Ever visit the ER? Only on a few occasions have I been allowed into the ER even though I am a pastor. My brother Paul completed the chaplain program at a hospital in OKC a number of years ago. Paul and blood are like oil and water. I have often wondered just how he would handle the cuts, scrapes and bruises of his children. He appears to manage.
At any rate, he told me of his first on-call shift. It seems an accident left a man clinging to life. The call went out for the chaplain which meant Paul would get up in the early morning hours, don his chaplain attire and head to the ER. Once there, the sight hit him hard. One of the nurses looked over and saw Paul nearly faint at the sight of it all. She sent him to a vacant room and told him to lie down. Feeling very guilty for the overwhelming sense of the grizzly, he got up to see how he could help. One more look at him and the nurse told him they would get him were he needed; and go lay back down. The ER is not for the faint of heart; nor weak of stomach.
Reading accounts of the situation in Darfur is not for the faint either. To this point news of the genocide has been left for the person to scour online resources and an occasional newspaper piece – not much on the evening news. My daughter Kimberly sent me a link to a story at MSN.
The startling fact, according to the piece,
The three network evening newscasts devoted less than a combined 10 minutes so far this year to the political and ethnic conflict that has killed at least 180,000 and driven 2 million more from their homes in the western Sudan province since 2003.
According to Jim Wallis in a Sojourner’s piece, “The Darfur Imperative”, the numbers in the MSN story although significant may not be as compelling,
Beyond all the important things that we are doing, there is one thing that we all must now do: stop the genocide in Darfur. For some time now, the world has known the facts of Darfur: up to 450,000 people dead and nearly 3 million displaced – black citizens (mostly Muslims) of the western region of Sudan are being daily attacked, raped, and massacred by marauding militias armed and supported by the country’s Arab-dominated government in Khartoum. But knowing the facts hasn’t changed them on the ground. Thousands more die each week of murder, hunger, and disease and the death toll could reach to the millions if the pillage of Darfur is not stopped soon.
Regardless of the exactness of the facts and figures, Darfur is in the ER, and on ER tomorrow evening. The reality that in four full months of nightly news this year we cannot muster 10 minutes of airtime devoted to this human atrocity is without question the kind of indifference about which Elie Wiesel spoke of in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. We should be ashamed of, to borrow a Niel Postman line, “amusing ourselves to death.” At least now with the move to “primetime” Darfur may finally get some much needed attention and may the outcry be great. I fear it will be lost in the ongoing saga that is character development in these shows.