Rajendran Geetha and her three kids watched her husband be blindfolded, have his hands tied and be dragged out of their bed and their home. This would be the last time she saw him.
Kasipillai Jeyavanitha was captured with her 17-year-old daughter and put into a truck. She was then pushed out and watched her daughter disappear in the distance. This would be the last time Jeyavanitha saw her daughter.
According to the U.S. News website, May 18 marked eight years since the end of the Sri Lanka civil war in India. During this 26-year war, tens of thousands of people disappeared as the military made distressing advances to take away the people’s freedom.
An estimated 90,000 “war widows” resulted from this war, and almost 10 years later, they are still suffering from poverty and abuse as they try to support and raise their children.
U.S. News noted that the Sri Lankan government has made some effort to help these families, but sufficient progress is still pending. Protests have begun demanding that the government make an effort to find these lost souls and help those who were left behind.
So why should anyone in America care?
The obvious answer is because these are real people. Everyone matters. At Scroll, we believe each individual is a son or daughter of God. Becoming like him means we care about what, and who, he cares about.
Another answer is because this is living proof of how lucky we are to be in the United States. We are aware that the world is filled with many great countries, but for purposes of this article, we are focusing on the United States of America. Those born and raised in this country have probably never encountered and may never encounter a situation like those previously mentioned.
In the famous scene from the series The Newsroom, Jeff Daniels explains why America is no longer the greatest country in the world. He then recalls, “We sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons, we passed and struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed; we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chest. … We aspired to intelligence. … We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election.”
The news is constantly surfacing all the negative reports throughout the country. We watch politics, crime and natural disasters, etc. We deserve to be notified and we should be aware and involved. Yet there is more good than we seem to be focusing on.
We are “one nation, under God” who fights for liberty and justice for all. Yet we are letting political views, cultural differences and differing beliefs separate us from strangers, loved ones, religion, rationality and truth.
Did you know there are 1.5 million registered nonprofit organizations in the U.S.? Did you know the U.S. welcomes almost 11,000 new babies every day? Did you know that according to the Migration Policy Institute, more than 653,000 immigrants were naturalized in the United States in 2014? This resulted in 20 million naturalized U.S. citizens as a total. Naturalized, meaning citizenship is given to a foreigner after he or she has completed the requirements set by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The immigrant population is just over 42 million. People come to accomplish the American Dream. We welcome them and the qualities they add to America. We are in the land of opportunity, democracy, technology and hope. Our country was founded with the intent of each individual receiving “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
In the end, we all seek happiness, fairness and opportunity. We long to be with loved ones, as do those victims of the Sri Lanka war. Remember that we all “are created equal.”
Your doctor may have different political views, but he could also save your life one day. Your child might find a best friend from a different religion. The business owner of your favorite bakery may speak a different language. All together, we are whole.
Whether we are the “greatest country in the world” or not, we are the United States. Loving one another, seeking the good and working together is our best shot at becoming greater.