Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday in Holy Week, Hebrews - Running the race

Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us… Heb 12.1

“We leave without expecting to return” – meeting the firefighters of Gaza

Each day during Lent, I read the texts for the day and I read news from Israel/Palestine. It is truly terrifying how the stories are linked. God certainly knows our frailties. Today I’d like you to read a story from Gaza—a place we often think is beyond hope. These emergency workers restore my hope.

As you read, please remember that Gaza’s problems are caused by Israel’s occupation—Israeli soldiers have total control over everything that is brought into or take out of Gaza. It’s not a problem of money, but of military action, that prevents Gaza from functioning. And your tax dollars provide $3B in US foreign aid to Israel, which funds its military.

From the International Solidarity Movement Gaza:
“Yesterday I visited the Civil Defence Directorate, which provides the fire and rescue service in Gaza, as well as some emergency ambulances and marine rescue. These guys have a reputation as being fearless, as well as being the most vulnerable to attack during times of war. In the 2008-9 war, 13 Civil Defence workers were killed in the line of duty, with 31 injured. This includes medics killed in their ambulances by snipers and firefighters injured by secondary drone attacks while rescuing victims of the initial strikes. These risks are additional to jobs which are considered dangerous even in peaceful countries like the UK and USA….

Let’s start with a familiar theme in Gazan emergency services: shortages. After meeting with the Red Crescent and Department of Health, looking around a few dozen ambulances, an Emergency Department and interviewing a variety of health care workers, I’ve seen the same issues occurring endlessly. No equipment, limited or no drugs, no electricity, expensive fuel, training problems and unacceptable risk in times of conflict. The impact of each issue varies according to the service (for example, the electricity cuts are a huge problem for Al-Shifa hospital, whereas the fuel crisis has more of an impact on the emergency services) but the end result is the same – hamstrung services and an impossible situation for managers and workers.”

Read more….The article goes on to describe the imaginative and creative ways the emergency workers cope with the situation in Gaza. It is an amazing story of hope. 

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