Kosovo crisis makes Canadians recognize
their good fortune

By Chelsea Hellings
Holy Trinty Central High
Norman's Cove, Newfoundland

I sit here with a stack of newspaper articles in front of me. There is a program on CNN, and I am sure that if I turn on the radio, I will hear the same story - the story of the suffering in Kosovo.

If we listen closely, we can all learn something from this tragedy. Life is precious. Just ask one of the million or more refugees who were forced out of their homes, out of their country; away from their families.

Have you ever sat down to think how incredibly lucky we are to be living in Canada? Have you ever taken a moment to consider that everything we have can end in a heartbeat?

I am looking at an article with a three-year-old little boy in the picture. He is crying. We are told that he has been separated from his family and is now being looked after by a distant relative. Imagine how scared and lonely we would feel in his position. Imagine how scared and lonely that little boy feels right now.

Many people hate the thought of Slobodan Milosevic being compared to Hitler, arguing that Milosevic is not a threat to world peace. Others do not like to use the word atrocity when speaking of suffering in Kosovo because they say that ‘atrocity' is too harsh a word. The fact is that this is genocide. "It is the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group." And it isn't healthy, and it isn't fair, and you cannot say "well... that's life!" because it shouldn't have to be.

If you listen to the discussion on the Kosovo crisis long enough, it can be mind boggling. So we turn down our television sets and we put away our newspapers. It's a privilege that no one even considers a privilege. So, the next time you turn off your television to the crying or suffering of a refugee remind yourself how lucky you are for being able to turn it off and walk out your front door. Remind yourself that no matter how bad things seem in your life there is always someone much worse off, and caring about strangers does make a difference!