Saturday, November 20, 2010



What next?

I can only hope and pray for the Haitian people to be strong and survive each new wave of struggle, and for my friends working in Haiti, to be safe, effective, and maintain hope.

The protests and violent clashes happening all over Haiti right now stem from a long history with the UN peacekeepers, but most recently, the claim that Nepalese battalions left Nepal as a cholera outbreak hit their land. When they got to Haiti, they were filmed by Al Jazeera dumping raw human sewage into the Arbonite River, a source of water for millions of Haitians. Within five days of dumping, the epidemic began. If this proves to be true, the UN may be responsible for thousands of deaths.

Nobody should die from easily preventable diseases.

This could be my little son. But because it is happening in Haiti, where bad things just happen, somehow we can observe this and not be moved to do anything about it. It is simply "NEWS" and news is what we see on a screen or paper, and news is something to observe but that does not apply to us. Why is that? I believe we, the citizens of the world, but specifically the developed world, are guilty of criminal negligence that we allow the poor to simply exist in conditions so sub-human, that diseases like Cholera can sweep through entire communities. We allow certain types of people to be the winners and others, the losers. We are ok with this, clearly, because we do nothing to change the systems that cause these situations in the first place.  Cholera would not spread through Haiti if there were sewage systems in place, if there was clean water readily available, or if families had homes to live in not mud soaked tents sitting in raw sewage, crammed next to a half million other families.

Will we continue to accept the world the way it is? Because it has been like this for ages, does that mean we should allow it to continue? Well, I ask one question I hope you will give some consideration. What if it were your children, your parents, your brothers and sisters, your wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend who were suffering under the unbearable deficiencies of basic provisions? Would that motivate you? Would that motivate me?

Of course it would.

So then why does it not motivate us now?  Can we look at a photo of a Haitian and find our own father in the face? Brother? Sister? Son? Can we take ourselves out of our bubble and empathize with human beings who may live far away, but who laugh like us, cry like us, eat and dance and sing and flirt and cuddle, just like us?


*thanks to Washington Post for the news photos

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