“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness …” ~~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Three of my sons and I were together a couple of times this past week. It’s been a long time. The oldest lives in São Paulo Brazil, while another is in Los Angeles, and my youngest in Provo, Utah. All are leading busy lives. Going to school, working jobs, building empires.
During my last visit with just my son Matt, before he returned to São Paulo on Saturday, we talked about how people believe we live in the worse of times. Blame it on the media we agreed. With modern technology, news stories, photos and videos from any part of the world comes to us in an instant and on devices we carry in our pockets. It’s not like it was when I was growing up. In those days, there was but a single daily newscast from the television networks, then just ABC, CBS or NBC. Local broadcast news was just as sparse and none of them more than half-an-hour. Radio was more in-depth, but there were no pictures! That was it for broadcasting, no smartphones, no alerts, no nothing! Add the daily newspapers, where it was believed the most informed would get their fill of current events. The Washington Post, The Evening Star were thick dailies and hugely powerful companies. That was then, this is now.
What we knew about the world was limited and not very timely. The world seemed a much larger place and we were insulated from its harsh realities, while now we have become desensitized to the same. No one could have imagined what we were in-store for. Certainly our grandparents lived in simpler times, but in reality we aren’t living in the worse of them. However, with the dissemination of what goes on around us so readily available and graphic, we often think otherwise.
There’s always been war, poverty, death, haves and have-nots. Turmoil, terrorism and genocide have existed for centuries. Evil has been with us from the beginning. The latest incarnation, the new al Qaeda rebranded, is The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Its purpose is the establishment of an Islamic state imposing Sharia law wherever it has control. Boys and girls are separated at school; women must wear a full veil in public. Music is banned, the fast is enforced during Ramadan. Sharia law is all-encompassing and controls every aspect of life, religious and otherwise. Its Sharia courts dispense brutal and final justice. If you’re not of their faith you either convert to Islam, denouncing all other beliefs, or you die by the sword. Yes, it’s terrorism, but the war is over religion.
This photo is nothing compared to other images of atrocities as Christians are being brutally murdered in Mosul, Iraq. This child, who was photographed in the last few days, waits to be executed by militants of the cowardly, despicable ISIS. Images like this are being used to terrorize and to glorify these barbarians and their reign of terror against the unarmed and defenseless. When I look at this photo I am deeply moved. It’s extremely disturbing. I think of my own children, I think about my future grandchildren. My heart aches for these helpless people. I want to cry, I can’t even imagine!
The following quote accompanies one of the photos at this link. It’s the image of a headless little girl in a dress and white stockings. She could be anyone’s precious daughter, sister, granddaughter. (Go ahead and look if you think you have the stomach to).
“All humanity owes a debt to this baby girl, to find her murderers and bring them to justice, dead or alive. That the nations of the world and its citizens sit complacent is the greatest embarrassment to civilization and should be the source of deep shame to all…. We have a moral imperative to act.”
Yes, it’s true, we can’t police the world, but I ask: If the bodies of headless, innocent children isn’t enough to arouse us and our country’s leaders into saying, “Enough is enough, we must do something!” then what is?
Enjoy your Monday. Take nothing for granted. Hug your family and thank God for all your many blessings.