No man is an Island

Back in 2000, 191 countries in the United Nations made an important decision to aim at radically improving the lives and environment of the poorest people of the world. The project was called the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs. One of these goals was to ensure that by 2015 world poverty and hunger would be halved. Three years from that target date it is clear that this Goal will not be achieved. One Billion people go to bed hungry every night — more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union combined. A third of all childhood deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are caused by hunger, and every five seconds, a child dies from hunger-related diseases.

Because of wars, corrupt unstable regimes, increased desertification etc African families are uprooted, homeless and hungry. Kenya, not a wealthy country, has been hosting refugees like these for more than 20 years. Dadaab, in the east, was originally designed to shelter 90,000 refugees. Now it is the largest Refugee Camp in the world trying to cope with almost half a million human beings.dadaab

Let us read again some familiar words of the English poet, John Donne , written in the early 17th century:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
. … any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. (Meditation XV11)

We are involved, here in Ireland, we are part of “mankind.”

May this realisation be the start of a new consciousness of our belonging not only to the entire human community, but to the entire earth community as well. We are involved and therefore, we have some responsibility. Let this year, be a year to discover some practical steps to become more involved in “mankind”, especially those unwillingly displaced, even more especially for those who have found themselves stateless in Ireland.

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