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Posts tagged ‘Justice’

How far does your love reach?

It struck me that she was just like me

It hit me that she was just like me

It was the mother who kissed her baby girl I remember the most from my last trip to Sittwe, Myanmar, a few weeks ago. She held her baby up to her face and kissed her while she breathed deeply and smelled the lovely smell only one’s baby has. It hit me as I watched her that she was just like me. I always did the same when my kids were babies.

The woman I watched and observed was from the Rohingya people group. According to the UN, they are one of the world’s most persecuted people. The result of that persecution was right before my eyes: Hungry and sick people, primitive and crowded shacks without a scrap of privacy, children who have no access to an education, 140,000 people, displaced to an enclosed camp they are not allowed to leave. In their own country.

The Muslim people group, who counts around one million people, had their citizenship removed in 1982. “These people don’t belong in Myanmar,” says the government even today. “They don’t look like us, and they don’t have the same religion as us.” In spite of evidence proving the opposite, the public opinion in Myanmar is that the Rohingya is not an ethnic group, but illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The result of this demeaning treatment and the inhumane conditions they are forced to live in can now be seen on the Andaman ocean. Since this year begun an estimated  25,000 Rohingya have bought a ticket on a boat that is the promise to freedom. The problem is that no freedom, just more suffering, is in store for them.

Neither Thailand, nor Malaysia or Indonesia will allow the boats full of Rohingya refugees to come to land. Instead they use their own navy ships and pull them back out to sea. A death sentence.

My husband, Steve, together with a team from Partners and Fortify Rights, is out looking for these boats right now. They have water, food and medicines in their boat. They are also joined by lots of journalists from all the biggest news media in the world.

We can give them bottles of water. We can give them some bags of food. We can hand out fever-reducing medicines and pills to stop diarrhea. We can film and document. We can take pictures of crying mothers and begging men. We can show photos that the world can choose to see, or not to see. But we cannot save them! The only thing we have to offer is some relief from their pain, and we can buy them some time before they die on sea anyway. Unless a miracle happen.

The miracle would be if these people were allowed to return to their own villages and live the life they long for the most: A life without persecution and closed doors.

Recently I read a quote by a man named Jarle Haugland that has stuck with me ever since: How far do we have to be removed from our close relationships before other things become more important than other people’s lives?

Are these people’s lives as important as our own lives, or are they just too far away? Do the millions of refugees from Syria or Myanmar have the same value as our closest family? If the answer is YES, then why don’t we care more? If the answer is YES, then why do our elected leaders continue to trade with nations, like Myanmar, who treat people this way? If the answer is yes, then what do we answer a child who asks: Why don’t anybody want us? If we call ourselves Christians, how can we justify not loving our neighbor as ourselves.

There is a lot about this crisis on lots of news media. Start by checking out our Webpage. Then like our Facebook page. Thereafter you can read these articles.Do read Fortify’s latest publication as well.

Thomas the Tank Engine has also become a show off

Really sucks to be a Polar Bear these days

Really sucks to be a Polar Bear these days (Photo credit: http://www.criticalshadows.com)

Since the world is in such a state as it currently is, the best option for us would be to not get out of bed. Basically, no matter how we look at it, we are screwed. Sorry to break it to you, but anybody who says anything else is lying.

There may be a terrorist in every neighborhood. Countries are disappearing under water. The oceans are polluted with dioxins and other crap, making our seafood carcinogenic. The garbage incinerators send toxins into the air that falls down into the grass that the cows eat, making meat some of the worst things we can eat, along with cabbage, I presume. Our youngsters don’t know how to spell, much less write cursive. Species are disappearing. The rainforests are diminishing at rapid speed, while ISIS continues to grow. Thousands are dying at sea, and if they don’t die, they are likely to end up as slaves, fishing shrimps, or sewing our cheap t-shirts. And now I read that Thomas the Tank Engine has become a bad role model for children, who, according to The Guardian, “frequently shrink his responsibilities in order to compete against the others to show off.”

Even Thomas the Tank Engine is taking on the values of the world. He has become selfish.

Even Thomas the Tank Engine is taking on the values of the world. He has become selfish. (Photo credit: http://www.theguardian.com)

What are the odds of making it, whether you are rich or poor?

There are times when I think of this, and feel doomed. But mostly, I just go on with my days. Answering emails. Paying bills. Drinking coffee. Downloading an app that will help me stay in shape. Honestly, I try to avoid reading too much on global warming, about the homeless people in Nepal or about the rise of cancer world-wide. It just makes me depressed. And why bother?

I guess I should bother for the same reason you should bother, and we all should bother: Because it matters. Small people can move big mountains. We just need to start by moving the first stones, like a wise person once said.

So this is what I have decided. To keep fighting and moving forward. Because quitters don’t win. And winners don’t quit.

It matters what I do. Because THEY matter.

It matters what I do. Because THEY matter. (I took this photo of Rohingya munchkins less than a month ago. They need people like you and me to not give up.)

I can, for example, buy fewer new clothes. I could stop shopping less. Period. I could wash the plastic baggies and re-use them. I could boycott all seafood from Thailand and other places that use slaves to fish. I could commit to living on less. I could stop eating so much meat and more weeds that grow in the forest and on the fields around my house. Or just normal vegetables for that matter. Broccoli is the cure for all, with spinach a close second. Not to mention oats. I could share my wealth with organizations, such as Partners, who work their butts off to save lives, or to Fortify Rights who are reporting on atrocities the world seem not to care about. I could invite lonely people home for dinner. I could decide to not ever vote for politicians who will not help refugees in need. If I all did this, together with you and millions of others, the ship may start changing course. If we don’t, however, but instead stay in bed and let men dressed in black take over the planet, then we shouldn’t be surprised when the world goes from bad to worse.

I saw this quote that I thought was fitting for some of us who think that our calling only takes us as far as from bed to our computer screen: Dignity: The moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes. Shannon Alder

 

 

 

Shitty days and Metaphysics

This is how I feel at times

This is how I feel at times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some days are just shitty. Sorry to use such a strong word, but there are times when strong words are the only words that suffice.

These are the days when your dog has gotten diarrhea and this is evident on the leather shoes you left on the floor in the hallway. They are days when you discover some unpaid bills that somehow had been hidden under a pile of newspapers, and whatever money is left in your account will be exactly enough to pay them. These are days when your children won’t stop reminding you of your ignorance, lack of wisdom and clumsiness. Days where everything you own is in disarray, your friends seem to have forgotten you, the only sms you get is one reminding you that you have failed at yet another task, and you feel the beginning of a sore throat.   You notice that all your underwear is dirty. These are the days when the scale in your bathroom is brutally honest and you understand that the price of excessive ice-cream-eating and wine-drinking is higher than you first thought. Then winter does its own thing, making your planned run more than an impossible challenge.  Days when all you want is a little peace, and all you get is loud noises everywhere.

I feel sorry for myself. I wish that somebody would take notice and come to the rescue. I clench my teeth and go on. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I remind myself. In reality, what doesn’t kill me makes me really cranky.

When my children’s lives are falling apart, according to them, I remind them that life will never run as smooth as Shinkansen. It is impossible. Because life is full of particles that have their own agendas, and there are metaphysics. Said in simple terms, life is hard because there are so many of us who are all trying to make it on this planet, and some of us seem to forget that one has to love one’s neighbor as oneself. And if that is not enough, dogs eat stuff that give them diarrhea and the climate seems to be doing its own thing too. The best thing one can do it to put on the seat belts and try to enjoy the ride, however bumpy.

This is what I will do too. I will put on my seat belt. I will enjoy the moments of pleasure, because one can find them, even during shitty days. It is challenging to find a reason to smile while cleaning dog pooh, but, hey, at least I didn’t step in it. It really did suck to find the unpaid bills, but at least I did have money to pay them. My kids are at times too eager to tell me about my shortcomings, but I need to welcome them. Nobody else told me I had bad breath or that my laugh was a little too loud.

And, besides, I am not living in a remote refugee camp, wondering if the world has forgotten me, and if there will be anything to eat today. At least I am not running for my life because evil men want to kill me. At least I am not dying from a flu that turns into pneumonia that cannot be cured since there is no medicine. At least I didn’t get Ebola. I am just having a hard day with problems that for most people wouldn’t even get close to qualifying as a problem. They would just call it a bump in the road, if that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on the Holocaust

Rohingya baby

Holocaust memorial day was yesterday. It is a day that most people don’t even know about. Holocaust day is nothing like Halloween or Valentine’s day where the stores display shelves upon shelves with paraphernalia, gifts and other stuff that bring us into a festive mode. Never have I seen a magazine full of ideas for how to celebrate Holocaust day. I have never been to a gift shop that has been full of decorations we can buy to make our house festive for Holocaust day. And we know why. One should not get festive when one remembers the brutal and horrendous murders of six million Jews. One gets in a sober mood by remembering the world’s worst genocide.

But I still wonder why the day is not a bigger deal. Why don’t we stop the world on January 27th? Why don’t we all take some time off and reflect? Why did it happen? Why didn’t anybody stop the massacres? Why weren’t there more people who spoke up and who overcame their fear? Why did so many innocent people have to die in the most gruesome way? How can we stop it from happening again? Is it happening?

Perhaps we don’t take the time to ponder these questions because we are afraid of the answers. Perhaps we are afraid to face ourselves an our own fears? Would we have defended the Jews? Would we have tried to save them? Would we have put our own lives, careers and reputation at risk to save the ones we knew were innocent? Or would we have just pretended we didn’t know what was going on?

I am aware that comparing anything that is happening today to what happened during the Holocaust is risky. And I don’t do it lightly. There has never been a genocide of the same magnitude as the Holocaust. Hopefully there will never again be. But we see similar attitudes and actions today. The attitude the Nazis had towards their own race, and towards the Jews we can see clearly in the attitude the Burma government and religious leaders have towards their own population, the Rohingya people. Some of the same things the Nazis said about the Jews, the Burma government and religious leaders say about the Rohingya. Like: They are a virus that we need to get rid of. Like: We need to either send them all out of our country, or we need to fence them all in. Like: We can withhold food and medicine from them for as long as we find it necessary.

Rohingya in camp

When trying to get the world to see that what is happening to the Rohingya right now is looking more and more like a genocide, the ears that are hearing appear deaf. When telling leaders and investors that the country they are doing business with, and the leaders they wine and dine are in fact responsible for the death of thousands, we only get a sad look and comments like: Yes, it is really bad. We hope that our investments and our engagement will bring about change in due time.

Yesterday, one of the 300 survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Roman Kent (85) had tears in his eyes when he recalled the horror he had survived. And his plea to the world, “Let us add one more command to the ten commandments: You shall not be a bystander.”

While feeling very reluctant to add or take away from Scripture, I still think that Mr. Kent’s point is worth considering. Are we bystanders to another genocide? Are we just observing when we should be acting?

Are we going to remember the death of thousands of innocent victims 70 years from now and ask ourselves: Why did the world let this happen? Or are we going to change history by starting to protest what is happening to the Rohingya?

 

How chipmunks taught me about justice

chipmunk 2I went to the IMAX theater with Kristin and we watched a movie about a chipmunk trying to survive in a world where most of the creatures were bigger and more dangerous. The chipmunk diligently collected acorns for the winter. He stored it in his little home and as the cold season approached his storage grew. He was confident that his hard work was going to pay off. He would be able to make it through winter with the acorns he had collected. Half way through the movie, an older chipmunk finds the storage of our chipmunk friend and steals almost all the acorns.

I felt so angry while watching this. What a mean, selfish, low-life, no integrity creature this old chipmunk was. The audacity. The complete lack of respect for other people’s property. The self-centeredness. I was cheering for the young chipmunk, and desperately hoped he would get his acorns back.

Then it dawned on me that I was getting upset about the unfairness of a chipmunk’s life. I realized I was angry on behalf of a small animal whose food was stolen. While it was indeed unfair and mean, I remembered that I had read in the news that very same day that 1% of the world’s population owns 48% of the world’s assets, and that of the remaining 52%, 46% was owned by 20% of the world’s population. If you don’t like math, just remember this: 80% of the people of the world have to share 5.5% of everything there is. This made me think that a few old chipmunks have stolen all the food from the ones who work so hard to make a living, and they are left with almost nothing. There is something really, really wrong with a world that allows a handful of people to enjoy 94.5% of everything that is, and then everybody else is left with just a few scraps. Selfish chipmunks is one thing. Selfish humans who take what they don’t need nor deserve and let children and their families starve is a whole other story.

In the movie, the young, hard-working, honest and courageous chipmunk won. He got all his acorns back while the dishonest, selfish, coward of a chipmunk who stole what was not his was left in the cold and probably died during the winter. It is not looking like the world’s chipmunks will endure the same fate. At the rate it is going, according to Oxfam, they will keep gaining acorns, making the poor poorer and the rich richer. How I wish we would care more.

 

Feeling as insignificant as fly poop

business mtngI was sitting in a office belonging to the biggest corporation in Norway. In front of me, across a big table were two well-dressed men. Everything about them matched. Their shoes, their suits, the color of their shirts, the hairdos and even their fingernails were statements of perfection, class and power. Before entering the office I had walked through the corporation’s headquarter, and it appeared more like a small kingdom to me. Once inside its walls it seemed like you became a loyal, faithful and devoted citizen of the kingdom. All the people spoke highly of the company they served, and if what they said was true, it was a flawless company. The company’s only aim and mission was to make the world better, safer, happier and healthier. That they worked here was only because their life ambitions were the same as the company’s. They would die pursuing the dream of a perfect world. You do understand, don’t you, that the company was an oil company.

“So what do you want from us?” they asked. It seemed like the question was genuine. It had been easy to answer the question: What do you want? when I practiced it at home before the meeting. I wanted them to give us money. Money to help children. Money to build schools. Money to train medics and to help the sick. Money to develop new methods to improve food production. But sitting there, across the big table, in the glass office, with the expensive suits and the high tech reception that was 100% digitized, I suddenly felt so small and stupid. Why would they give us money? We were like a speck of fly excrement on the top of their polished shoes.

And when I asked, the answer was as expected: “We don’t give money to groups like yours. We do of course give money to charity, but then we give to the ones who really matter, like the UN for example.” They went on to tell me why they couldn’t give money to any of the Partners projects. They also said that just because they were interested in oil drilling in Burma they weren’t directly or indirectly responsible for human rights abuses. And hearing what they said, I didn’t disagree. Even idealistic aid workers like me see the need for businesses to develop in order for a country to prosper. I just wished they had chosen a different business than oil drilling, and a different area than the ocean outside Rakhine state where currently the worst kinds of human rights abuses are taking place.

The honest truth is that there are times when I wish that my job was selling a product that promised beauty, long life and prosperity. It is so hard always promoting life-saving products, such as food, to starving, poor and oppressed people. There are times when I wish I did work for one of those large charities, the ones who claim to only be spending 10% on admin, but who still manage to find money to pay for ads that cost thousands of dollars every month, who still have a list of employees that is longer than our list of donors, and the ones who end up getting the sponsorships from large corporations who feel that giving to the big charities is the safest thing.

girl in Mae Ra MuuBut then I think like this: I know that we are not insignificant. Not for the 911 kids that get a home to live in because of Partners. Not to the hundreds of people who received eye glasses and to the thousands who received medical care. Not to the 71 farmers who got training in agriculture and who learned how they can produce food for their families and communities. Not for the hungry Rohingya people who received 94.9 tons of rice. Not for the 10,000 Kachin who have access to community care. Not to the thousands who have received food and blankets. Not to the almost 100,000 children who are allowed to go to school. To them we are not small and insignificant. To them we are a life-source. To them our help makes the difference between life and death.

boy w hat for winter warmth

Some times I wish that the corporations, agencies and other groups that say No when we ask for support would be able to see the children’s smiles when they get their rations of food, their new shoes, the opportunity to go to school, or the news that they can still live with their parents instead of moving to a refugee camp to study. Some times I wish they had understood that for the price of one of their high-tech computer systems, we could develop land and grow food to feed hundreds of people, we could train community health workers and birth attendants. We could pay teachers and buy school books. I wish it was a little easier to make the world better for the people who need a better world. And, who knows, it may change soon. Next time I meet the men with the suits they may be asking me how they can help. Miracles do happen still.

 

 

The benefits of losing everything you wrote in one day

Write+exam+study+xxx

The trick is to fit thousands of words and hundreds of pages worth of knowledge into one small essay.

I am terribly late. In just 18 days (or it may be less by now. I just don’t want to think about it) I need to submit the biggest paper of the semester for my class. As always I have put off starting way too long, and now I am regretting it. Like a cartoon dog with ADHD I am throwing papers around, trying to find the perfect quote that can confirm that my thoughts are correct, if not genius.

Today was the day I was going to get a good solid introduction and some of the content down. For six whole hours I sat in front of the computer and resisted (sometimes) the urge to check Facebook instead of writing my thesis. Satisfied that I had 1/5 of my paper down at the end of the day, I decided to close the program. Bewildered as I tend to be at times, I told the program not to save my whole day’s work and in one nano-second it was all gone. I said some words that are better not repeated. I had to walk around the office for a while. I needed to take many deep breaths. I had to share my misfortune with some people who would tell me how sorry they were. Then I started all over and tried to re-write what I had written once already. The second draft wasn’t half as good, but I just don’t remember what it was that made the first draft so much better.

My one consolation in my deep despair is that having to start over again, I will know the material so much better. Boy, do I know about Psalm 103:6. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

Having to rewrite so many Bible verses has given me more time to reflect on them, and to let God speak to my heart. At the end of the day I am more convinced than ever that God’s heart is justice. That he wants his people to care for the poor, the oppressed, the vulnerable, the downtrodden. We are to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to care for the sick, to invite strangers into our homes (not weird men on the street, but immigrants, refugees, homeless, lonely and perhaps sad people), to visit prisoners. As I remember from my first draft,  a Bible verse that told us to spend more money on stuff for Christmas or to get some more imported steaks at an exclusive restaurant was never mentioned. No, I am pretty sure there are no verses with that being the admonition.

I have a book next to me as I am doing research on human rights, advocacy and Christian faith. The book is called Generous Justice and is written by Timothy Keller. I would recommend it if you are serious about following God. And even if you are not, you may benefit from reading it. In it he says, for example:

 

Caring for these...

Caring for these…

If God’s character includes a zeal for justice that leads him to have the tenderest love and closest involvement with the socially weak, then what should God’s people be like? They must be people who are likewise passionately concerned for the weak and vulnerable. He continues by saying: If believers in God don’t honor the cries and claims of the poor, we don’t honor him, whatever we profess, because we hide his beauty from the eyes of the world.

Do I hear a WOW?

 

 

 

Helping others to help myself. Self care

The Good Samaritan. Did he have pure motives? Beautiful painting by van Gogh.

The Good Samaritan. Did he have pure motives? Beautiful painting by van Gogh.

Once, some years ago, my daughter, Elise, who has always been wise beyond her years, asked this: I have some money I would like to give the refugees, but the reason I want to give it is so that people will think highly of me. If that is my motive, should I or should I not give the money? Did I mention she was 11 when she asked this?

I told her she should give the money, because the money has the same value whether it is given by a selfish bastard, or by a selfless nun. But that her goal should be to work on her heart so that eventually she would start giving simply because it was the right thing to do. Not because of the praise, or other benefits, she will receive. Eventually, I said, the joy of giving will be a reward of itself. If people know that you gave or not will be of less importance.

I honestly don’t remember what she ended up doing.

I have thought about this though, because living in a rich nation where people have everything they need at all times, where people seldom have to fight really hard to get food on the table and warm socks to wear in the winter, I am often faced with people who want to help for the wrong reasons. They want to help because they want to feel good. They want to help because they want to be challenged. They want to help because they want to have worth, and what better way to increase your worth than to be seen helping starving children?

That kind of attitude sickens me. I heard once: The poor don’t need your charity. They need justice. And justice, what is that? Sometimes I think justice would be to place all of us in a slum where cockroaches abide close to our sleeping mat, where food is luxury and medicines only for the rich and privileged. Justice would be to allow the poor to storm our houses, our shopping malls and our cruise ships.

It is a good thing for you, and me, that I am not the judge of the world.

Is it right to do the right things for the wrong reasons? Is it OK to fly to Africa (or to Asia, or anywhere else for that matter) and spend some days giving of our abundance, get some photos taken and then go home and feel better about our lifestyles in the small part of the world that spends most of the world’s resources? A lot of people are doing just that nowadays. Travel agencies advertise for vacations with a meaning. People say they are tired of just vacationing on the beach. Now they want to go to an orphanage too.

To be totally frank, I don’t know. Part of me says: No way! No to charity tourism. No to turning poor people’s dwellings into zoos so that some rich people can have a good experience and feel like they did a good deed, and then go back home and continue their extravagant lifestyles.

We have all met them, the nerd outreach teams.

We have all met them, the nerd outreach teams.

 

But then there is a part of me who thinks that it can be good to take the rich to experience the lives of the poor too. The experience may change them. The afternoon they spend with orphans blowing bubbles and throwing balloons in the air may actually make them realize that these are kids just like our own kids. They just don’t have the opportunities our own kids have. Would they have come to that conclusion if they had stayed on the beach? Or in their own living room watching the news? Most likely not.

In my country there is a group of people who wants to send immigrants and refugees out of the country faster than I can say Asshole. They want to give less money in foreign aid than we currently do because in their mind the people who are poor are largely responsible for their own problems. They also want to prohibit begging since beggars mostly are criminals or plain lazy. It often occurs to me that their inhumane attitude must come from the fact that not one of them have had dinner with a refugee, they have never wiped the nose of an orphan, and they have never sat down to share a cup of tea with a beggar. They have never actually spent any time with the people whom they reject. It is likely their attitudes will never change, unless they become friends with one of the people they despise.

Our goal must be to work for a just world. Our goal must be that the goods will be distributed in such a way that we all can have full stomachs when we go to bed, be warm enough, feel safe, get medicine when we are sick, study, work and dare to dream about the future. The best thing would be if we all willingly gave up some of what we think of as ours to give to them, and then the problem was solved. We all know it is not that easy.

Then there are the times when the chemistry is just right.

Then there are the times when the chemistry is just right. Here is my good friend, Haavard with new friends on the border of Burma.

So, the answer to the question I asked myself is that, yes, sometimes one has to do the right thing for the wrong reason. Eventually that may turn into doing the right thing for the right reason.

It reminds me of when I emptied my closet and gave the clothes to refugees. I wanted to help, that is true. But I also wanted an excuse to buy new clothes. The refugees who were blessed with my old clothes were happy. They needed clothes. And I, I confirmed the theory some people have about humans being corrupt, selfish and even dishonest.

 

 

 

 

#dieandseeificare

It’s that time of the year. It’s time for much of nature to die. Seeds were planted, grew, bore fruit, and now their mission is done. They die. My sugar snap peas gave me a lot of enjoyment. Now they are gone.

It’s also time for people to die. Children. Babies. Teens. Mothers. Fathers. Aunts. Uncles. Best friends. Grandparents. Colleagues. Neighbors. This is the time of the year when they shall die.

Rohingya baby

You may think I have smoked something strange and that I am just babbling nonsense. But this is not the case. I don’t smoke anything. Ever. I also don’t lie. And I hear a lot of stories I wish I didn’t have to hear.

Some days ago I was sitting in a small room with people whom I love and admire. There were nine of us. We were from four different countries and three different continents. You could almost say we were from five countries and four continents, since some of us came from one country and lived in another. This is not the point.

The point was that we were all sitting there feeling like a heavy rock had been chained to our hearts. We saw no possible way to get it off. Actually, this is not really the point either. The point is not us. The point is the people we were talking about. The ones who are dying right now. As we were sitting there, looking forlorn, they were dying. A slow death. But a certain death nevertheless.

We all knew the people who are dying. We had all visited them, talked to them, touched them, smelled them, eaten their food, held their babies. We were talking about the Rohingya people of course. Their plight became the heavy rock hanging from our heart, making smiling impossible.

One of us said: For two years the UN has refused to register them as refugees, thus making helping them illegal and close to impossible. With some simple steps from the UN, they could at least be given a small food ration. 

Rohingya in camp

Another said: They are desperate enough to pay a high sum of money to get on a boat that will take them away. None know how may have died at sea, and how many have been sold to traffickers who torture them, withhold money, food and other privileges, how many girls have been sold into prostitution, how many children have died due to lack of food and medicine on the boat.

Yet another said: They are dying a slow death. What is happening is genocide. The government wants them gone, whatever it takes. Their death is a good option. So they don’t allow aid groups to distribute food. Starvation is a quick and certain, though painful, way to die. By withholding medicine and doctors from their concentration camps, their imminent death is more certain. 

My thoughts were: My country gives money to the UN, believing they are the ones who are doing the job best. It is sad to think about all the wasted millions that should have been used to feed, heal and educate children and their families being spent on high salaries, Land-rovers, and rent of buildings belonging to former military generals. It is aggravating to think about what we could do with that amount of money. 

My friend to the left said: What is the point of even feeding them when they will still die. We are just prolonging the inevitable: Their certain death. We can’t feed them forever. 

Rohingya girl

All of us wondered: How can we help get them away from this small corner of hell? How can we ensure that they don’t just disappear? The children with the big dark eyes and the curious stares, the girls with the serous demeanor, and the boys with the dedicated attitude will perhaps not survive for another year. Who survives on a cup of rice, some water and the prospect of living in a small enclosure with no freedom to move, work, grow food, and pursue one’s dreams for long? Who survives when there is no hope? 

I am not making this up. It is the sad, the terrible, the brutal, the honest, the shocking, the sickening truth that without a major change of attitude of the world, the people group called the Rohingya may cease to exist. The dark-eyed children will not be able to live any longer if they have nothing to eat. The fathers will stop living when they can’t go back to their jobs, their boats, their fields, and their communities where they played an integral part.The mothers will die,perhaps not from lack of food, but from broken hearts. Seeing their children die and not being able to do anything to ease their pain is a death-penalty for any mother.

Rohingya woman

My sugar snap peas completed their mission here on earth before they died. They did what they were created to do.

The hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas who right now are living under conditions worse than those of deprived animals will most likely not reach their potential, will most likely not ever feel like they are wanted, needed, sought after and loved. Unless we do something to change destiny.

See, I think we can change the course of history. Right now it looks like the Rohingya will continue to die their slow death and the world won’t care that much. An article on CNN, Huffington Post of the Guardian may pop up from time to time. But nothing that will shake governments resolve to get a piece of the pie called Burma’s natural resources. They don’t care that children are dying as long as they get re-elected, or at least get the credit for lucrative business deals. I think we can change this.

Would you write me, or add a comment on the blog and let me know how we can change it? I need your help.

Rohingya boy

 

I am serious about this. Write me and tell me how we can help save lives. Tell me if you have a way to help. Tell me if you know a president that we can meet. It is not yet time for the Rohingya to die. Read more here and here 

 

 

 

 

Carbohydrates, yoga and a small light beer

Diabetes makes you weird.

Diabetes makes you weird.

They say that it is the subject line of your blog that draws the readers. I almost considered putting the word SEX in there as well, but felt like it may also cause me to lose some of you. And although it may have helped me gain a few new followers, I was not willing to lose any of my current readers. You mean too much to me!

This week my husband decided to change his diet 100% .After he got diagnosed with Diabetes type 1 about six months ago he has not been able to control his blood sugar any longer than I am able to control a hula hoop round my waist. When he started reading about the long-term effects of high blood sugar and the unpleasant surprises that come with excessive insulin injections he decided he loved life more than chocolate, and wanted his legs to remain on his body more than he wanted baguettes and mashed potatoes. He cut all the carbs in his diet cold turkey. And when I say all the carbs, I even mean his Friday beer. Unless it is served in a very small glass, and is l-i-g-h-t.

I didn’t want him to live on a diet consisting of scrambled eggs and hotdogs with an occasional leg of chicken or possibly a pork chop. So for the last week I have spent my free time glued to no-carb recipes and I am almost an expert already. I can make bread, crackers, granola, lasagna and much more using only food from Steve’s Yes-list.

But this is not a food blog, although there are days I wish it was. The days when I have nothing smart to say. That is when I wish I could just give you a recipe, followed my ten photos of the dish in the making. But that is a different story. All together.

You can make delicious bread with just lots of seeds and some other ingredients that you can ask me for.

You can make delicious bread with just lots of seeds and some other ingredients that you can ask me for.

 

As I have been going through this rather radical change in our household (the girls and I want to show our support of Steve by disguising the maple syrup, or eating fried cabbage with a sprinkle of chia seeds together with him) I have been saddened by all the things he will not eat anymore. It makes me so very sad to think of the banana splits that he loved to eat. Now there will be no more ice cream, no more banana, no more chocolate sauce. But, he can have as much whipped cream as he wants, unless it is sweet. My homemade bread is the best, and so are my cinnamon rolls. How will his life be now that he no longer can eat either? When (if) we go to Belgium, he won’t be able to try all the monastery beers made by the trappist monks.When we eat fresh cut-up fruit with vanilla yoghurt in the evenings, he can only have the plain, lactose-free yoghurt minus all the fruit. He could have flax seeds however.

But then I thought about this: He didn’t go blind. He didn’t lose his hearing. He didn’t get diagnosed with a brain tumor or cancer. He didn’t get ALS. He didn’t become paralyzed from the neck down. He didn’t get arrested and sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He got diabetics type 1, which sucks, but which can be managed with some self discipline and perhaps some yoga as well.

And me, the wife, will keep making food that helps him feel that life is good.

 

What I am also thinking is that we live in a country where medicines and doctor visits are close to free, in a country where you can buy chia seeds and coconut flour, in a place where there actually ARE doctors and nurses, in a country where we are free to travel where we want to, despite the fact that Steve is an immigrant. We live in a country where controlling people’s excessive eating habits is harder than their lack of things to eat. We live in a country where fish is abundant in the ocean, and beer is so expensive it is better not to buy it anyway, but to save for retirement instead. Not all people are that privileged. Not all people can say that life is good, even with diabetes. Some people just have to come to terms with the fact that for them treatment is impossible and diabetes is not a disease one learns to live with. It is a disease one dies from.

 

So, I gladly figure out how to make waffles with no flour, no carbs and no dairy. (Flour, dairy and carbs are actually similar things. I just liked the sound of it in the sentence).  I do it in honor of my brave husband and of the thousands who are diabetics in countries where there is no treatment or help available and they just die from diabetes. Like Burma. Or Myanmar, like some people like to call it.

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