Intentional Acts of Kindness

Love checklists? So do I!

If you need ideas to help you start doing spectacularly little--and yet kind--actions that make a difference, this is for you. 

Happy Fourth of July!

I was watching a ridiculous School House Rock movie with my kids earlier today, with a nifty song about fireworks and why we celebrate today. You know, like the end of tyranny, having human rights, and the ability to make a life for oneself and one’s family.

Sometimes I am not so sure about our revolution. Of course, I hate tyranny just like any other, but sometimes I wonder if we didn’t fight it, would we would wind up being like Canada? Just without the loss of life through revolution? They are rather free, right? But honestly, I can’t judge what the founders of our country did. Maybe they really did do the most noble, brave, and loving thing possible for the good of all.

Regardless of their motives, I- we all- reap the benefit of it. The United States is far from a perfect country and there are a lot of things I disagree with that we do.

Flag Against Storm Clouds by Moniquef12

But more than that, there is so much to celebrate about being a citizen of “The Land of the Free.” Because we really do have some of the most powerful freedom available to us. We can mostly do what we want to, as long as it generally isn’t hurting others. We can worship how and where we want to, we can argue about our government, try to change our government, women aren’t nearly that oppressed, our children have free access to school, and we can even own weapons legally in order in ensure our freedom.

Yes, yes. It isn’t perfect. I know.

But over all, currently, we are so. very. amazingly. free.

Take it from me, someone who regularly writes about injustice in the world: We’ve got it good! I am so thankful to live here and have the rights afforded to citizens of the United States.

Perspective: Syria

Sometimes we need to be reminded of this. A year or two ago I wrote this post, Revolution: The Hunger Games to remind us that there are some seriously bad governments around the world.

One of these countries was Syria.

Currently there are about three million Internally Displaced People (IDPs) moving around the country, hoping to find safer places to survive. Even so, every day 8000 more refugees flee Syria into neighboring countries; 1.5 million people have already fled.

I have an acquaintance who was going through a hard time, and was frustrated that he couldn’t talk about it with his usually tight-knit family. I was encouraging him to continue that relationship, and  just to talk with them. That was when I was surprised to discover his family is in Syria, living in the hardest hit city of Homs. To state it mildly, his family is in a war-zone, and rather preoccupied with surviving.

“Oh, that? Your family is being bombed? Ooo. That is tough. I guess in that case I understand your dilemma. Sorry about that. Ya, maybe you can take up with them again another time (I hope).”

Awkward moment.

Revolutions are essentially civil wars. According to international law, we are technically not allowed to intervene in civil wars, well, unless we can prove there is a genocide happening, but, well, that is just complicated. And most Nation-States don’t usually want to get involved anyway, at least not until something major like resources or world peace is also at stake.

So, a massive amount of people are dying or fleeing in a conflict, which isn’t abnormal in multiple places around the world at once, and really, there isn’t too much we can do about it (at least from a political sense). And when we do intervene, by giving weapons or support to one side or another, in my opinion, that is kinda sketchy.

Like the whole helping the Taliban win a war against communism. Which bad government was really worse? In Afghanistan in the 70’s, we took our bets against communism, which might have actually really helped global peace for awhile. But, in the end it bit us in the butt, with the whole 9/11 thing.

The problem then is that you might have a terrible government, but you might not necessarily have rebels who are any better. In our case, in the United States I feel like it worked out well for us. The rebels, our nation’s founders created a pretty decent democracy. We had some issues at first, but we got better over the years for awhile. Then there was the whole civil war, in which case the rebels, promoting slavery, eventually got squelched, but not without an insane amount of people dying. But even in that case, I think the government that won out (not the confederates- sorry South) was the better option.

In other words, so far in the USA, I think we’ve been lucky.

Sadly, the thing with Syria (and now again with Egypt- check this out: 33 MILLION PROTESTERS this week- biggest protest ever!) is that these revolutions have already been going on for a couple years already, as they started during the Arab Spring of 2011, when many other traditional Muslim countries revolted.

Could you imagine living in a nightmare of a war for over two years? Or being a refugee in a foreign country, living in a camp indefinitely, no real way to provide for yourself or your family and no assurance you will have a home to return to?

Read that last sentence again. Try to comprehend yourself in that position.

Throughout history, many, many, many people have found themselves in this position. Just because I haven’t ever lived in a war-zone doesn’t mean it isn’t reality. My ancestors were in them. And my neighbors, even far away in Syria, are in one now.

Everyday Homs, Syria. (Image retrieved from Back Bencher)

Here is is a short article, A Child’s View of the Syrian Crisis to help our perspective. You can learn more by following the issue on the UN Refugee website.

Charity Ideas for Action

One thing that is hard about revolution in other places around the world is knowing how to help the victims of the conflict. I can easily imagine myself being one of these people, life torn apart by unfortunate events. Being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Honestly, sometimes I am not sure we can do much but pray. Thank God for what the blessings and freedom we have, and use our freedom to help others. We can pray for those in Syria and the refugees of this crisis to find freedom themselves- even if not externally, internally.

If you’d like to give to help refugees in Syria – over half which are children – you can through World Vision towards refugees camp in Jordan and Lebanon, even helping create child safe places to play. Or here is another analysis of organizations working in the area with victims found in the cross-fires to consider supporting:  Donate To Help Syrian Refugees.

You can also do a GivingGlobal fundraiser, or choose one of these projects to help, even give Global Giving gift cards as presents to friends to help efforts in Syria.

If you find another way to help them, let me know!

Related Posts:

The Foreign Aid Myth (And Other Budget Stuff)

A Current Event: The Movie Star, the Nuba Mountains, and a Genocide

Revolution: The Hunger Games

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