Jim Crawford: War and ‘We the people’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 14, 2023

The horror of the attacks in Israel stuns all compassionate people across the globe, just as the war crimes committed against the Ukrainian people have caused our witness to be blinded by tears.

But what do we, the ordinary people of the planet, do in response to an evil that exceeds the scope of human comprehension?

We stand fast in support of the innocents of the wars. We look to what we can do to save innocent lives, those who helplessly find themselves trapped in the midst of a form of violence that transcends imagination.

Email newsletter signup

In Israel, what strikes us as most inhumane is the intent by Hamas to hurt and kill those very innocents, just as in Ukraine, we cannot but have the most profound compassion for the families torn apart by the thoughtful murders of distantly launched bombs and missiles against the Ukrainian mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, children and babies by the Russian government.

Throughout human history, the actual victims of war have been those who simply wanted to cling to life, but found themselves on the soil that would be drenched in the blood of war.

These families have never done anything to merit the loss of their lives in the violence endemic to the human experience.

As the unintended witnesses to the cruelty of war and its related issues of starvation and devastation of all physical resources the helpless need, we have a purpose, a mission to contribute.

We cannot stop the violence, and we cannot end the suffering, but we can open our hearts, our wallets, and, yes, our homes, to those who have nowhere else to turn, to those who hold all they possess in their arms in the form of their babies and their meager possessions.

In addition to the wars around the globe, our planet is, in an unspoken or un-listened reality, experiencing a climate-related global climate change that is driving the poorest people of the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere.

Their desperation is absolute. Their desire to find a safe spot is understandable, and their dreams are not of wealth and prosperity, but of food and shelter.

They are us, but for the mistake of birth on a portion of the globe where war, violence, hunger, hatred rule and human compassion remain unfulfilled.

We have examples of the response that “We the People” can offer those innocents who survive the thoughtless, careless, cruel aspects of war, poverty and climate.

In Poland, when the Russians attacked without provocation, the Polish nation opened its arms and its borders to their neighbors, the families of Ukraine.

Over a million Ukrainians were welcomed to Poland, to the schools, the hospitals, the food banks and yes, to the homes of the Polish people.

In a nation with a population the size of California, the people of Poland absorbed a million people to offer them safety and security in the face of fear and death.

Today, we, the people, are called to find compassion for the innocents wherever they may be: in Gaza, about to be centered in the Israeli response to Hamas; in Europe, to the migrants from the South who Pope Francis recently spoke of; and here, in America, to those who come to us with nothing but hunger and a need for shelter.

We may not be able to offer them a permanent home, but we can indeed provide our migrants food, shelter and hope.

We, the people, are but geography apart from the innocents who need the compassion of others.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.