Nobody wants to ever think that, but it’s true. Homes have been demolished. Lives have been upended. Entire worlds have caved into themselves, collapsed like broken hearts, been swallowed whole. What to do? What to do?
The eternal cynic that I am, I don’t have any illusions as to the effectiveness of any charity on any disaster. The damage we see on television screens is merely a outward manifestation of the damage done within, the havoc wreaked at seeing a loved one buried under rubble, every road you’ve ever walked on turned to dust and memory.
What then does one say when a group of singers come together to sing in the hopes of “helping Haiti”? Can you help Haiti? Is donating money all it takes? For those among us who have suffered immeasurably from situations such as these, the damage cannot be measured, and cannot be repaired. For those of us who have observed the damage being done, it is important, a moral duty, to not say that we did nothing, regardless of the very real, very human, futility of our mission. I have always believed that the intention of action being more important than the action itself (There are exceptions, of course, as with everything else), so I applaud efforts such as this. But the truth remains that every situation creates winners and losers. The child traffickers are already taking advantage. Loans are being arranged for the country that will steep the country further in debt. Brazil has assumed responsibility for the country’s reconstruction, signifying another handover to another country for a land who the people that inhabit it have never truly owned. The world spins as it always has, just more broken, and with less agency for those who have been robbed of so much by the disaster.
Again, I understand the need for charity at its most marginal level, and the immediate needs that would be met by the work of the aid agencies. But still. But still…