For Compelling Photos from Mia Farrow's Journeys, click here.
What is the worth of the world's conscience?
Well, apparently less than 26 helicopters. Because the UN Peacekeepers in Darfur have needed them for months. (The G-8 leaders could manage a 18 course meal for themselves, but they just can't seem to scrounge up those helicopters.)
We also know that the worth of the world's conscience is apparently a lot less than the profits to be realized through the sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics. (None of the corporations involved have forsaken their opportunity to reach the couch-potatoes among us.)
Yes, it has gone from bad to worse.
On the eve of the G-8 meeting, George W. Bush -- ever wrong, ever insipid -- cavalierly announced he is going to the opening of the Beijing Olympics, and thus gave Karthoum's protectors something for nothing.
In Hokaido, the G-8 once again failed to meet the challenge of the Darfur genocide. The leaders of the great nations said nothing new, promised nothing new, and did nothing new for the terrorized people of Darfur.
Meanwhile on the threshing floor in the Sudan, seven more UN peacekeepers have been killed by Karthoum's thugs.
While all of this was going on I was experiencing something familiar in my heart, in my bones, along in my spine, in my eyes, and reverberating through my psyche.
I asked myself, "What is this sensation?" "Where, when," I wondered aloud, "have I felt this way before?" Ah yes, at those times in my life when I took on the vigil over a loved one who was dying to live or living to die.
It is a long hard tour of duty when you stand at the doorway of death and hold it open for a loved one, waiting to see if the suffering person will come back into life or leave the body behind and move on.
Those of you who have experienced this vigil in one way or another in your life know exactly what I am talking about. Time seems to suspend. Life itself seems to suspend. Well, actually, it goes on all around you, but you slip out of it into a shadowy, chimerical netherworld between life and death, where a cold compress is a sacrament and a glimpse of recognition is a symphony.
As you drift in the neither here nor there place with the one you love, whether it is a parent, or a teacher, or a friend, or a lover, or a child, or even a stranger, you do not know if the ordeal will ever end, or how you can continue much longer in that stifling air, or if you will ever again feel the sun or hear the ocean.
And you also know this place if in your life and your consciousness you live and serve the planet itself.
Those of us who will not rationalize away what is happening in Darfur live in this netherworld.