Thursday, January 14, 2010

Giving For Haiti

Looking around at the news cycles lately there's been plenty of bad news to get down about. I don't have to enumerate the various stories, but collectively it was starting to feel like nobody cares about the general wellbeing of each other - the whole humanity idea.

Then this earthquake in Haiti happened and this news is so bad, so devastating, it's off the scale as far as anything else we're dealing with that makes for 'tough times' in the United States. To put it in perspective, just 2,500 people died or went permanently missing after Hurricane Katrina. Early estimates from Port Au Prince are saying 100,000. This is unfathomably worse.

It's hard to be optimistic after so much destruction, but what's hopeful and encouraging about this is the growing sense of the international response. I gave money yesterday (Google makes it quite easy if you've got a Google Checkout account) to UNICEF and am anticipating the stories that reveal the scale of the international response. I hope to be pleasantly surprised by the scale of our empathy.

Pat Robertson was spouting off some nonsense yesterday about this earthquake being the Devil's collection on the deal the Haitians struck for freedom from slavery. While a sick and hateful thought, his initial observation is irrefutable, Haiti has had an incredibly tragic history.

Discovery posts an article with an insightful discourse on Haiti's overwhelming poverty as provided by University of Miami anthropology professor Bryan Page. This article had some illuminating points rooted in the colonial history of Haiti and it made me think (in light of Robertson's poison) that if anyone should be paying back Haiti for their suffering it should be the collective of the Western Tradition and not the Devil.

Here's our chance.

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