Reub's journey

10 October 2009

Fight like hell to do any good

"You have to fight like hell to do any good."

Aengus Finucane

I was told this week about the death of Ireland's Aengus Finucane. Do you know this name? Maybe. I was informed by a comment made on my daughter's blog from an Irish reader, that Father Finucane had died on October 6, after a short illness, so I read up on him. Talk about a life worth living:

1. 1959: he was a parish priest in Biafra. (Biafra, oil-rich, declared independence from Nigeria, and subsequently its population was starved to death by the Nigerian government.)

2. Instead of comfortably returning to Limerick, Ireland, where he was born, Gus worked with Gabon, Africa, to evacuate sick children and arrange food-drops to Biafra. The Biafran war was the first to be reported on public television as a place where mass starvation was a strategy used by a government to subdue its people. The novelist Frederick Forsyth, who covered the war as a journalist, wrote of the children airlifted out of Biafra by Finucane that they were the "living, breathing monument" to his work.

3. Unsurprisingly, Aengus Finucane was expelled from Nigeria in 1970. He got a degree in Development from Swansea University in Wales, and became head of the aid group Concern Worldwide in Bangladesh, where he was friends with Mother Teresa, and became known for using strong language to speed up the delivery of food to the extremely famine-stricken areas of this region. Finucane led Concern International out of financial crisis into a smart, successful aid group.

4. This is a blog, so it's supposed to be short. There were further adventures in Sudan, Somalia, and Rwanda but I won't go into them here because you get the picture.
This past summer, though, John and I saw the results of Aengus Finucane's intense devotion to African children. We got to know a little boy who is only alive because of the availability last year of a Concern Worldwide clinic near his village. For the six hardest months of the year the Niger-staffed clinic is available to help mothers and children survive famine, and Rahman was one of those kids:

John and Rahman

Me and Rahman

Jessica and Rahman

Quite honestly, I could have easily swooped this child up and brought him home with me. Thank you Fr. Aengus Finucane for your work in Africa.


  1. Some blogs are of such import and quality that they could go on forever and still not be too long.

  2. What a beautiful child and what a heartwarming story of a marvelous man.I agree with Patience-please:some blogs could go on and on,they carry such weight.Thank you Karima for introducing us to this great man, and to this little angel!

  3. Dan and I were just talking about the people we have never heard of who have dedicated their lives to peace (and would truly be deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize), and here is one such person. Dan had suggested that "they'd run out of people" and I said no they haven't, they just aren't looking at the "real" folk, doing the real work...thank you for this story - never too long. i love seeing you guys with that sweet boy, and to know he's doing so well...


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