Tag Archives: starvation

Sticks and Stones

A child lies screaming in an improvised tent in a refugee compound. Her arms and legs are sticks, the femur and tibia bones on display for any to see.  The skin on her head is etched to her skull, no cheeks or even flesh on the lips, dysentery, and measles having stolen away her health.  She cries for food, her mother attempts to feed her from shrunken breasts.  The child was healthy once, flesh full.  Her mother says she thinks the worst is over.  The girl has stopped loosing weight. Perhaps there is hope, but it seems unlikely.

In Gaza, Palestinians look like makeshift Davids, slingshotting stones at the Goliath Israeli troops with powerful weapons.  Hurling their bodies at the border wall, thinking themselves as heroes trying to take back land they haven’t owned since 1948.  Even in mass, they haven’t a chance to overwhelm such well armed and trained enemies. The Israelis’ tenaciously holding on to land bequeathed them after the Holocaust.

In Syria, the White Hats cast rubble aside looking for survivors and bodies in the remains of what was once homes and shops.  Their heroism speaks for itself.  They sacrifice for the sake of others, bright spots of hope in the ruins of war.

The Middle East is by no means isolated in their violence.  It spreads throughout the World, sometimes insidiously, sometimes with brutal force. Our own country is filled with terrorist activities – our school children bearing the brunt of wounded souls’ rage.  I know God gave us free will but what type of World is this when the mightiest beings are intent on destroying both their own races and what others might call lesser beings.

The child’s screams echo in my ears, warning me that war and horror can be lurking close by.

The Other Woman

Every night I pray for her.
In my mind’s eye
I so clearly see her.
My platitudes ill advised,
meaningless . . .

How can I justify our God’s plan?
Why should I be free of need
and she have anything but?

I know it’s stereotyping
but her swollen belly children
deserve an accounting.

Soon she will be gone –
disease stealing her strength away.
They will be orphans -alone –
under a tattered canopy,
thrust into begging to survive.

Just one more parent gone,
one more family destroyed
one more ten year old
parenting a large brood
under the blazing sun.

Why she – why me –
I who have nothing to give,
intimately knows every wrinkle
worn of care . . .

But I am here
babbling words to our Father
as she dies bit by bit
under the African sun
in a refugee camp
alone . . .

Thoughts on Mao and Deng


While reading about the exploits of Mao, and then again Deng Xiaoping, my mouth kept dropping open in sheer disbelief. It is hard to believe someone could be as deranged as either of these men and not get stopped. Totalitarianism, as the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience states, happens when a “government forcibly suppresses political, religious, or social belief” other than its own. But this was not suppression against other people, as Mao did in Tibet, this was against his own people.

The figures are staggering. In the Epoch Times article of July 24, 2007, David Kilgour, reported that 70 million civilians were killed during peace times, more than any leader of the 20th century. Most of us know about Mao’s brutality toward Tibetans . . . at one time over half of all males were in forced labor camps, dying from the work and starvation.

What we may not know about are the atrocities he conducted on his own people. I know there is evil in the world – I just didn’t know it could be that bad, or that he would do this to his own, cutting his nose off to spite his face. Thirty five million Chinese died from starvation during Mao’s “Great Leap Forward initiative. The Laogai concentration camps were spread across China.

This sociopath knew what he was doing was horrible because he hid the extent of it from both the Chinese and the outside world. Then, in 1975, during a private conversation, Mao admitted that China was the poorest country. When Mao died and Deng Xiaoping took control, his nightmarish control was just as bad. Of course. there is a bit of comic relief, Newsweek, in an article by Matthew Philips, reported that China has banned the act of reincarnation except by a strict path detailed by the State Administration for Religious Affairs. Its end result is to crack a wedge between Tibet and the Dalai Lama.

The mother in me wants to go there, from one person to the next, and apologize for not knowing, for not acting, for not healing. I hope I never forget that.

If Confucius could fast forward to see the country he was so instrumental in creating, what would he think? His craft was in creating order out of chaos, and he did it brilliantly. He provided a form and structure that could regulate society, that both individuals and governments could adhere to.

Over the past 60 years, the combined efforts of Mao Tse-tung and then Deng Xaiping have laid the country bare, destroying both the people and the land. Both were sociopaths on a grand scale.

Mao set out to conquer Tibet through the annihilation of the people, forcing
censorship and servitude. But that was another country which doesn’t make what he did right but it is somewhat understandable. What is much harder to understand were his actions against the people he ruled.

Confucius provided rituals and traditions that served as stepping stones to understanding. Mao and Deng were like Stage 5 hurricanes, destroying all in their wake. Confucius might have bowed his head in shame and disbelief.