I don’t know how you can read/watch/listen to what’s going on in Haiti and not feel awful about it. But at the same time I wonder if anyone else out there rolls their eyes when they’re scrolling through their facebook feed and sees every single person putting that Red Cross text number for $10 in there, as if they were suddenly a humanitarian. A few things bother me about that kind of thing (and I’m not talking about the idiots that “like” that post). Firstly, the issue with Haiti right now isn’t money or supplies, it’s actually getting into the country and the huge lack of infrastructure to distribute aid (which was a problem before the earthquake, only exacerbated now). So really that leads to the second issue, which is that people were generally okay not kn0wing anything about Haiti and the horrible conditions in which most people live there (poorest country in the western hemisphere). When it’s thrust in their face, in particular the context of a massive natural (and I stress natural, not a war caused by human depravity) disaster people feel guilty and want to help, and it’s convenient to have a text message to off-set that guilt, and even more convenient to have facebook to advertise your altruism and urge others to do the same. I think it’s ugly to draw attention to your charity.
If this post wasn’t grouchy enough for you and you want a further dose of contrarian thinking that is most certainly both racist and misanthropic, but still a fascinating read, check out this short piece on Haiti.