By Comparison

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos is concerned that the humanitarian crisis in Syria will grab the headlines and edge out those places which can compete with it in terms of unmet needs and horrific stories, places like Yemen, the Sahel and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact she thinks the human emergencies in those places will dominate the coming year. Women and children are most at risk and in Syria many aid workers have been kicked out. After a visit to Damascus, Amos reported that she is “extremely worried” by the impact of the violence on ordinary Syrians. I am always moved by the inequalities of the world. While we in the West are ushering in the new year with customary panache, many thousands are struggling and suffering in ways that are not possible for most of us to comprehend. People around me talk about holiday and other stresses and enumerate various frustrations. And I wonder if, by comparison, we ought to question the reason for feeling those stresses and frustrations in the first place?