Terror again. What can we do?
Terror again. Over 80 people including 10 children. A father and son from Texas killed in Nice on vacation.
We are rightly angered. And we ask, “What can we possibly do?”
There is something. It is simple and it is significant.
Three weeks ago Monty Montgomery, a key Global Samaritan Resources volunteer, and I were in Iraq with Eskander Salih and Huner Askar from the Barzani Charity Foundation. They are friends and partners in getting food to refugees pouring out of Syria and southern Iraq.
Near the Syrian border we visited the frontline in the ongoing war with ISIS. One Peshmerga soldier told us, “The people in Syria and southern Iraq are born in hell, live in hell, and die in hell.”
In Erbil we visited the U.S. Air Force facility where food Global Samaritan Resources sends arrives on C-130’s. We met the U.S. Army personnel who offload the food when it arrives. Our food bypasses any chance it will be stolen, sold on the black-market, or pirated by ISIS. We toured the warehouse where the food is stored and spent our week in Iraq learning how it is distributed. In Duhok and Sinjar we visited refugee camps and went inside the tiny tents and homes of people who receive the food.
These are people who long for a change in their world. These are refugees who fled the hell where they were born and lived. Once professional people like lawyers and teachers and engineers, they are now among the poorest of the poor.
They want peace. And they want to go home. I didn’t meet one refugee who said they want to come to the U.S. or Europe. They want to go home.
So… what does this have to do with Nice, France and terror?
We are helping our friends in Kurdistan (northern Iraq) provide a safe place for displaced people. This is peacemaking. It is long-term work. Like the guy who plants trees, this is for the next generation. We are investing in millions of refugee children. When they grow up we want them to think of us as the people that brought kindness and food into their hell. How might they ever think that? It’s simple. We have to do that.
In Iraq we met refugees personally. They greeted us warmly with hot tea and a thankful spirit. But we also heard their personal accounts of atrocities, terrible things too graphic to tell. They are deeply wounded people, but not without hope. We saw it in their faces and the many times we heard, “Tell our American friends, ‘Thank you.’”
Trouble in that part of the world is a great darkness. Sending food won’t change the darkness into light or fix the conflict. But we can gather candles and light the way for many. We can show our love for a child, a family, and an entire community. This is bringing light into dark places.
No one knows the number of lives and future decisions sending food will impact. But this is the answer to the question, “What does sending food have to do with Nice, France and terror?” Maybe not much today, but maybe everything tomorrow.
We cannot, as Christians, do nothing. We should not, as Americans do nothing. Arguing politics and policy accomplishes little, if anything.
So what can we do? One US Army Sargent told us, “Keep sending food. Sending more compassion and kindness than we send bombs is our only hope.” I asked him how many others in the U.S. were sending food? He paused for a moment then said, “You guys in Abilene, Texas are the only ones.”
Abilene and Global Samaritan are sending kindness and hope. It is something we can actually do in response to terror.