January 18, 2010
It is hard to know what to say about Haiti, except that compassion requires response in some way shape or form. At All Saints’ we are encouraging donations through Episcopal Relief and Development. You can access this through the front page of our website or here.
I was struck by David Brooks recent article in the New York Times claiming that the issue in Haiti is poverty rather than simple natural disaster. He compared the 67 deaths of an earthquake of equal severity on the Richter scale in San Francisco in 1989 with the thousands upon thousands of the Haiti disaster concluding that the difference was poverty rather than anything else. In the US we could afford buildings that had steel rods in the concrete and cinderblock. In Haiti that was not standard. I am not going the route of some who like to blame the victims for their distress. At the same time we do not seem to know how to assist such places in economic development. The neighboring Dominican Republic appears to be in much better shape by any measurement. How can widespread corruption in Haiti not be one factor in the difference? Money by itself is not the answer. If that were the case then all the money sent home by Haitians living in the US and all the aid over the years would have made some sort of difference to the system. Surely change must come from within or possibly from people well and truly embedded, trusted partners in and for the long haul.
Haiti is the largest diocese of The Episcopal Church in terms of numbers of people. Why can we not serve as such trusted partners? What would make the difference?