Monday, January 18, 2010


The disaster in Haiti is bringing out the best and the worst in us all.  Millions of us have donated money, in most cases $10 at a time.  For others a $1,000,000 at a time.  If you watched 60 Minutes last night you saw an image straight out of the Holocost: there were trucks lined up and a big earth mover machine with a giant scoop scooping bodies and dumping them in the trucks, bodies bloated and stacked like cordwood blocking the roadways, bodies left so long in the sun they looked like blowup dolls overinflated to bursting.  No one could get used to that.  No one could do that work and shrug it off. These are the images of a lifetime of nightmares.  Will any of the people who survived the earthquake ever sleep a peaceful night again?  Will the man in the earthmover whose job it is to scoop bodies and drop them into dump trucks ever have another peaceful moment without the scent and sight of such horror invading his mind like a cancer? Will the people who survived the January 12th earthquake and the seven days since without a drop of water or a morsel of food ever forgive the rest of the world?  We have rushed in with search teams and dogs.  We have transported food and water and doctors and medical supplies and soldiers to keep the peace while desperate survivors fight to get the first drops of water in a week and then the water runs out leaving weakened starving people who have waited almost patiently at the end of the line with nothing but desperation, fear, rage.  How many days can one go without water?  Seven days if there are no other bodily traumas.  It's been seven days.

I've heard news people refer to the Haitians who have broken into buildings searching for food or water or shelter as looters.  There is no looting in Haiti.  There is only the desperate need to survive.  Can you imagine yourself in similar circumstances?

There are no roads in Haiti in good repair.  There is destruction everywhere.  There is no power, no hospital, no government, no infrastructure, no police, no safe place to sleep, no rest, nothing but waiting and fear, nothing but the body's need for water, nothing but helpless rage.  There is no looting in Haiti.