Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri Schaivo

Terri Schaivo's life or death balanced precariously through a feeding tube for more than fifteen years until today. During those fifteen years, nine hundred and sixty thousand dollars was spent on hospital bills, years of legal disputes that went from low courts through seven levels of court appeals, to the Congress of the United States of America, to the United States Supreme Court, to the Supreme Court of Florida, and finally ended with her death today. For the past two months, Terri Schaivo's life was debated in court, in Congress, and at every water cooler in the country. Today, she passed away. There has been an outcry among supporters of Terri's right to live, and these supporters have largely cried with the same call. "The courts are permitting Doctors to starve a woman to death." I don't take a side on whether or not Terri Schaivo should have lived or died. What I take a side on is the absolutely inexcusably hypocritical stand being taken by that statement. Close to a million dollars has been spent over fifteen years in order to feed a woman who lacked the cognitive power to smile. Now that this woman has passed away, her supporters are crying murder.

Meanwhile: The United Nations World Food Programme states that in Darfur, Sudan more than two million people will require food assistance this year as a result of drought and a horrible Genocide. No one is saying anything. One woman unable to smile died today and the nation is split. Two million people are going hungry in Darfur, and no one says a word. The courts may have permitted Terri Schaivo to starve to death, but until we begin doing something for the children who are starving, I don't think we have a right to complain about the starvation of one brain dead woman in Florida. Maybe that's insensative. Maybe it's insensative to continue turning a blind eye to 2 million people in the Sudan.

I don't want to claim that the death of Terri Schaivo is unimportant. My friend Cris is right. Life is life. The death of Terri Schaivo is not lessened because of the tragedy in Darfur. My goal is to direct the outrage at the starvation of Terri Schaivo toward something practical. There are millions of people across the globe starving to death as we speak. Two hundred and twenty one milllion people are going hungry in India right now. These are people who can feel hunger pangs, people who sleep hungry at night. And we can do something. If we were as outraged about the mass starvation in Africa and India as we are about the singular starvation of Terri Schaivo, we can do something. Most of the time when I think of the mass starvation in third world countries, I feel like there is nothing practical I can do, so I put it out of mind. Recently I discovered the UN's World Food Programme. The WFP feeds millions of people each year, and they rely solely on private funding. Less than 9% of their funds are directed toward overhead. The rest goes directly to those in need. You can make a donation to the WFP and make a difference right now. You can help feed people who are starving in Africa and India right now. And if you want, you can select the exact part of the world that you want to support with your donation.

I think it's time to do something. I researched the UN's WFP and found that they rely on individual. If you want, you can give money to the WFP online by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.

According to the WFP a donation of:

$11 - Will feed and help educate one child for three months.

$21 - Will provide food for one month to a woman and three of her children while she receives job training.

$33 - Will ensure that a child is fed and educated for one year.

$99 - Will allow the WFP to purchase 5,000 cups of rice to feed a community.

If you got upset about Terri Schaivo, get up and do something about the 2 million people going hungary in Darfur tonight.

The link to donate online is below. Through the end of April, every dollar you donate will be met by a private corporation to support a movement called the Feinstein Challenge. If you decide to donate, select "Feinstein Challenge" under "How Did You Learn About Us" on the donation form and your donation will be met by the Alan Feinstein Organization.

Feel free to surf around the WFP's website before donating money to the organization. Research the WFP before you put your money where your mouth is.

The WFP Website:

Donate Online:

1 comment:

musicruby570 said...

Hey's amanda, cristin and katie's friend. Well said my friend! I've been researching the Sudan for 10 months and the whole thing is a mess. It's what I'm planning on getting master's in: Refugee studies, concentrated in Africa. Thanks for the link here too. I used my senior recital requirement as a benefit to raise money for Sudanese refugees and have been researching who would be the best and most practical to give too. I'm checking out this programme. So far they have the lowest overhead. keep up the fight of awareness and's the only way anyone will ever care. -Amanda