Friday, December 23, 2005

Bless the Beasts and the Children

In Uganda the children of outlying villages trek miles and miles every evening, to reach the cities where they might be safe from the vile L.R.A. (Lord's Resistance Army), who seeks to kidnap the young ones, subjecting them to atrocities beyond our western imaginations. This kidnap and torture creates an obvious, violent cycle.

They become, as Christopher Hitchens reports in his Vanity Fair article, "Childhood's End," haunted, "feral-child terrorist[s]."

If you can pick up a January issue of Vanity Fair, I suggest you read the article. It is ugly, almost unbearable, but not knowing does not make it not so! I vehemently believe that avoidance of truth breeds indifference.

Hitchens recalls a W.H. Auden Poem, September 1, 1939:

What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

In the same issue, a pictorial nod to Bob Geldof and Bono who labored to achieve a $25 billion promise from nine world leaders (I do not know if Bush was one) in aid to Africa. Geldof purportedly wandered into a garden, knelt and sobbed.

At the end of Hitchens' article, he notes that he provided aid for one child who informed his research, even as he "tried not to notice the hundreds of other eyes that were hungrily turned to me in the darkness"--later that night, after he had left, the encampment was hit by torrential rains that "washed most of the tents and groundsheets away."

I turn to sleep this night with an aching heart.


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