Shared Humanity

I receive emails from Human Rights Watch (HRW). The organization does good work and I support them. Recently, the email included a picture of a man comforting another man. It’s a heartbreaking picture. One man has his arm around a man who is holding his head and is in tears.

The picture tells a story.

Someone is in pain—horrible, profound pain. The distress covers his face and threatens to break him down.

Someone tries to comfort the person who is in pain. He puts his arm around the other. His face shows his compassion.

I wanted to know who these people are and what is going on in the picture. The HRW website gave few clues, so I used Tineye to conduct a reverse-image search. I found the original picture here. The caption reads, “Migrants react after being returned to a detention center in Libya.”

The pain in the picture is real. This man tried to escape something horrible in Northern Africa. I do not know the details of his particular story, but it is all too common. He fled something awful. At sea, somewhere in the Mediterranean, he and the people on his raft faced peril. Their rescuers did not take them the rest of the way to Europe. Instead, they returned them to Libya. Now, he is in a detention center.

The picture gives me perspective on my own life. Regardless of what I face, it pales in comparison to the difficulties some people face. I can hurt for the man in the picture. I can lift him up in prayers to my God, and we, together, have a shared humanity.

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