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September 22, 2015

Rubber Rafts, Hunger and Duty

Harry M. Covert

In reading today’s dithyramb several high profile situations come to mind. They are important for various reasons.


The answer to the plight of thousands of refugees flooding from Syria to Europe is serious business without easy solutions. Tragic for sure made even worse by video.


Who cannot be moved seeing a tiny child drowned and lying on a beach? Who can remain calm watching immigrants walking through woods and highways hungry, sleepy and physically worn out?


While European leadership and Middle Eastern nations seemingly turn deaf ears to the plight, the problem remains. Earthquakes in Nepal, Haiti, Chile and the California devastating fires have had everyone gawking.


Americans are the most giving citizens in the world. One of the tenets learned in churches and synagogues early in lives is to give help to the needy and less fortunate. There are weekly fund-raising walks of every sort and they are admirable and good.


It’s difficult to watch the tragedies unfolding.


While world troubles are so well known, Frederick County officials debate ethics in public life, spending money by the millions for fancy administrative facilities; negating the thought that English is The Language for official county business. These are not the most vital subjects for the public at large.


Everybody locally enjoys all the good works. They are important. One that stumps me is with all the money being spent on public schools, teachers, equipment, books, why aren’t students provided backpacks for school supplies; why do firemen and firewomen, city police and sheriff’s deputies have to spend time delivering the pens, pencils and notebooks?


Why do some teachers have to spend their own money to augment their classroom activities?


Why do school athletic programs have to depend on “boosters,” mothers and dads and businesses, to supplement the programs for equipment? Sure this is a feel-good business. Pictures in the media for donations are nice and sweet.


Too many questions, of course.


All of the community good will is to be commended. Seeing tiny children, haggard mothers and fathers walking their way through countrysides and on highways is indeed troubling. Life here in Frederick is pretty good.


It is difficult to enjoy a nice steak, seafood and other cuisines and then a candy bar or two and watch suffering starving people.


It is amazing how European governments keep debating instead of physically helping the refugees. These political leaders have no remembrance of the Marshall Plan 70-plus years ago, where millions of starving were fed, clothed and housed.


International relief workers make a difference and usually with severe lack of supplies.


The fact is numerous American charitable groups are jumping in to fill the gaps where such organizations as the European Union, the United Nations and others debate how to feed and house the refugees. The U.S., according to the State Department, will welcome 100,000 for various communities. This will not be easy.


Another question is why aren’t Arab nations opening their gates for their cousins from Syria?


Fleeing people risking their lives in rubber rafts are not fictional movie or television episodes. Is the world trying to solve the evacuee disaster?


Compassionate Frederick is not silent. They have been an example of caring for those in all walks of life. Local church members, doctors, dentists and nurses have distinguished themselves in Haiti, Central and South America and other hurting areas.


Certainly the question of what to do with millions floundering is a major one. When I think of “to whom much is given, much is required” local names pop out – Sayler, Delaplaine, Delauter, Mills and Young. There are many more though.


Bless them.


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