It's hard for me to think about much else right now but the situation in Haiti. I can't imagine that I need to recapitulate the news of the catastrophic earthquake that reduced Haiti's capital city, Port au Prince, to streets of rubble, dead, dying and injured Haitians. I've been following reports all day, online, TV and radio. Haiti may seem utterly foreign and unknown to many North Americans, but when I taught at the college in Delaware, many of my academic ESOL students were Haitian. These mostly young people had come through terrible hardship to get here, mostly political refugees, and were deeply devoted to their families back on the island. I'm not even going to dignify Pat Robertson's evil remarks beyond saying that every single one of those students manifested some of the deepest, most fervent, Christian faith I have ever seen. They came from lifetimes of poverty and fear, yet were among the most generous-hearted and happy human beings I have ever known. I think of the horror my former students from Port au Prince and Gonaïves must be going through now as they watch their TV screens, try to reach family and friends back home, wait for any scrap of news. My heart is with them as they gather in groups in living rooms in Southern Delaware to pray, sing hymns, search the TV screens for familiar faces.
Massive aid is needed for the survivors right now, and will be for a long time to come. Amy Goodman devoted her entire Democracy Now show to the earthquake today, Truthout.org is liveblogging fromHaiti, and I've been listening to reports on NPR that the Red Cross has run out of medical supplies, Doctors w/out Borders has had three hospitals destroyed in the quake, so can only give immediate triage to people who need surgery immediately. If you have the ability to donate anything to help out, here are some web sites that have been coming in to my email box from various organizations. These are groups that are reputable, and ethical. There will be a lot of graft and corruption involved with this effort, it always happens - but these organizations will use the donations they get to actually relieve some of the suffering.
Doctors Without Borders
International Committee of the Red Cross
Partners In Health
National Nurses United