I took this photo on May 16th as Cyclone Mahasen was blowing towards Sittwe, Burma, earlier this year. I was there with my friend, Bruce, helping to evacuate people to higher ground. As the rain poured and the people stood shivering in the wind and rain chilled air, I felt overwhelmed by the misery surrounding me:
140,000 refugees whose homes were burned down, loved ones raped, killed, or abused. Thousands of them hadn’t eaten in days, 5000 of them we were trying to help hadn’t fed their children in 6 days. Many were sleeping in grass huts on a floor of wet mud.
Miserable and desperate, like a chapter out of Dante’s Divine Comedy. “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”
They weren’t afraid of the cyclone, they were afraid of the police, and they wanted to feed their children.
The police beat them, burned down their homes, incited a city wide riot against them, prevented the delivery of food to help them survive, denied their citizenship, stole their farm lands, and desecrated their places of worship. Welcome to Burma where this is happening today.
Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need. Prov 21:13