The world is on fire. At every turn there is a new crisis screaming at us from every corner begging and pleading for help. Humanitarian help. The kind of help that will save them, give them their life back, make everything okay and the bad go away. Humanitarian work is extremely important at this time and so many agencies are struggling and projects are not getting approved because of the political climate. Politics are getting in the way of people’s lives and their right to simply exist. The waters have become treacherous and the ship of hope is sinking. Between migrant boats being blocked by hostile borders, refugees being turned away and the attempt to wipe out countries like Syria and Yemen, the flood of badly needed aid and protection never ends.
Partnerships and allies don’t always agree on foreign policy but sometimes they can agree on stifling humanitarian work. By allowing airstrikes on places where families, schools and hospitals live it can do more than hinder badly needed resources getting to those caught in the middle through no fault of their own. Foreign aid workers must risk their own lives to help others and if they die, who will help them? When this happens, there is a call for all humanitarian organizations to leave the country becuase it’s not safe. But then it’s not safe for everyone right? These people are there because they’ve signed up to do this work. If they were afraid, they would have never taken the job. To say that the life of an aide worker is worth more that the life of a civilian trying to escape the horror around them is ludicris. If you look at Syria, the devastation this is still going on and the White Helmets are the only rescue team there. Even they are crying out for assistance, but governments will not allow it. Yemen is a nightmare and launch pad for Saudi Arabia’s “Beef” with Qatar leaving so many Yemeni starving and full of disease. They keep running from death but it seems to find them every time. No humanitarian or aide worker in site. Russia’s Putin, a supposed ally to President Trump, deliberately closed US Embassies in Russia mainly because he didn’t like one of Trump’s speeches. This was a severe blow to humanitarian work and collaboration and it also but a lot of people out of a job. Trump’s response? He did the United States a favor. Wow.
President Trump’s September 19th UNGA speech was a severe blow to any potential advancement for peace. Provoking and attacking Kim Jong-un, Leader of North Korea and all out bad mouthing Iran while crticizing the UN was not a successful moment for the United States. Internet trolls will have you believe otherwise but all in all it was a disaster. The language and visceral content President Trump expelled was neither diplomatic nor presidential. Believe it or not this is a huge blow to humanitarian work as a whole. If Russia has closed their US Embassies who knows what other countries will do the same and may become hostile to the United Nations. The United States dispatches a large number of organizations to countries in war, conflict, poverty and instability. If we lose the right to be able to do that many will suffer. Those of us that do international work rely on our co-workers and partners in other countries for information and strategizing. If we lose that then they will suffer more. Of course there is a lot of human rights work to do in the US, I mean we’re no better than any other country. We have tortures, dissappearances, human trafficking, corruption in government, law enforcement, rape, murder, domestic violence, slavery-shall I go on? But we are also in the crossfire because cuts come down the charity road first while the IRS knocks at our back door with their hands out.
Here’s the good thing. All of us who do this work are so passionate that we will never give up. We will be at every protest, assembly and press conference, we will uphold the true values of people in America that want suffering to end and peace to succeed. We are humanitarians.