A person of no colour

I am white, pale, pasty, washed out. A white male – privileged and wealthy in comparison to most. Yet in a minority.

Most people in the world have more colour than my type do. They have beautiful skin tones ranging from pale brown to deep black. They are people of colour. We are the non-coloured, the lacking, those who should be seen through.

Desperate people dying at sea

An estimated 6,000-20,000 Rohingya from Myanmar/Burma are at sea, fleeing the ethnic persecution that has been going on for years. Their lives have become worse and worse. The Myanmar government keeps denying more than a million people basic rights, such as food, medical treatment and education. Not to mention the freedom to live in their own villages, the freedom to move around freely, and the freedom to marry whom they may want. As life as gotten intolerable for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, they have seen no other alternative than to flee by sea.

There is, however, no country willing to take these desperate people in. Both Malaysia and Indonesia turned away boats with hundreds of people last week. Thai authorities have also stated that they will not allow any boats to land. For the ones who have decided to turn around and go back to Myanmar/Burma, it has become a reverse smuggling game. Human traffickers are demanding 200-300 dollars to return a person from the boat back to his or her village. Having already spent all their money on the voyage, very few of them have the money to pay such a fee.

(from An Urgent Update On The Rohingya, Partners Relief & Development)
Save the Rohingya from Partners Relief & Developmenton Vimeo.

The Rohingya people are desperately in need. In May 2012, sectarian violence broke out in Rakhine State between the Buddhist Rakhine people and the predominately Muslim Rohingya. Around 140,000 people remain displaced in and around Sittwe and Maungdaw by the violence. These people urgently need food, shelter, medicine and protection. Partners has been providing emergency relief to those in camps near Sittwe, including rice distribution, basic medical support, tarps for shelter as well as animals, seeds and fertilizer to help establish more sustainable food supply. PLEASE HELP provide continuing life-saving care to vulnerable children and families. Learn how you can help at www.partnersworld.org/save-the-rohingya

The beautiful people

I have just discovered that yesterday (NZ)/today (USA) is/was World Down Syndrome Day.
As a teenager I attended school with two classmates (in a class of 27 students) who were Down Syndrome. Despite my typically teenagerish bad attitudes initially, I grew to greatly appreciate these students and in retrospect realize I learned a vast amount from them about compassion, teamwork, how to help others, and that people are of much more importance than achievements. I am delighted to be able to add a small voice of encouragement and support for folks with Down Syndrome.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has made a statement about world Down-Syndrome day, here is an excerpt:

For too long, persons with Down syndrome, including children, have been left on the margins of society. In many countries, they continue to face stigma and discrimination as well as legal, attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their participation in their communities.

He finishes by saying:

On this day, let us reaffirm that persons with Down syndrome are entitled to the full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Let us each do our part to enable children and persons with Down syndrome to participate fully in the development and life of their societies on an equal basis with others. Let us build an inclusive society for all.

I have highlighted a statement which is very important. The most important human right which needs to be upheld for people with Down’s Syndrome is the right to life – spelled out in Article 10 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

Article 10 – Right to life

States Parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.

New Zealand (and the United States) have signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I consider this of huge importance in the face of a concerted effort by ‘health providers’, atheists and liberalists to eliminate any Down Syndrome babies detected prior to birth. On one hand we claim to uphold the rights of people with ‘disabilities’ (in our view), yet consider inconvenience for families and mothers to be of more significance than a person’s right to live. In the view of some, a baby does not even have the right to be considered a person, so if a newborn will be inconvenient they could theoretically be disposed of! (OK, that is another issue – one which I fully intend to discuss at length in future).

It is true that raising any child who is different is a lot of work, but our selfishness is not a reason to become evil and deny life to such people. Let us love people first and then worry about achieving other goals (I am preaching to myself here).