Sunday, May 1, 2011

An Open Letter Regarding the Earthquake in Haiti

Originally Posted on January 15, 2010

Dear Reader,

By now, everyone in the world knows the unbelievable catastrophe the capital of Haiti is going through. A city of three million inhabitants and countless other visitors saw the mass burial of 40,000 of their own so far. Other bodies have been laid out on the streets waiting for processing before burial. There are many others trapped underneath the rubble either alive or dead.

This catastrophe did not just affect the Haitian people. This was a disaster with a multinational affect. The United Nations suffered the most losses in their history when their peace keeping and humanitarian mission collapsed. Virtually every country is reporting the status of their own people, alive, missing or confirmed dead in Port-au-Prince.

Aid is coming through from medical assistance to food and water to rescue operations. Yet, there had been issues with the logistics of getting this necessary aid, provided by 37 nations and various non-governmental organizations worldwide. The U.S. Department of Defense wondered if they tried a food drop how much of a riot would happen amongst the Haitians on the ground scrambling for that necessary aid. Their fears are beginning to materialize, as there are reports of gangs running through the streets setting off concerns about potential violence throughout the ruined city.

Haitian-born superstar Wyclef Jean called the earthquake Haiti’s “apocalypse.” Yet, other Haitians noted that their people have gone through so much with hurricanes, political unrest and perpetual poverty that they have always been able to be resilient to the worst of situations. They simply need to get through the most critical moments by ensuring healthcare, food, water and shelter gets to them immediately.

So, ask yourself: What more can I do? Is the donation I did via a text message going to do anything right now? Can I go to Haiti and help out? Is there anything else that can be done in the meantime?

There are also questions that have been brought up. For one, why help Haiti? Why help the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere when there are problems here at home? Then, you must question the questioners - to put the Rush Limbaughs, Pat Robertsons and other detractors in check for their lack of care for humanity in the face of catastrophe.

Even as the economy is trying to gain traction worldwide, we know that we can only do so much for others while trying to go forward with our own lives. If we can give, we do. If we can’t, there are ways to be there for those suffering tonight in Port-au-Prince.

Please pray and send thoughts for everyone on the ground in Port-au-Prince. Please pray and send thoughts for those still alive time for healing and for the dead to be remembered regardless of nationality. And please pray and send thoughts for Haiti

Thank you et Mesi Boukou,
Randy Stern

1 comment:


    Matthew Stern from Facebook: Very well said, especially “question the questioners.” How can anyone refuse to help anyone who is suffering so greatly or feel that the suffering is “divinely justified”? Clearly, it’s someone with no soul.

    Sue Taylor from Facebook: Nicely said (written) Randy. Have been mulling over a lot of these questions – just spoke to a friend whose good friend is dying, has no medical insurance – we all know the story. I sometimes get a little bitter that empathy requires such a catastrophic kick start. Suffering is suffering, Haiti’s suffering requires urgency, the other is ongoing and something we’ve grown familiar with – in both situations people will die without help. Donated to Haiti but also to Remote Area Medical, who do heroic work in mobilizing health care workers to attending those without insurance in our and other countries. Prayers to Haiti. And prayers that congress grow a set and pass healthcare reform. It shouldn’t require a building to fall on someone before we give a sh*t.

    Fred Vaughn from Facebook: .. but as a non-religious friend of mine (indirectly) reminded me, “faith without works is dead” – Throw a little financial support to some legitimate organization(-s) if you can. As far as (for some of you lucky folks) traveling to Haiti to support, that may need to wait a while until something resembling triage and/or cleanup has occurred.