From bystanders to champions: Reimagining our role in crisis

Dear Editor,
IN my journey through the world of development and fundraising, I’ve been starkly confronted with the profound disparities in global responses to crises. From the overlooked tragedy in Tigray, where hundreds of thousands have suffered, to the contrasting extensive support for Ukraine, the imbalance is glaring.

The silent echoes of forgotten wars, like those in Tigray, against the backdrop of the mobilised aid for Ukraine, reveal a selective global attention that is deeply troubling. This tale of two crises—one spotlighted, the other shadowed—underscores a critical gap in our collective empathy and support.

As the tensions between Guyana and Venezuela highlight the urgent need for diplomacy, it’s clear we must reimagine our approach to crisis response, championing a cause that brings forgotten crises into the global spotlight, ensuring equity, compassion, and actionable support for all communities in distress.

The war with Ukraine started in February 2022, and it has torn apart countless lives. The world hasn’t stood by idly; instead, Ukraine has received an incredible $278 billion in help from across the globe, showing just how much people can pull together in response to tragedy. But there’s another story not getting the same spotlight—Tigray’s ordeal, which started back in November 2020.

The scale of suffering is shocking, with deaths potentially reaching up to 600,000 due to the fighting, lack of food, and disease. But Tigray’s call for help often goes unnoticed, $2 billion in aid, starkly highlighted, showcasing a profound imbalance in global compassion and assistance.

This is a strong wake-up call that we must improve how we listen and offer support to every place facing trouble.
The glaring gap in global aid and attention casts a spotlight on the simmering tensions between Guyana and Venezuela, spurred by Venezuela’s aggressive territorial claims. Under the intelligent leadership of President Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, Guyana is pursuing peace, choosing the path of diplomacy and dialogue over conflict, in stark contrast to President Maduro’s confrontational approach.

Faced with Venezuela’s looming threat, Guyana’s limited military means underscores not just the challenges of small nations navigating global politics but also the critical necessity for a more balanced, human-centered approach to supporting all nations in crisis.

The crises in Ukraine, Tigray, and the tensions between Guyana and Venezuela reveal a stark truth: Not every crisis receives the attention and aid it needs, unveiling a world where support is unevenly distributed, often swayed by geopolitical interests, media spotlight, and deep-seated biases.

This reality demands a re-evaluation of our approach to global aid, advocating for a system where assistance is based purely on humanitarian need rather than visibility or political considerations.
Embracing diplomacy, dialogue, and mediation as tools for peace, the international community must commit to treating every affected individual not as a statistic, but as a person with hopes and dreams.

By getting involved in teaching others, standing up for what is right, and offering direct help, we’re all pushing for a fairer way to share support and kindness. Imagine a world where everyone counts, no matter where they’re from, what they look like, or where they live—a big leap forward in solving our problems together, with kindness and caring for each other above everything else.

The world’s on fire right now, from Ukraine to Tigray and that whole mess between Guyana and Venezuela. It seems like how much help a place gets depends on where it is, which just isn’t right. We need to start focusing on people, all people, no matter what’s going on.

It’s a call to the global community to reassess and realign our response strategies, ensuring aid and attention reach those most in need based on their suffering, not their strategic importance or media visibility.

This collective effort to shine a light on overlooked crises and champion the cause of peace and stability is not just a matter of policy but of moral imperative. By fostering a world where empathy and action are driven by the needs of the afflicted, where diplomacy and dialogue prevail, we inch closer to a future where every individual, regardless of where they are, feels valued and supported in their hour of need.
Haimdat Sawh


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