“The Syrian civil war has dragged on for four years now, taking almost 200,000 lives, without serious efforts to stop the bombings”, writes Nicholas Kristof in today’s NY Times. Personally, for the past several years, I have watched this circumstance, doing very little, thinking much, and intellectualizing the proxy war between nation states, without enough concern for the precious souls of those suffering. Please God, forgive me, for just waking up.
Mr. Kristof references Aylan Kurdi’s tragic death which “reflected a systematic failure of world leadership, from Arab capitals to European ones, from Moscow to Washington”, noting that “this failure occurred at three levels:
- The Syrian war, now four years in duration, has claimed +200,000 lives.
- The world has shrugged as this humanitarian crisis has cried out: “United Nations aid requests for Syrian refugees are only 41 percent funded, and the World Food Program was recently forced to slash its food allocation for refugees in Lebanon to just $13.50 per person a month”.
- “Driven by xenophobia and demagogy”, many have shunned the refugees, or wondered, in silence, what we can do to help them.
“António Guterres, the head of the U.N. refugee agency, said the crisis was in part “a failure of leadership worldwide”, noting that “children like Aylan are changing attitudes and that perhaps“compassion is winning over fear”.
To read ‘Refugees Who Could Be Us’ in today’s New York Times, click here.
The Tide of Support Can Turn With Our Help
Alison Smale of the New York Times in ‘Pope Calls on All of Europe’s Catholics to House Refugees‘ highlights how “Pope Francis added his voice Sunday to those of politicians and legions of volunteers welcoming refugees to Europe, calling on all Roman Catholics — and by extension all fellow Europeans — to take in people who “flee death in conflict and hunger.”
The IOCC wrote about this on July 10, 2015, noting that:
“One thousand miles separate Syria and Serbia, but the desperation to flee their war-torn country is driving thousands of refugees from Syria, as well as some from Afghanistan and other countries to make the long and dangerous journey. Their trek is a combination of boats, buses, trains, and walking. Many land in Greece first. From there, they head north on foot, walking hundreds of miles through the Balkans to the European Union. In the past six months, more than 37,000 refugees have endured rough terrain, temperatures hovering near 100 degrees, a lack of food and water, and violent attacks from predatory gangs along the way to reach Serbia.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP IN DEFENSE OF REFUGEES
We invite you to share with the Orthodox Christian Network substantive philanthropies that are coming to the aid of all that are persecuted. Notable is the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) whom “in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond”. The IOCC has undertaken significant initiatives to help save Syria’s children whom are displaced or living as refugees. Notably 92% of every dollar donated to the IOCC “directly helps those affecting dire situations”.
“You can help the victims of poverty and conflicts around the world by making a financial gift to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund which will provide immediate relief, as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. To make a gift, please visit iocc.org or call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, MD 21297.
An additional notable philanthropy is “The Barnabas Fund’s Operation Safe Havens program which has pressed governments to issue visas to persecuted Christians, on condition that the organization will foot their expenses”. Operation Safe Havens was featured in an August 20, 2015, editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Robert R. Reilly, director of the Westminster Institute in McLean, Va.
The Orthodox Christian Network invites you to support our coverage of Christian Persecution and Religious Freedom by giving to our 10 Cents A Day campaign, where 100% of your gift goes to ministry and 0% to overhead.
Your input is welcomed and appreciated; and you have our resound commitment to be a resource of compassion, a voice of help, and active participant to helping all in need.
Posted by Nick Mavrick. You can find Nick Mavrick on Google+