Who is my neighbour?

Yesterday I saw

Framed in the box

Utter desperation on the tear-stained face

Of a Haitian man

Young, energetic, full of promise

At the Mexico-USA border

About to be returned to his homeland

He said he’d rather be killed

Than sent back to Haiti

To a family decimated by disasters

To a home rendered uninhabitable by an earthquake

To a failed state that has no means of repairing it

Or providing him with even the most basic sustenance

Let alone giving him a job

I asked not for the first time

Why don’t the nations who hold the purse strings of the world

Reach out to that man and others like him

And give them the hope they so desperately need

Knowing full well the reasons that they don’t

I am familiar with the arguments

I watch the news and current affairs

I read newspapers

It never ends

A new group of desperate, destitute people

Bobs up, briefly occupies the limelight

Sparks expressions of regret

Disappears from view

And we return to our lives of largesse

Never having experienced even a minute

Of what the truly impoverished endure day after day

Sometimes all their mercifully short lives

I asked, again not for the first time

What really defines humanity

Greed, selfishness, heartlessness and entitlement


Generosity and compassion

As espoused by the major religions

That so many of us claim to follow

The question, who is my neighbour

Has been eloquently answered

Who is yours

Who is mine

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