The pain just keeps coming. And my tears just keep flowing.
Sunday we were devastated by the news of 26 church members being cut down in Texas.
Yesterday came another story of 26 teenagers found dead at sea in the Mediterranean – very likely headed for a camp similar to the one Bram just visited.
The girls, aged 14-18, are believed to have been migrants from Niger and Nigeria who, filled with hope as well as trepidation, had embarked on the treacherous route to Europe from Libya over the weekend.
Their bodies were found close to a flimsy rubber dinghy that had all but sunk when rescuers arrived. Aid workers described a grim scene: survivors hanging onto the remains of the raft as the girls’ bodies floated nearby.
We can’t know these young girls now. There will be no gut-wrenching personal stories on the news, no pictures of them with their loved ones. But are these deaths any less tragic than those earnest and sincere worshipers in Texas?
Young women who can somehow raise the money for the sea crossing are promised safety and good paying jobs. They are fleeing from an assortment of dire circumstances: war, illiteracy, forced marriages, persecution and unbelievable poverty. They are told, and in their naiveté they believe they will make enough to support their families back home.
The human traffickers who exploit them lose nothing if the girls die, since they have already collected a fee for forcing them into a flimsy rubber raft, rather than onto the boat they promised. If the girls survive, they will learn there is no safety or employment, and they are forced onto the streets.
These girls and other refugees come from sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Their cultures are foreign to us. But they are no less precious in the sight of God.
My CHRISTIAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS – will we cry out to God for “the least of these?” Will we be knowledgeable and share information that God may use to change such horrors? Will we seek God’s guidance as to what we each can do?? Most likely these girls perished without ever hearing the Good News of salvation. Is that enough to make our hearts break and our tears to flow?
Since the start of this year, 2,839 migrants have died on the central Mediterranean route. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy on us for caring so little.
Header photo by Mstyslav Chernov