World Vision president Richard Stearns in the book, The Hole in Our Gospel: The Answer that Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World (Thomas Nelson, ECPA Christian Book of the Year, 2009)
Whenever a major jetliner crashes anywhere in the world, it inevitably sets off a worldwide media frenzy covering every aspect of the tragedy. I want you to imagine for a moment that you woke up this morning to the following headline: “One Hundred Jetliners Crash, Killing 26,500.” Think of the pandemonium this would create across the world as heads of state, parliaments and congresses convened to grapple with the nature and causes of this tragedy. Think about the avalanche of media coverage that it would ignite around the globe as reporters shared the shocking news and tried to communicate its implications for the world. Air travel would no doubt grind to a halt as governments shut down airlines and panicked air travelers cancelled their trips. The National Transportation Safety Board and perhaps the FBI, CIA, and local law enforcement agencies and their international equivalents would mobilize investigations and dedicate whatever manpower was required to understand what happened and to prevent it from happening again.
Now imagine that the very next day, one hundred more planes crashed – and one hundred more the next, and the next, and the next. It is unimaginable that something this terrible could ever happen.
But it did – and it does.
It happened today, and it happened yesterday. It will happen again tomorrow. But there was no media coverage. No heads of state, parliaments or congresses stopped what they were doing to address the crisis and no investigations were launched. Yet more than 26,500 children died yesterday of preventable causes related to their poverty, and it will happen again today and tomorrow and the day after that. Almost 10 million children will be dead in the course of a year. So why does the crash of a single plane dominate the front pages of newspapers across the world while the equivalent of one hundred planes filled with children crashing daily never reaches our ears? And even though we now have the awareness, the access, and the ability to stop it, why have we chosen not to? Perhaps one reason is that these kids who are dying are not our kid; they’re somebody else’s.