There is a lot of talk about what a human being is worth around the globe. Well, actually, it may not be the main topic of conversation around the tables at coffee bars and pubs, but in media the theme is often raised.
In Norway the debate has reached new heights since the government is saying that doctors can refrain from recommending that women take an abortion. So, not only can they refuse to perform an abortion, but they can also say that they will not refer the woman to another doctor who will do it. This has caused many to see red, and say that this is a step back for women, and that we are going the wrong direction. It has also brought up the question of whether or not a fetus is a person or not. And if we should only consider the rights of the women in this case. What about the baby?
How much is my body worth, I wondered. I think scientists operate with different calculations when they decide how much my skin, hair, blood, my intestines and all the stuff that compose me is worth. But if we add it all up, it is not that much. Sadly.
I often ask myself about how I value people and how our society values each individual. We are obviously not measured by how much we can sell our body parts for. But it appears that there are many other factors that make us decide who is worth more than others. If faced with the question, we would most likely say that all people are of the same worth. But actions speak louder than words. Always.
This has made me conclude that in our society you are more valuable if you are pretty than if you are not. If you are skinny instead of overweight. If you are young, not old. If you are rich, not poor. If you are athletic and not clumsy. If you are smart instead of un-smart. And the list goes on and on.
How sad it is that we look at people in this way, and that we learn to place value on people based on looks and abilities, on cultural background or religion. How sad too that we tend to think that people who are in our own country are more valuable than the ones who are not.
Some days ago I wrote about my friend’s email, and so many of you have commented on it. So many have also shared what I wrote with others. This gives me hope. The day after I wrote that blog post I was given more details about the situation for the Rohingya in Burma. I was told that people are starving. That the police harass them. That there are no doctors. No nurses. I was told that the kids are not allowed to go to school. I was told of fear lingering everywhere.
This led me to ask: What is the worth of a muslim child in an over-crowded refugee camp in Burma? What is the worth of his or her mother and father? How important is it for the world to see that this particular people group gets the help they need to survive? How important is it for us that we, some years from now can say that, yes, there is still a beautiful people living in the west of Burma. They are called the Rohingya and they are worth exactly the same as we are.