Sunday, 17 January 2010

Not on my watch... please?

Although I have commented on a couple of blogs I have been uncomfortable about many of the things that have been written this week concerning the devastating tragedy in Haiti. And, of course, it has been surprising to see the extent of the reaction to right wing evangelist Pat Robertson's insensitive statement concerning Haiti. As a result 'pat robertson' has overtaken the word 'haiti' to become the top 'trend' in Twitter.

Singer songwriter Martyn Joseph rebuked Mr Robertson's previous ludicrous 'political' suggestions in a witty ditty he performed at the Greenbelt Festival in 2006 (warning: expletives NOT deleted!). However, in the context of the extreme reactions to Robertson's claims about the Haitian people, Martyn's piece could now be seen as judgemental and, despite its pithy, prophetic brilliance, by posting it I fear I may be seen to be demeaning the seriousness of the Haiti situation.

From our distance we naturally respond with a mixture of horror and abject helplessness. Giving money and fundraising are tangible, it is certainly uplifting to hear how the donations are mounting up after fears of compassion fatigue. There is a small yet positive step we can all take that just might make a huge difference by signing the petition to drop the debt Haiti has with us of $890,000,000:


If the debt was dropped this would make a long term difference to the poverty in Haiti. Whilst the debt remains in place Haiti will always be kept at arm's length and effectively their people will be held in poverty by 'us'. This will mean the potential for suffering and a casualty toll on a massive scale all over again at a later date. Whatever faith or belief we have can we allow that to happen? We could try blaming God, Satan or someone else (again), but we are the ones with the keys to implement prevention rather than catastrophe...

1 comment:

MadPriest said...

Yes. I know little about international politics and economics. But I have a very strong suspicion that as most of the deaths in Haiti were due to the extreme poverty of the people who live there, that we in the developed world are primarily responsible for the high death toll even if our guilt is due mostly to our inaction and failure to care. As with all such disasters we will appease our guilt by taking part in acts of token generosity. We lock the stable door even though the horse has already bolted and we were the ones who left the door open in the first place.