In my blog postings I have frequently written about the Christian fortitude of Flemings during the Protestant Reformation. We admire that fortitude today because often those individuals followed their conscience inspite of the very real risk to their homes, selves and families in practicing their Christian beliefs.
Yesterday, in an article entitled, "Hate Engulfs Christians in Pakistan", Sabrina Tavernise, a well-known reporter for the New York Times reported on the heart-breakingly unjust murder, rape, looting, and torching of more than 100 Pakistani Christian homes in an impoverished enclave.
In a followup e-mail exchange, Ms. Tavernise wrote:
"There are two families here (the other was also quoted in my story). Both are extremely needy. "
"First, the Hameeds, who had 7 from their family killed, and whose house was burned to ashes. Second, the family of Mr. Riaz, who had been saving for his daughter's wedding and for heart surgery, had the equivalent of about $3,700 looted, and his house burned to ashes. Mr. Riaz (he was also quoted in the story) is quite ill, as he has several blocked arteries (the heart surgery issue)."
Why am I posting this seemingly unconnected reference to the Flemish past? Because I believe that the Flemish Christians who endured so much and whose DNA runs through millions of Americans would have been stirred to action had they lived today. Aristotle, frequently quoted by Christian philosophers, once observed that "we become just by performing just actions". While hardly a unique thought or indeed a uniquely Christian position, to do something for another person without the possibility of recompense is.
So what can we do? If your pocketbook permits and your spirit moves you, please contact Sabrina Tavernise directly. Her e-mail address is email@example.com and let her know your interest in helping these people. The safest and most practical relief for these two families literally bereft of family, home, and resources is funds via remittance.
"The process, usually, is that Western Union gives you a number -- the passcode that allows them to pick up your donation on the Pakistani end -- so once you get that, email it to me, and we will relay it to the family.I feel absolutely confident that whatever you are generous enough to send will go directly to the families. And the money is confidential. No one will know where it is from, except the Western Union office."
There are few times in life when the opportunity presents itself to extend a hand to another individual so cleanly, directly, and immediately. If this story moved you as it has moved me I urge you to contact Ms. Tavernise.