World Humanitarian Day: A Day of Celebration & Commemoration
World Humanitarian Day is a day to salute the soldiers – these ones don’t carry guns or wear a uniform or fly a flag in support of a side. Yet they are fighting for freedom. Unlike the equally praiseworthy heroes in uniform of the two great wars, these freedom fighters are not just fighting for a free nation but a free world – A world free from disease, from hunger from poverty and from ignorance. They are feeding the hungry, arming the uneducated with books and tending the wounds of war. From Chile to China, Palestine to Pakistan. Their march and mission is global. They come in all shapes and sizes from researchers to social workers to teachers – united in their service to humanity.
World Humanitarian Day marks the day in which 22 humanitarian aid workers were killed in the bombing of UN Headquarters in Baghdad. As well as a day for celebrating the achievements of the hundreds of thousands of humanitarian workers all over the world, today should also be a day of commemoration. As in any war, in the global war on poverty, many a troop has fallen. This year and in this article, please allow me to pay tribute to just one of the heroes who laid down their life so that we could live in a healthier, happier, safer and ultimately freer world.
On May 2016 a 23-year old aid worker with Save the Children was killed Idlib, northern Syria. As a part of operation “Violet” he was delivering healthcare, food and other aid to the area. Following an airstrike on a nearby building, he was trying to save families trapped under rubble when a subsequent airstrike killed him and several others.
Of course not everyone has the brilliance or the bravery to travel to a war zone but in the words
of Valerie Amos, the eighth UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Relief Coordinator: “Everyday extraordinary things can happen when ordinary people take action.” In this digital age, the internet is exploding with opportunities. Whether you want to take a big leap and actually pursue a career in humanitarianism or whether you want to make humanitarianism a “hobby” there will be something. Passion can very easily be matched with purpose. Amnesty International, Save the Children, Oxfam, Unicef, Doctors Without Borders! The possibilities are endless. If you’re something of a writer or wordsmith, why not write for this blog! Singer or songwriter? The 2012 campaign “I Was Here” was about making your mark, by doing something good, somewhere, for someone else. The campaign had a social reach of more than 1 billion people around the world and was supported by Beyonce whose brilliant video has been viewed more than 50 million times!
Overall, World Humanitarian Day is a day where we should open up our minds and our hearts to the immense suffering around the world. Today we are witnessing the biggest refugee crisis in history. Whether you have a spare room in your house or a bit of money or even the seed of an idea for a potential solution, we all have something to give. In the words of Nelson Mandela “Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.” Be the change that you want to see in the world. Take action and become a humanitarian!
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.
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