The Awkward Moment When 9 Iranians Sew Their Lips Together And Go On Hunger Strike

I believe that in 20 years time we will look back at this point in history and think, what were we doing when that huge war that changed Europe was going on? When Syrians will be writing biographies and making films about the great journeys they have made (largely by foot) to Sweden and Germany and the UK. When stories will emerge of compassion spilling over the decks of the boats in the Mediterranean or of heroism seeping out of the homes of comfortable Germans. What were we concerned with when it was changing? Water charges and housing prices?

 

There are millions of people fleeing war at the moment. At least 5,000 (some estimates say 8,000) refugees are living in a make-shift camp in Calais, on the north coast of France. As they have not registered with the French authorities, many are undocumented and therefore are receiving very little assistance. The reason for this is that they hoping to get to the UK.

 

The result is a massive sprawl of tents and shacks, serviced by a network of volunteers and a supply of donations. Last week things shifted as the police began to dismantle a part of the biggest camp, forcing people to relocate to other tents, shacks and containers. This has caused increased tensions between activists, the refugees and the police. Nine Iranian men have sewn their lips together and have begun a hunger strike in protest to their lack of voice. It is a humanitarian disaster.

 

In the face of such massive complex problems how can we respond? I have noticed that people generally have two reflexes;

  1. Despair: They get completely overwhelmed and weighed down by the magnitude of the world’s problems, grieving and empathizing greatly.
  2. Numb: They know they can’t solve it, therefore they prefer not to think of it, so, for example, when they see a starving child on the TV they change the channel.

I think this is one of the things that convinces me more and more that Christianity is true; we are repulsed by inequality, broken relationships and human greed, but we cannot seem to solve them.

There has to be another way! I think this is one of the things that convinces me more and more that Christianity is true; we are repulsed by inequality, broken relationships and human greed, but we cannot seem to solve them. We have a deep desire to see a perfect world where pain is gone and where divisions are wiped away, yet we cannot seem to make it a reality.  We have this imagination of a perfect world because we have glimpsed God. He has not left us to despair or to grow numb. He has given us Christ to reconcile the world to Him. This is the hope of nations.

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