I’ve learned that by focusing on what I can do today with what I have towards what I want I can always do something.
Sometimes my heart bleeds, right now about the children born with top teeth before lower teeth in some parts of Ethiopia (the mingi). They get killed for that, or because they are twins, because their mother wasn’t married, or is married, but without the blessings of elders.
I’ve been thinking about it for a week, it stays on my heart. There are so many bad habits I have, my country has, the world has, this is just one, but it really stays on my heart.
My husband and I were watching “Omo Child: The River and The Bush,” produced by John Rowe and Lale Labuko. I really didn’t want to watch it at all, my daughter and son were watching with us and we had just watched “One Child Nation” a movie about many Chinese babies being killed. My daughter saw the Chinese babies in the trash dumps in black plastic bags and she said that she loved them so much, I saw a preserved baby in a jar who looked so much like my own son, the hard thing was his smile, he looked so happy and grateful, yet the ocean of circumstances added up to a beautiful and wonderful and male baby still being killed. It wasn’t just the girls (even though that’s not fine to kill girls either). I was so disappointed in myself, in my people, that they got the math wrong.
China was legitimately worried about everyone starving to death, they were over a billion people, the population was exploding and food production was crawling forward. But it never needed to be one child, two would have worked. They killed so many babies, they force sterilized woman, babies were killed before term, at term, as newborns, they were not always mercy killed, sometimes because their parents hoped they would be rescued they were left in the market and died slowly of exposure, what a horrible thing to have happened. But at least it’s over now. Now there are too many old families with not enough children to care for them, so the equation of how many children could be fed was re-examined and it never made sense for it to be one… the way the population control happened could have been so much more humane, even at the same cost, if only there hadn’t been so much fear that it was done in a panic that overcame all humanity, dignity, reason. If only.
My very good friend was born in China, her family moved to Japan to have a second child and they moved here for work, so I know someone in my very small circle of life who was directly affected by the one-child policy.
So I was disappointed in my own people, that we are all so unquestioning, I didn’t question the policy myself, it didn’t affect me since my ancestors left China for Hawaii, but all the same, it seemed like it made sense to me, I never questioned it.
If I did question it, I thought it was unfair to prefer boys to girls, I didn’t think, killing already born babies is wrong how can it be stopped.
I felt to blame partially, even though I couldn’t have done anything and was born in the wrong time period to do anything. I felt to blame because I didn’t mentally challenge the right of it.
Then I learned for the first time about mingi, killing already born babies for getting teeth in the top before the bottom and other stigmas. It is similar in a way because it’s believed that if they stay the village will starve from a curse. In a way it’s the same dynamic, fear of starvation, causing killings that do affect food consumption, but in a more complicated way.
I don’t know much about Ethiopia, but I really hope there is some way I can support the people who know more than I do to be able to help save those babies.
I don’t want to talk about abortion, I am in favor of abortion, I know that mothers in most places only have the energy to raise a certain amount of children in modern countries, if they can abort unwanted pregnancies including rape pregnancies then they will more likely treat the children they raise later with more love and patience. There is a difference between killing babies unborn vs born.
It seems like everyone would agree it is wrong to kill an already born baby, yet it happens and we don’t stop it.
Lale Labuko did end the mingi practice in his village and saved 37 children, but there are still many other villages doing it.
It’s a hard issue, the government outlawed it, but yet people do it because it is there culture. It calls for not war, not government intervention, but cultural intervention, cultural change.
Removing the children requires supporting them, changing the practice is a more sustainable solution, but it is so ethically twisted.
Who has the right to ask other people to change their cultures? But on the other hand who has the right to practice culture if it kills others (like jihad and the crusades)? If you can’t kill others who are innocent, can you kill ones who have murdered without being guilty of murder as well? Is there a difference between a soldier and an assassin? Is there a difference between murdering people and eating meat? I think so, but I can feel that it’s a fine line.
I think it’s wrong to kill babies that are already born and healthy, (though not ones who need a huge amount of life support that is insanely expensive), but then who gets to define healthy? Does that mean not depressed if depression is an illness? I don’t think so. Does that mean not retarded? I’m not even sure honestly.
I haven’t drawn clear moral maps of all my ethics, but I’m sure killing babies already alive and healthy violates them.
However isn’t that a parenting choice? Or is it? How far are children in their parent’s care? But what of the parents who refuse mingi and can’t protect their babies from the village as a whole.
It’s been about a week of thinking about it and I can’t really decide what to do about it.
I’m not sure if I have the right to judge the situation without knowing more about it, I’m not sure if the model works in a larger way I don’t understand, I’m not able to provide personally for all the orphans who would be saved if they were all taken away from their villages, I’m not able to communicate with the villagers that their babies would not cause plague and if I could if it would matter, I’m not sure how I could help or if I should help. I’m not sure if I shouldn’t have been focusing on teaching my two kids or loving them in all the seconds I was worried about the babies half a world away. But no matter how unsure I am if I can help or how I can help or if I can help, I can’t spin the situation in any way where it is the right thing to let two-year-old children die because their top teeth have grown in before their bottom teeth.
If nothing else it seems like teeth removal should be an option… I wonder if a march of peace and singing would be enough to end the practice. I wonder what could be done, but I don’t know and perhaps that is why other people also hesitate to act on behalf of the innocent.
After watching “One Child Nation” the last thought I had was, at least it’s over (killing live babies in China) and after watching “Omo Child” I don’t have that closure.
It’s something I want to stop, but I have no idea if I will be able to do anything to stop it at all.
However I think the very first thing in any bad situation is awareness, if we all know about this, smarter people than me, kinder people than me, more powerful people than me can take steps, find a way and I’m sure the greater the public awareness the greater the minds and hearts facing a problem, the better odds we have at ending this situation that our distant cousins are still facing.
In 2020 isn’t it time that curses of ourselves on ourselves, curses of one culture on itself and curses of one culture on other ones all end?
At least start to end?
To what extent the human heart is willing to live in a panic of fear, that is what allows the cruelty to happen, what we still have to fear is fear itself. For humanity can overcome change, challenge, and adversity, but the biggest impediment is panic, mob rule, and scarcity mentality.
If I imagine myself as all the world, there are still bad habits within myself as well. In my heart I own that, I own that I’m not perfect.
My goal in 2020 is to stop yelling at my daughter when I get frustrated and overwhelmed, to show her love when I am angry and frustrated. Somehow I hope that ending my cruelty in my own family leads me to a mental place of well being that allows me to find a way to help the larger cruelty of humanity against itself.
But being honest, I don’t yet know the way and I don’t yet feel that I can make a difference in something so large. But since I’m willing to make a small difference, since I’m willing to have no timeline, I have hope that someday I’ll stand on the side of the innocent someday. One thing my daughter did that I can already do is to love those babies, some are loved, but others never know love, I can send them all my love and my apologies that they ended up on the wrong side of fate.
I don’t believe if there is karma that it is a reason to allow this kind of cruelty, I don’t believe that if there is or is not a God it is Gods will, I believe if there is a God he or she left many things in the hands of us humans and this is a human bad habit that I hope will change soon. How can we all move forward into a bright future when we don’t prioritize human life over people’s right to live in fear?
The question I title this article with “How Can We End Mingi in 2020?” is not one I have the answer to, but it is something I am open to finding out, when the time comes. 👼🏿