“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” | Politicians | Environment

Nick Clegg – Deputy Prime Minister – has travelled to Pakistan to ‘see for himself’ the horrific destruction that the recent flooding has caused. It annoys me that politicians always feel the need to do this, especially when environmental issues are involved. Everyone has to fly off and see the melting polar ice caps for themselves to ‘prove their green credentials.’ Not content to see the images of chaos and suffering, political leaders have to fly half way round the world to ‘see for themselves.’ I can understand politicians within Pakistan needing to go and visit, I can understand Obama needing to go to the gulf of Mexico, I can see why Bush not going straight to New Orleans was wrong.

But imagine if a leading figure from each nation had to fly with their entourage to ‘see for themselves’ what had happened when disaster struck. It becomes absurd. Especially given that these floods, hurricanes and melting ice are caused by global warming which is itself caused by the huge increase in human movement – flying in particular.

Though I am critical of the ‘virtual world’ in many ways, I think it’s also hugely beneficial: people can experience something of other areas without having to travel, without having to add tonnes of carbon emissions to confirm for themselves what must be patently true anyway. Did Clegg doubt the scale of the disaster until he’d seen it for himself? Did he not trust the television pictures or the words of his civil servants?

I’m reminded of Jesus’ words to Thomas – the disciple who had to physically witness his resurrection before he would believe:

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

I wish more people would take that line when it came to being able to act compassionately in the face of terrible disasters.


One response to ““Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” | Politicians | Environment”

  1. Some sympathy with your position, but could it not also enable Clegg to meet officials and discuss in person how our country might better be able to provide assistance, whilst also developing diplomatic relations? A show of diplomatic sympathy via video-conference or telephone call wouldn’t have the same substance. Might it also go some way towards raising the profile of the disaster?