Every armed conflict that has ever taken place, every war that has ever been fought and every genocide that has ever broken out has all occurred because of our absolute refusal to accept the fact that we are all part of the same human family. Even though it appears on the surface that wars are waged because of territorial disputes or demands for natural resources, it all actually comes down to a total lack of acceptance by one nationality or ethnic group of another. Our all consuming need to divide and conquer based on nothing more than an illogical hatred of one faction or group has led to unending suffering and misery throughout mankind’s brutal history. 

Millions of innocent human beings have been slaughtered for no more reason than that they seemed dissimilar to those who were willing to kill them because of the color of their skin or because they worshipped a different God or because their political beliefs were difficult to understand. Countless others have been injured and left as homeless refugees having lost everything to the vagaries of power-hungry individuals who were more than willing to enslave and subjugate entire populations for their own selfish desires. Women and children have been endlessly exploited because they have been consistently viewed as inferior to those who were abusing them. The complete willingness of one race or nation to enslave or eliminate those they disagree with has led to the darkest chapters of human history. 

One of the most disturbing aspects of our violent past is that we have not learned from our mistakes. We continue to make the same misjudgments over and over again. We travel down the same roads of ignorance and intolerance puffed up with erroneous feelings of superiority which clouds our thinking to the point that we no longer have a firm grasp of reality as it pertains to the rest of humanity. We set ourselves apart as if we are more important or special than the other 7 billion human beings who share the earth. We are convinced that we are part of God’s master plan that ensures we are to be prosperous and victorious in all things even if it means trampling on the dreams of others. We believe we are the chosen ones.  

But it is not true. There are no “chosen ones”. No one group of human beings is superior in any way to any other group. We are all equal. We all have the same human rights, which includes the right not to be harmed by others. Until humanity accepts the basic fact of equality for all races, genders, political persuasions and religious affiliations we are doomed to repeat the horror that our species has struggled with for centuries. It is distressing that we are unable to perceive or acknowledge such an obvious truth as equality. It makes us highly susceptible to endlessly repeating the same behaviors that have destroyed entire civilizations. How can we be so unwilling to open our eyes and realize that we are all on this planet at the same moment in time, trying to survive in the best way that we can and that we all share the same basic needs and desires for ourselves and our loved ones?  

Our steadfast refusal to treat every person with the same dignity and respect that we believe we deserve has helped to cause and perpetuate the heartbreak and shame of extreme poverty. Our tragic acceptance of the continuing lie that some races, cultures or societies are inferior to ours prevents us from taking action to alleviate the death and suffering that so many face every day of their lives. It is particularly sickening that we stand by and allow more than 9 million children to die each year from hunger, preventable diseases and treatable illnesses all because we do not consider them to be worth saving. As harsh as that sounds it must be the case or otherwise we would intervene on their behalf and save their lives. But we don’t. They are not like us. They are the wrong color. We do not understand their language or belief systems, therefore we have no problem letting them die.  

People become defensive when they are accused of not caring. They are unwilling to admit that they don’t value the life of a black child in Ethiopia in the same way that they value the life of a white child in Indiana. They become indignant when they are accused of being selfish, short sighted or narrow minded, but these labels sting because they know they are true and too often “the truth” is not what we want to hear. But in the case of extreme poverty, refusing to face reality kills 30,000 human beings every 24 hours. That is 1,000,000 dead in just 34 days. That is a devastating price to pay to perpetuate lies that cover up our total disregard for fellow human beings in a order to assuage our feelings of guilt and culpability. 

We must admit our shortcomings and failings in order to overcome them. We cannot continue to allow one billion people to struggle in the filth and deprivation of poverty because we do not consider them to be equal human beings. They cannot die because of our stupidity. We must find it within ourselves to accept the reality of life on this planet. We cannot hide behind national flags or religious intolerance anymore. We cannot despise someone to the point that we will let innocent children die because we do not approve of the color of their skin. We cannot kill, starve, abuse or neglect any population because we are too lazy to make the effort to reach out and try to understand them as opposed to just bombing them into submission. We must learn to value and embrace the sanctity of life from the moment of conception to the final breath for every living thing on earth. There can be no exclusions or deviations. We must finally, once and for all, use our intellectual capacity to understand the overwhelming human need for simple compassion.  


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