The Invisible Graveyard
To the heads of the largest and most influential global media companies : News Corp, AOL Time Warner, Walt Disney Co, Bertelsmann AG, Viacom, Vivendi Universal, BBC.
Between you, you have the world’s attention. When you speak, the nations listen. When you report the news, people stop and look. Each time we switch on the television, pick up a magazine or read a newspaper, we are relying on you to tell us the important things going on in the world. As crises unfold around the globe, we trust that you will be there to cover it. As disaster strikes, we know your reporters will be on the ground relaying key events to us.
You were there when the world went into shock and mourning as the World Trade Center towers crumbled to the streets of New York before our very eyes. Nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken that day. We all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing as we heard of that tragedy. As the world ground to a halt, nothing else mattered. You brought the images into our homes, and allowed us to grieve with the world that day and in the weeks, months and years that followed…
Now imagine that all those lives lost were those of young children – all under the age of five – how much more would we have mourned the devastation. Now imagine that ten similar attacks took place around the globe that day, with the loss of life totalling 30,000 in just one day.
That very day, this tragedy did happen. It happened again the next day. And the next. Taking 30,000 innocent children each day. This happened daily, before September 11th, 2001 and every single day since. Today, as you read this, the death toll rises, another child slipping away every 3 seconds.
The real tragedy is that these children are not dying because of terrorism or war, but simply because they are poor. Each of these deaths is entirely preventable. Yet we as a world do little, and look the other way.
Why this huge scale tragedy is not reported remains a mystery to me. Yes, these numbers sometimes seem overwhelming. Too enormous to even begin to comprehend. But as I sit writing to you, I am acutely aware that the daily death toll is the equivalent of the entire population of the town where I live. If I woke tomorrow to find the entire population of Tonbridge wiped out, I know that this nation would want answers. The country would be in mourning. The world would certainly get to hear about it. No-one would put up with this happening here in the UK, Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia… So why do we allow it to happen in other parts of the world? We pride ourselves on being civilised nations, promoting equality and diversity and not standing for racial prejudice, yet we are willing to allow ‘others’ to die. Why? Perhaps because they are different from us – their race, their status, their wealth?
Or perhaps it is because they are children that they do not matter to us. After all, they are too young to vote so the politicians don’t care, they have no wealth and so the business world turns away, their nameless faces are too remote to be noticed by the media; ultimately they have no voice.
We call on you to give them a voice. This world produces enough. It produces more than enough to provide clean water, good sanitation, nutritious food, education and hope to every man, woman and child. Whilst the West has mourned the loss of financial stability over the last two years, over 20,000,000 children died and we looked the other way. Whilst we grapple over which of our luxuries to have to manage without in these lean financial times, our brothers and sisters of the human race are grappling with the issue of whether the next meal will be their last.
You can be the stage upon which the tide turns. That those children no longer remain nameless and without a voice. That their story will be heard. You will be amazed, the world will be inspired and this tragedy of all tragedies will be brought to an end. You can be the ones to break the biggest news story of all time – that of the invisible graveyard.
(This letter was inspired by Walter, Amni, Rayna and Francisca – our precious sponsored children.)