Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti...can't they catch a break?

One of the motivations for me resuming my blog (other than the aforementioned renewal in clarity) was the recent catastrophe that befell Haiti, otherwise known as the first independent black nation in the world. I didn't shed tears because of the disaster because I was too numb to do so. I didn't get annoyed at the condescending tones used to describe the country by the media and the fat cats in Western capitals because really, what else is new? I haven't even really jumped on the constant tweeting bandwagon to show my support (unless you count my miserly 3 or 4 tweets a day) because let's be honest, only 38 people follow me on Twitter - and half of them aren't active users!

The impact this situation had on me was in form of the question in my title...can't Haiti catch a break?

This is a country with no known industry, with a high rate of HIV/AIDs, a legacy of both bad and corrupt government, a pariah to most nations in the world (even their not-so-great neighbors) and now this? Potentially a quarter of a million lives lost, whatever existing infrastructure destroyed...

Where does Haiti go from here?

After all the aid has been collected, disbursed and spent (and by the way, the aid collected will NOT come anywhere close to meeting even the minimum need of this devastated country), where will this country be left?

Who will help the fatherless and motherless children and ensure they don't slip into a life of crime?

Who will rebuild schools and hospitals - and not just take them back to their pathetic pre-earthquake state, but actually make them functional?

Who will ensure that clean water is available AFTER the international media loses interest in this story (as surely they will) so that disease doesn't spread to epidemic proportions?

As we scramble to help this nation - and the outpouring has been admirable - let us remember that the real impact of this disaster isn't the human tragedy we see unfolding now, but that which will undoubtedly arise in a year...and certainly in ten. Let us volunteer our time, effort and skills to make sure that the people of Haiti have a plan in place for the future, not just for today. As much as food, clothing and shelter are necessary for the short-term healing of Haiti, infrastructure development is what will be their long-term salvation.

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