The Collegian
Friday, August 12, 2022

Where is the love? Time to help Haiti

Last week, a tragedy occurred in the Caribbean. The devastating earthquake that hit the island of Haiti has killed hundreds of thousands, and the death toll is increasing each day. Corpses and survivors alike lie among the ashen aftermath, as many of the living are still trapped under bodies and rubble. This has left the already poverty-stricken country in chaos. In times like these, it is vital for us all to support our fellow man, stay positive and reflect.

It has been a struggle getting aid to Haiti, because the damage has affected the airport, shipping ports and roads. The simple communication that we all have taken for granted has been destroyed - telephone lines and electricity went down immediately after the quake hit. There has been frustration on both ends. Haitians are suffering from the lack of aid, and relief workers are having a hard time getting to the island to help.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Help is coming together slowly but surely. Various relief funds have been established and President Barack Obama is teaming up with former presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton to provide aid as well. On the home front, organizations on campus are creating their own fundraisers for the earthquake victims. It's amazing what we as a people are capable of when we put our heads together for a common cause.

Positivity is vital. It's all the victims have to hold on to at this point. Unwanted negativity only makes matters worse. Unfortunately, there already has been some unwanted negativity. Televangelist Pat Robertson went on the Christian Broadcasting Network after the quake, but didn't share any inspirational Bible verses or words of wisdom. Instead, he chose to blame Haiti for the catastrophe.

"They were under the heel of the French," Robertson said when speaking about the earthquake. "You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French.' True story. And so, the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' ... Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other."

I don't know why someone would say something of that nature during such trying times, but what would such a comment do to help things in Haiti? Was that supposed to bring up the spirits of the Haitians? Was it intended to promote helping the victims? I highly doubt it. Words of encouragement would have been a better choice, as when Obama addressed the world.

"In these difficult hours, America stands united," he said. "We stand united with the people of Haiti, who have shown such incredible resilience, and we will help them to recover and to rebuild." I am sure that will serve as a better inspiration than Robertson's blame game.

I hope that watching the news, seeing the graphic photos of victims and devastation, hearing the death toll steadily rise and listening to all of the details of the aftermath has touched you in some way. We all should be thankful for who and what we have in our lives each and every day, no matter what country we're from, what color we are or what religion we may or may not live by. Life is so precious, and it can be taken away so fast.

I'm not suggesting to live a life in fear, but simply to take a look around and think about all that you have. Then think about all that the earthquake victims don't have at the moment. The two are nowhere near proportionate. Let's see it through that we do all we can to help Haiti and bridge the gap. As the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund's Web site says, "Responding to disaster is the work of all of us."

Contact staff writer Kiara Lee at kiara.lee@richmond.edu

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