If we listen close enough, we can hear the dead talk to us. We don't hear it in our usual languages or sounds but in what their absence reveals.
A recent earthquake has left tens of thousands of Haitians dead. They died because the buildings and houses they lived in were not strong enough to withstand the quake. Their deaths remind us of the sad state of human rights when so many are so vulnerable.
But the living may soon envy them because most will lack the basic necessities of clean water, food and shelter soon after the relief efforts cease.
Around the world, most people live under similar circumstances. According to the World Bank, one in four people in developing countries live on less than US $1.25 per day. Almost thirty wars rage on, with the vast majority of casualties civilians. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there are parts of Africa in which a stunning forty percent of the people do not have clean running water.
When we look outside our own backyard, it is clear that the world has become a place where the living are starting to envy the dead.
Some say that events like the Haitian earthquake are within God's will. But what kind of God would turn a blind eye to poverty and then cause further harm to helpless people?
If there is a master plan that involves making earth a hell for many of those who live in it, it is time to change the plan. We need a plan for human rights in which the nations who have wealth (much of it taken from nations who have little) will guarantee basic living conditions for every person in the world.
How would this happen?
It would happen if nations like the United States would admit their complicity in starting wars without any foundation like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It would happen if all troops from said wars were brought home and all money toward these wars were diverted to rebuild water supplies, housing and other infrastructure of the nations harmed.
It would happen if representatives from the war making nations focused attention on building a middle class in each of the poor nations to pave the way for democracy and the respect of human rights.
If we can mourn for the victims in Haiti, we can certainly plan now to minimize future tragedies around the world. So what is stopping us?
We think that every nation is responsible for its own destiny. If other people are suffering, we may well pay to charities or feel sad for them, but not many of us want to get to the root of the problem of poverty.
As a nation, we lack a conscience. Perhaps that is why we really envy the dead who tried to call us to our better selves.