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When Olympic Powers Collide



Remember the Sochi Olympics? Just ten days ago were we not mesmerized by the twizzles of ice dancing? How quickly that artistry and spirit of sportsmanship has degenerated into a colossal confrontation between Russia, Europe and the United States as they spar over Ukraine.


While this conflict presently exhibits some restraint, a crucial question must nevertheless be posed: What group of people is most likely to suffer and to die? In the century since World War I some 60-70 percent of total death has been among non-combatant civilians – usually women and children. The British Medical Journal concludes, “In many war zones, violent deaths are often only a tiny proportion of overall deaths. Populations face a deterioration of their already poor health status, and excess deaths from infectious diseases will usually outnumber deaths due to direct violence.” Highlighting a survey from the Congolese war, “Of an excess mortality of 2.5 million, only 350,000 were because of direct violence; the others died from malnutrition and disease.”(1) We need only observe the ongoing crisis in Syria to be reminded how very quickly such confrontations may become deadly. Over 70,000 people have died.


What can YOU do on behalf of people living in nations of civil unrest? INMED is convening a gathering of concerned individuals like yourself: the Exploring Medical Missions Conference (EMMC). On May 30-31 some 500 will gather in Kansas City around the theme Sticks In A Bundle Are Unbreakable to discover what tremendous good may result from joining our efforts. Also represented at the EMMC will be relief organizations heavily committed to growing hope within conflict zones – groups with whom you may volunteer like Heart To Heart International and Baptist Global Response.


The heartening unity surrounding the Sochi Olympics need not be forgotten. Within the crucible of today’s conflict lies opportunity for virtue to become solidified by people like you who in unity take action.
(1) Hargreaves S. Conference addresses the impact of war on health. BMJ. 2002;325(7369):856.

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