“It is the nature of compassion to associate with misfortune.” – Thomas Paine
The true words of an American child–a human child: “they are us; we are them.” It was the simple yet profound statement of Rachel Corrie during a speech she gave while in fifth grade in the State of Washington:
“I’m here for other children. I’m here because I care. I’m here because children everywhere are suffering, and because 40,000 people die each day from hunger. I’m here because those people are mostly children. We have got to understand that the poor are all around us, and we’re ignoring them. We have got to understand that these deaths are preventable. We have got to understand that people in third world countries think, and care, and smile, and cry, just like us. We have got to understand that they are us. We are them. My dream is to stop hunger by the year 2000. My dream is to give the poor a chance. My dream is to save the 40,000 people who die each day. My dream can and will come true, if we all look into the future, and see the light that shines there.”
Rachel died five years ago, when she was run over by a bulldozer in the Gaza strip. She was 23 years old, and she was living her long-time dream, standing for the poorest people in the poorest regions of the world. Her death was an unnecessary result of bad government, and her dream is still being processed.
Nations want peace and prosperity. Their governments do not. No regular human wants another to suffer, and no government that creates human suffering should be allowed to persist. How simple it is, “if we all look into the future, and see the light that shines there.”
For a thousand who look into the future and see darkness, there is one who sees light. Humankind would do well to listen to those ones. As for compassion, Rachel Corrie was the term personified.