Bob Herbert, in the NY Times, wrote this week of a new report on the continuing human catastrophe in Darfur. In describing why he reported on what, to some, is old news, he reminded us “about the dangers inherent in indifference to the suffering of others. Stories of atrocities on the scale of those coming out of Darfur cannot be told too often.”
This story is of particular interest to me, as one of the women he quotes is an online friend of mine, a fellow adoptive parent. She is a physician who traveled last fall to a refugee camp in Chad. The women she met there and the atrocities they continue to survive have left an indelible mark upon her. Her compassion knows no bounds, and yet, like many who have seen suffering of this magnitude, she has little patience for the more trivial frustrations we all endure.
She spent last week, for instance, quarantined in her home with one of her daughters when they both came down with swine flu, and her aggravation was palpable, right through the Internet. Not that she was quarantined; as a physician – she knows the danger of rampant contagions – but I would guess because she was quarantined in her comfy home, snuggled with her daughter amongst the comforters and the pillows with soups and teas and movies and family members to wait on them. While elsewhere in the world, suffering of which she has firsthand, intimate knowledge goes on unmitigated. The women in these camps continue to endure hunger and rape and infection and heat and unbearable loneliness, and use up their spirits protecting their children.
So lest we forget, my friend and her colleagues are working to make sure these voices are heard. By keeping the stories of these courageous Darfuri women and their stories alive, perhaps ultimately, they can be the impetus of real change.