Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti, Prayer, and Hope

No picture today. What kind of picture would I post? One of Haiti's destruction? I don't think so.

The topic of Haiti has been on my mind a lot. I see so many conflicting opinions out there that it's discouraging. I did a prayer vigil at church on Sunday, after the regular service. I wrote a prayer. I've talked with friends. None of it really means anything when you see the pictures of Port au Prince, though.

Some people don't want to send any aid. They say no one came to aid the States during Katrina and no real offers were made to help after 9/11. Others say that sending aid only makes it worse, makes the Haitians dependent upon us. I might agree with this one if they hadn't just lost their entire city and about 200,000 people overnight. I think it's a bit much to tell them to strap on their Big Girl Panties at this particular moment. Hell, some people think we should just close up shop in the rest of the world and withdraw all our forces and aid stations and tell the world to go to pot. Of course, people would still complain it was our fault; the topic line might change but the blame continues. Comes from being a successful country.

Some people send aid to just about everything they see. I don't think that's an answer, either. Sending willy nilly without knowing about the charities involved can cause real problems. You don't know where your money is going and, sadly enough, scammers are out there, ready to use the Haitians as an excuse to dupe you out of your cold, hard cash. I did donate, to Red Cross, and to Doctors Without Borders, because both of these organizations are DOING something NOW. They don't perpetuate horrors; they just help people out until they can stand on their own.

This morning or last night, another quake hit a bit west of Port au Prince, this one 6.1 on the Richter scale. It's awful, because it may have just ended any further rescue attempts. It's good, in that there really wasn't much else to fall down or be damaged.

Part of me wonders... perhaps they should just fence around Port au Prince, and declare it a national cemetary. The place is in total shambles, and it will be months or maybe years before they can rebuild. Maybe the right thing to do is find somewhere not on a fault line, and build anew.

My heart goes out to those who have been lost and injured in Haiti. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be there, buried in rubble and slowly dying of thirst or hunger... or scrabbling with bare, bleeding hands to try and get your child out of a pocket of air, hearing the screams but knowing that pulling the rubble out too fast could cause it all to crash down and cause the death you're trying to hard to stave off... So much horror and upset.

Yet, at the same time it feels very remote. With 9/11, I was frozen for a long time, then cried for days, and spent a long time watching news and worrying. Now... while I have not and will not forget this terrible disaster, it is not personal for me. It's just too big. 9/11 was huge, and at most we thought we'd lost 4000 people. Haiti is dealing with the concept of losing 200,000 people, and not one or two buildings, but all their modern buildings. Their whole city. What little fresh water they'd managed to get. I can't wrap my mind around it.

Then I read the news, and my mind reels with the inappropriateness of it all. Christians and Muslims deck it out in the streets of Nigeria, causing 400+ dead and maybe 4000 injured. Yemen is launching air strikes against someone they "think" is a senior Al Qaida leader. Instead of worrying about the Haitians' ability to survive this month, France is apparently going around telling everyone the US is invading Haiti rather than helping.

How can these petty things go on around us when people are dying under the broken remains of buildings? Christians and Muslims are both supposed to be peace loving; where is their aid now? Yemen could spend its arms cash on doctors or medical supplies. France could... well, just shut up. Argh.

Me, I support doctors. They will do what they can, and will continue to do what they can. I support those who teach, whether it's how to build a fresh water well, or how to sow crops that will feed the hungry, or how to raise animals that will offer not just meat but wool for cloth and milk for those who need. Education is the great equalizer, imo.

My prayers go out. They go out to those in Haiti. They go out to those stuck in the rubble, and those trying to save them. They go out to the injured, the lost, the terrified. They go out to the people with relatives in that awful place. May the gods above grant them some kind of peace.
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