Real Suffering in Real Time

Photo by Fa Barboza

By Wayne Saalman

HELL ON EARTH IS SURELY THIS: your city surrounded by battalions of soldiers, by tanks and armored vehicles, by people who are under orders to destroy all that you possess. Hell on earth is being encircled by combatants who are bombing you and your fellow citizens indiscriminately and relentlessly, mercilessly blasting holes in your city’s government facilities, its public offices, its apartment blocks and homes with mortars and missiles.

Hiding in basements and bomb shelters, the citizenry are forced to endure the barrages for hours on end, listening in terror as the thuds and the blasts grow ever closer. They are made to sit wondering if they will live through the next minute, the next hour, the next day and the night to come.

Others attempt to flee with just the clothes on their backs and a small bag of possessions. These become the refugees we see pouring across neighboring borders in a desperate bid to stay alive, to save themselves and their loved ones as the bombardments go on.

We who see it from afar, safe and sound in our homes, are witnesses to these war crimes, but we cannot act. We see the pain, the real suffering in real time, live on television and we cannot but feel the anguish and the horror. We see the traumatized faces, the children crying their eyes out and the inhumanity of that pains us too.

Unconscionable. All of it is simply and plainly unconscionable.

How, we wonder, can there be such an event going on in the 21st century? How can these selfish leaders be so heartless and ruthless? How can they be willing to commit any atrocity in order to get what they want?

Only what is it they want? It is their neighbor’s land, their neighbor’s resources, their neighbor’s hard-won lot in life. To steal it is their obvious wish, their unethical, evil and cruel intention. That intention is put out into the world in plain sight for all to see.


No matter what goes on at a governmental level, there is never an ethical right to destroy the lives and livelihoods of the people living in another country. Yes, we know that all governments around the world are filled with people who collude to seek advantage for their own. Pessimists will say that there is corruption at the highest levels of virtually every country around the globe and to some extent they may be right. An optimist will say that, despite that, most human beings are good at heart and desire peace and wellbeing for one and all, no matter where they happen to live in the world.

These are tough times with more crises brewing and playing out than at any other time in history. The political and spiritual challenges are many and cataclysmic. Many are fighting merely to survive, they are fighting for their lives. What this tells us is that humanity has once again shown itself to be woefully incapable of pursuing its higher ideals. It talks the talk but cannot rise in an overwhelmingly collective manner to ensure that there is liberty and justice for all. After thousands of years of civilization, humanity is still mired in territorial disputes which require weaponry for defense and the sale of weaponry for its material enrichment, while a few, the most ruthless among us, use that weaponry to wage war.

When will we ever learn?

When will we ever put an end to real suffering in real time now that it can be streamed live around the world and beamed into every quarter of the planet?

Those who kill, shame us.

To do something about such conduct is the only way forward for humanity. Fortunately, we do have leaders who are indeed taking action to the best of their ability and we have millions of people from countless countries drumming up support and offering financial and material aid to the afflicted, also to the best of their ability.

To do the laudable thing is to do the right thing.

There is no other way for humanity to reach its full political and spiritual potential if we do anything less.




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Wayne Saalman

Wayne Saalman

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