Friday, January 15, 2010

Thoughts on Haiti

I have been trolling the online news reports, alternating between Huffingtonpost, CNN, MSNBC, and facebook, to stay abreast about Haiti.  And I feel helpless.  I am here, in my warm bedroom, having just showered and put on fresh pajamas, sipping an herbal tea, and all I can do is pray and text donations.

The hours have turned into days and the anguish is still fresh.

It has been almost two centuries since my foremother was kidnapped from her native Dominican Republic and my forefathers fled Saint Domingue (Haiti) during the revolution.

Yet, my heart is in Hispaniola.  It is my identity, if not for there, New Orleans and St. Louis never would have happened.

So yes, in response to my friends, it does bother me that this earthquake happened there.  To a people already punished by the western powers for daring to standing up to French tyranny and mulatto indifference to become a nation of freed slaves - by force.  They realized it was more of them than the plantation owning grand blancs and wealthy gens de couleur who did not have to labor in the sugar fields.  The price for their revolution and humiliation of Napolean?  Centuries of crushing debt, western nation indifference (Europe and the U.S.) and internal corruption leaving millions in abject poverty.

It is as my cousin's husband posted on facebook yesterday, the United States owes Haiti.

President Obama acted quickly to send aid.  In some ways, it is a small miracle that this 7.7 earthquake happened on his watch.  We know all too well the lack of action and heartlessness we experienced after Katrina under the previous administration.  In unprecedented ways, the American people have gained a conscious when it comes to our Caribbean neighbor and have mobilized through technology to give in the millions.  The Red Cross reports their $10 to 90999 "Haiti" campaign has been the largest giving campaign in their history.  Haitian native,Wyclef Jean, has been sending aid for years.  His texting campaign uses 501501 "Yele" to donate $5.  I have texted both numbers several times.

My heart sends out prayers to the many Haitian Americans and Haitian Canadians who are waiting anxiously for news of loved ones.  The Haitian community in New York and Miami are especially in my prayers and thoughts tonight.  My soul reaches out to love you.

Haiti is hurting right now and it is about time that we, the world, stepped up to heal the wound of time.  Haiti will rebuild and we will be a part of it.  It is our responsibility as humans.

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Thoughtful dialogue is appreciated.