Sunday, January 17, 2010

Slow Response to Haiti Tragedy

I've dawdeled and diddled and watched in absolute horror!
by Charlie Leck

I've got excuses by the thousands and I've had plenty of good intentions. How about you?

Have you donated money yet? Have you given so that it hurts a little in order to help out in Haiti? I hope so. If not, it's time to get off the dime and send a little money (or a lot of money if you can afford it).

I've been sitting on my checkbook, as they say, waiting for something. What? Some kind of inspiration about some organization to which I should give my dough. I've hemmed and hawed and napped on it. I just haven't gotten it done.

But right now -- just the second I post this blog on this Sunday morning -- I am going to go on-line to the Red Cross and make a contribution. I absolutely promise.

What has happened to Haiti is one of the extraordinary disasters of our life-time. The estimates of the dead that keeping coming in are horrible and painful. I only hope they are grossly exaggerated.

You must understand that it could have happened in our country and in our own neighborhood. Deborah Blum, of Madison, Wisconsin, wrote a piece this week for the NY Times [click here to read it] that was really worth the reading time.

"I used to be a science writer for a California newspaper, where I learned to think of the ground beneath my feet as something alive. It crawled and shivered and quaked. It was the thin, wrinkled skin of an A.D.D. planet whose muscles and bones constantly twitched beneath it."
Haiti's disaster could just as easily have been in California. Those poor bastards down there could have been friends or family on the west coast, living atop the San Andreas fault.

Blum quoted Will Durant in her piece: "Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice."

Then Blum goes on to call it a "rebuttal of our natural hubris, our assumption that we inevitably lord over this small sphere in one of our galaxy's lesser solar systems."

In fact, we are but infinitesimally tiny and insignificant specks in the great universe, yet we have hearts, souls, feelings and generous concerns for our neighbors. We cry!

This mighty quake in Haiti had a biblical tone about it. It speaks of what we don't understand about life and death and the future

I hated the awful things the Reverend Pat Robertson said about these events in Haiti. He was dead wrong and he was ignorant and repulsively non-biblical. It was his own miserable vanity that thought and spoke these things -- things that we should revile and hold in contempt. Robertson is a fool -- a piece of waste with a wasted mind. I have no time for such contemptible people.

Robertson called the quake in Haiti a sign of God's wrath over that nation state. I was stunned as I listened to his comments. They made no sense. It all had something to do with the Haiti's achievement of independence from the French.

“They were under the heel of the French…and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said ‘We will serve you’…and so, the devil said ‘Okay, it’s a deal’ and kicked the French out,... They need to have…a great turning to God...”
Robertson has always been one of the great dummies of religion and theology. He has never earned any stripes as a great thinker. If there is a God who can hear us, She must have cringed when Robertson spoke about Haiti. Robertson is the same mean man who blamed hurricane Katrina on the wickedness of New Orleans.

Rush Limbaugh, it is hard to believe, went and did Pat Robertson one comment even more horrible.

"We've already donated to Haiti,'' Limbaugh responded to a caller on his radio show. "It's called the U.S. income tax."

Limbaugh twisted and squirmed and wormed his way into the mud, somehow trying to tie blame for this great earthquake to President Obama. What puke! I can't find daintier or cuter words this morning. He discouraged donations to Haiti, declaring that all such donations would do is get you on "Obama's email list."

Look it, my dear, wonderful and compassionate readers, these comments by two of the world's leading idiots are only more reason to make donations to some Haitian aide fund. I've just gotten myself so worked up that I am going to double my contribution.

It's a wonderful Sunday morning. We are going to spend the afternoon with mild and delightful people. I shouldn't be so upset. I quake!


  1. The truth is that they did make a pact with the devil.

    Now the significance you put on that pact I guess has to do with whether you believe the devil is real or not.

    But it is one of Haiti's founding myths.

    According to Haitian national history, the revolutionary war was launched on the eve of a religious ceremony at a place in the north called Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caiman, in French). At that ceremony on August 14, 1791, an African slave named Boukman sacrificed a pig, and both Kongo and Creole spirits descended to possess the bodies of the participants, encouraging them and fortifying them for the upcoming revolutionary war. Despite deep ambivalence on the part of intellectuals, Catholics, and the moneyed classes, Vodou has always been linked with militarism and the war of independence and, through it, the pride of national sovereignty.

    So, yeah if there is a devil, Haiti made a pact with it. Might explain why even though Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the same island, the Dominican Republic has been far more successful.

  2. I hate publishing anonymous comments to my blog. I think one should have the nerve and courage to at least produce an honest name.

    Nevertheless, I publish the above comment only to point out that this is dubious history and has always been regarded more as a part of the myths and legends of Haiti and not at all connected to fact.

    Finally, the concluding "banger" in the comment above is warped. There are many other more rational reasons to explain the differences between the two nations that share the same island -- like the greater American influence and interest in the Dominican Republic.

    Chas Leck