December 30, 2004

The Crises Before the Disaster

The .The urgency of addressing the fiercesome circumstances created by injustice and poverty, toil and disaster is pressing in on the heart of the Church. To demonstrate the truth and love of Jesus to a person before she is faced with death seems to become more critical in the mind and heart of the Church in a week such as this.

But what of the people groups affected by the December 26 earthquake and killer waves? Looking at "yesterday's" news (news from the past year or two) we can see that many people in quake- and tsunami-affected regions were in dire need years before the Indian Ocean pulled back from the shore.

Aceh (pronounced ah CHAY):

  • The Australian: Jakarta rules Aceh off limits [November 15, 2004]: "About 2300 suspected rebels and civilians have been killed in Aceh since Jakarta launched a military crackdown to crush the separatists in May last year, following the collapse of peace talks in Tokyo. The oil and gas-rich province is now operating under civil emergency status, yet thousands of Indonesian troops remain stationed there."

  • Indonesia badmouths international community over Aceh [June 30, 2003]: "On May 19 [2003], Aceh's fragile peace process collapsed, and the Indonesian government declared a state of emergency in the rebellious province.

    "Little over a month later, military operations have resulted in hundreds of deaths, hundreds of arrests, intimidation of government critics, controls on the press, and restrictions on access."

  • VIEWPOINT: Aceh's war centres on resources [July 23, 2003]: "While world attention is focused on the postwar chaos in Iraq, Indonesia has launched an invasion of resource-rich Aceh (pronounced ah CHAY), in the country's biggest military assault since the 1975 invasion of East Timor."

Sri Lanka:

  • CRISIS PROFILE: Sri Lanka grapples with peace process [October 27, 2004]: "Despite a two-year ceasefire, violence and suffering are still a fact of life for many in Sri Lanka. Some 64,000 have died in 20 years of bitter civil war. An uneasy standoff between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels has left the country deeply fractured and the after effects of the war linger.

    "Hundreds of thousands of refugees are unable to return to their homes. Millions of landmines and explosive debris have left large areas of land uninhabitable. Malnutrition is widespread among children in conflict-stricken areas, while boys and girls under 15 continue to be abducted and trained for war.

    "Routine killings and suicide bombings are no longer an everyday occurrence, but they’re still a part of life for many. Nobody wants a return to all out war, but with deep divisions on both sides, a permanent peace seems a long way away."

  • Fact Sheet on Child Soldiers in Sri Lanka [2004]: " The LTTE has used children as soldiers throughout the conflict. In the 1990’s some studies found that 40-60% of LTTE soldiers killed in battle were children under the age of eighteen. Children have also been used as suicide bombers. ...Children are typically 14 or 15 years old when they are recruited, though some are as young as 11. Over 40% of the LTTE's child soldiers are girls."

Please get informed, pray, give, and get going in whatever way you can.

Posted by Amber at December 30, 2004 02:07 PM

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