Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Frantic Fears in Haiti

I know something about the loss of a child. I know something about hanging onto hope despite all evidence to the contrary (waiting in the emergency room hoping against hope that they would be able to revive Paul). I know what it does to your heart, to your head, to your stomach. I know something about grasping at straws.

So I don't feel too uncharitable in speaking about the families of the four students and two faculty members still apparently buried in the rubble of the hotel in Haiti. There may still be one or more alive, but it has been so long that the chances are so slim and there are fewer and fewer straws to grasp onto with each passing day.

I've seen the families on television two days in a row now, complaining that there has been too little effort, and demanding the Obama, as a father, take pity on these students and send "a thousand troops" to the hotel, if necessary, to rescue them.

As I said, my heart goes out to the families, but their growing anger and demands in the face of such overwhelming odds when there are so many thousands of survivors who are in desperate need of assistance does little to evoke sympathy.

How can you look at the endless photos and videos of thousands of people all roaming the area looking for loved ones, stacking up the dead bodies, crying because a parent or a child has been killed, how can you hear about the problems of getting help in to an airport that has no more room for planes to land or gasoline for them to take off again, a port that is destroyed and is unaccessible and go on television to claim that the United States must take all of its troops and go to a hotel and help find a handful of students who are, I hesitate to say it, almost assuredly dead by now.

One distraught father cried out in such pain as he pleaded, "We need government intervention. The United States of America needs to get to the hotel and get our children now!" A mother says "We're Americans. We can work miracles. We need a miracle now."

I know they are doing what they feel they must do and Lord knows if it were one of my kids, I might be doing the same thing. I hope they get their miracle, but it puts them in a bad light when they essentially demand that the United States put all of its efforts into saving six of its own when so many thousand Haitians need our assistance as well.

Sometimes, and I speak from painful experience, you have to accept that miracles don't happen just because we want them so badly, and that's when the long period of healing finally begins.

But hey...Leno's coming back to 11:30. Charlie Rose spent 15 minutes talking with Katie Couric about Haiti and 30 minutes talking with NBC's Jeff Zucker about the Leno/O'Brien dust up. At least here at home we have our priorities straight.

1 comment:

Gabi Clayton said...

Thank you, Bev. I have been thinking the same thing, reacting from a similar experience of the death of a child. And because people tend to generalize (me included) while it puts them in a bad light it also puts us - Americans - in the same. All we can do is keep speaking so the assumptions are not met with silence while we also send our love and compassion to those who wait in anger and despair.