"What are you thankful for"? It's a question posed quite often, and you will probably be hearing it a lot over the next few weeks as we make our way through the "Holiday Season". I guess there is really no right or wrong answer to it. But for what it's worth, here's my take.
I'm thankful that there are at least some people left in this world, not a lot, but a few, that appreciate the simple things. I am thankful that there are still some people that do not just take everything for granted. I am thankful that there are still a few people out there that actually care about more than their own personal lot in life. I am thankful for Those few people that do not use whatever hardship they have had to face, or in many cases imagine they've had to face as an excuse for insisting on their entitlement to whatever it is they think they are entitled to receive, because they know that however rough things can get, there is someone else that has it even rougher. I am thankful for those people that gratefully play the hand that they have been dealt, without bitching about the dealer, or the cards or the other players. I am thankful that there are still some people that,day after day, try to do the next right thing rather than whatever is easy. I am thankful that even though so many things in the world are unjust, unkind, or just plain broken, there are still those people that seek the truth, that live a life of compassion and kindness, that fight for justice, and try to repair what mankind as a whole has broken.
This past Sunday after the Patriot's were done beating up on the Oakland Raiders 60 Minutes aired a segment about the civil war currently going on in Yemen. Two factions of the population of Yemen, the Houti and the Shia, are at war with each other. Both groups happen to be Muslim. The civil war has been going on now for over three years. The Houti faction is backed by Iran, while the Shia faction is supported by the bordering country of Saudi Arabia . The Saudi government, in an attempt to prevent Iran from supplying arms the Houti "rebels", had blockaded imports to Yemen. Without fuel coming into Yemen, their water purification and waste treatment facilities were forced to shut down, which in turn is creating an epidemic of Cholera. The blockade is also preventing the delivery of necessary Food and Medical by the United Nations to Yemen. As a result, the people of Yemen, and in particular, the children of Yemen, are faced with one of the most devastating Famines of our time. For anyone old enough to remember the famine in Bangladesh in 1974, which, brought on by war, government mismanagement of food supplies, and flooding, claimed the lives of 27000 people from March through December of the same year.
At the current death rate in Yemen, which is about one child dying from starvation every 10 minutes, the death toll in Yemen will drastically exceed in less than half that time. This does not even take into account the hundreds, possibly thousands of innocent children that will die from Cholera. In addition to the deaths, it is estimated that well over sixty percent of the population of children in Yemen are malnourished to the point of stunted development. During the 60 minutes piece we saw video evidence of a seven year old girl that weighed less than eighteen pounds, a three year old child that weighed only eleven pounds, and these were not isolated cases. Something has to be done.
I don't have the answers. I wish that I did. I am not an expert on the subtle intricacies of international diplomacy involving countries in the Middle East where conflicts have roots reaching back for thousands of years. I do know that the Saudi Arabian Government needs to allow food to get to these people now, before thousands more innocent children die of starvation. I know that this is yet another example of a war fought under the flag of religion. Whatever the differences between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Iran exist, they need to be put aside for the sake of the children of Yemen. It needs to stop, and it needs to stop now. Wouldn't that be something for which we could all be truly thankful.