Death on the World Stage

The siege on a mall in Nairobi (Jerome Delay/AP)

The siege on a mall in Nairobi (Jerome Delay/AP)

Despite life in my world being rather uneventful at the moment—and Monday bringing the start of another tedious work week (for lots of people, I imagine)—events around the globe continue to result in the deaths of innocent people. Check the latest news stories from nearly any source and you will notice just how destructive life has become in some parts of the world… so destructive that in many cases, life itself may be in jeopardy.

About the only good news to be found comes from Nairobi, Kenya, where a standoff with Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terrorists seems to be coming to an end. The terrorists took control of Westgate Shopping Mall last Saturday and launched a siege that killed roughly 62 people. Negotiations began and some hostages were freed, but apparently things weren’t moving fast enough for authorities. Security forces moved in Monday and based on the latest reports, authorities now have control of the four-story building.

None of this changes the fact that more than 60 people died in this deadly attack.

Our next bit of international chaos comes from Islamabad, Pakistan. Sunday morning, members of All Saints Church in northwest Pakistan were attending morning services when suicide bombers entered the building and detonated their explosives among the congregation of 500 people present there. The attack left roughly 120 people wounded—at least ten of them in critical condition—and killed 81 people, including children.

Protests erupt in Islamabad (AFP)

Protests erupt in Islamabad (AFP)

The attack is being hailed as one of the deadliest against the Christian community in Pakistan. It was perpetrated by a Taliban splinter group who claimed the attack was prompted by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“Until and unless drone strikes are stopped, we will continue to strike wherever we will find an opportunity against non-Muslims,” a spokesperson for the group said recently.

I guess what bothers me most—aside from the loss of innocent lives—is that drone strikes don’t happen in a vacuum. They are prompted by violence and destruction that warrant the use of armed retaliation, in this case armed and remote-controlled retaliation. Personally, I would love for drone strikes and other military action to never be necessary. Unfortunately, this likely will never happen since violence seems to perpetuate more violence. And until one side is willing to lay down their arms and seek more peaceful resolutions to the world’s problems, you can’t expect the other side to do the same.

Something has to give, though, because too many people are dying simply because others are too resistant to real, lasting and nonviolent change.

Our final example of “death the world over” doesn’t involve foreign governments, terrorist attacks or military actions; it involves Mother Nature.

Flooding from Typhoon Usagi in China (Aaron Favila/AP)

Flooding from Typhoon Usagi in China (Aaron Favila/AP)

The people of southern China were just slammed by yet another typhoon, this one known as Typhoon Usagi. The powerful storm with sustained winds over 100 mph made landfall late Sunday and has thus far ended the lives of at least 25 people. Usagi also left several people dead and others missing in the Philippines, while injuring a handful of others in Taiwan before finally reaching China. It has currently weakened into a tropical depression, but sadly, the damage has already been done. And there is always a chance the death toll will rise before the waters of this terrible storm recede. Let’s all hope that doesn’t happen, though.

Life is hard for many of us, but we should always remember that things could be much, much worse. The victims of these terrible events understand now just how quickly life can change, and we can all benefit from learning this valuable lesson before something similar happens to us.

Posted on September 23, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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