They didn't spare women and children, or even a 4-day-old baby, from their machetes. On Monday, Nigerian women wailed in the streets as a dump truck carried dozens of bodies past burned-out homes toward a mass grave.

Rubber-gloved workers pulled ever-smaller bodies from the dump truck and tossed them into the mass grave. A crowd began singing a hymn with the refrain, "Jesus said I am the way to heaven." As the grave filled, the grieving crowd sang: "Jesus, show me the way."

At least 200 people, most of them Christians, were slaughtered on Sunday, according to residents, aid groups and journalists. The local government gave a figure more than twice that amount, but offered no casualty list or other information to substantiate it.

An Associated Press reporter counted 61 corpses, 32 of them children, being buried in the mass grave in the village of Dogo Nahawa on Monday. Other victims would be buried elsewhere. At a local morgue the bodies of children, including a diaper-clad toddler, were tangled together. One appeared to have been scalped. Others had severed hands and feet.

The horrific violence comes after sectarian killings in this region in January left more than 300 dead, most of them Muslim. Some victims were shoved into sewer pits and communal wells...

Even though the leadership of both the Catholic and the Anglican Church are urging the faithful to see this as an ethnic rather than a religious conflict, we can't help but note that the death toll from this violence is similar to the Chilean earthquake and the huge number of children victims brings to mind the reading from the Feast of the Holy Innocents: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." (Mt 2:18)

All I want to do is cover my ears and eyes and scream: "Please, God, make it stop...NOW!"

Photos: Chile, Haiti, Nigeria x2

1 comment:

  1. This past Saturday, my wife, I and another lady went to visit the elderly and sick at the local “nursing home”, as we do as often as we can on Saturday.
    While I was talking was Sarah, a blind African American woman who always loves a little bit of company, the two ladies begun visiting a gentlemen on his late 60s that was in bed.
    He was a new resident, since we have never seen him before. Went I went to the room, the chit-chart between both parties had begun.
    Who made the world? The man said? Of course the ladies were obliged to answer: God.
    Then the man went on: Then God also made the earthquakes, the floods, disease, war, etc.
    The ladies were trying to tell him that God loves him and that we should strive to get to know Him.
    I used to be a catholic the man said…then I don’t know what he said that he was now and went on: Who made the world? Etc. Etc.
    Finally my wife and Gloria said bye to him telling him that they would pray for him and left commenting that he was very confused and needed to see the light or something like that.
    The conversation got me curios and I remained a little bit more time next to him. I ask him if he was an atheist, he said no. The man looked perfectly reasonable to me. He was asking valid questions and I told him that there are many things that we don’t know and we don’t have answers for. I told him that this is the way the Universe was created and this is the way the laws of nature work (at least when it comes to cosmology and geology) and he said, but there are so many destructive forces, God made all that! I was tempted to tell him about the Hindu trinity, God the destroyer, God the Creator, etc. but I thought that this would confuse things even more. I just leveled with him and I said: Look I don’t know why things are like that, but I do believe that we humans have a way to get to know God and to get better ourselves, even there is so much imperfection and suffering in the world.
    I never try to convert or to convince anyone about things that they don’t see clearly and of which I am not sure even myself.
    Finally I shook his hand and wish him well, saying that we would visit him back.

    God make it stop! The prayer, the rosaries, the masses… God where are You? Why all this?
    Among the poor, the suffering, the victims…It would be better that You be in the heart of the perpetrators, so they would never lift a hand to harm.
    The only thing I know is that I don’t know. But I am still asking…

    PS: R.G. You are like me, the only difference is that you haven't yet covered your ears, while I had already begun putting some cotton balls inside.