Although I’m known for being a bit of an emotional character, the thing that first caused tears to well up in my eyes as I read about the horror that is Haiti at the moment was a seemingly emotion-free sentence in an article about the aid effort.
The neighboring Dominican Republic was the first country to give aid to Haiti, easing tensions that have existed between the two countries since the 19th century.
Despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that it lacks the heartstring-tugging, overused clichés of most media stories about the situation, it touched me more than anything else I’ve read. If you know me at all, you’ll be aware that I don’t have much respect for or interest in the kindergarten-style playground bickering and sulking that goes by the name of politics and/or nationalism. I can’t stand the kind of national pride that manifests itself in the form of racism, sectarianism, bigotry, threats, and power-hunger-driven wars. I’m the dippy hippy who sits in the corner making daisy chains, listening to trippy music, and wailing “but we’re all the same, deep down!”.
So when I read something about a person or a group or a nation who seems to see the light and set aside all the crap stuff for the sake of something truly important, it invariably gives me a lump in my throat. I automatically read that sentence I quoted as something like this:
Little Boy A, upon seeing Little Boy B bleeding to death at the side of the street after having had the shit kicked out of him by an entire army of trained soldiers, suddenly forgot about all the wedgies and the name-calling and the fist-fights and the stolen trading cards and the broken toys and the slanderous graffiti and the numerous kicks and bruises dealt and received by both parties, and ran to help his former enemy as if they were brothers. Which, actually, they were.
Alright, alright, I’ve got an overactive imagination and am far too sentimental to ever be an objective reporter. I just like to see that human solidarity trumps national solidarity. And it made me think of my own country – even just my own home town – and wonder whether there, too, all the silliness would be dropped in favour of reaching out to other human beings in the event of tragedy and disaster. I have a feeling that it would. I certainly hope that it would.
So, if the Dominican Republic can rush to its neighbour’s aid in spite of 200-odd years of bitterness and bickering, the rest of the world should have no hesitation in adding to the aid effort. And it doesn’t. Have any hesitation, I mean. However horrifying and devastating this disaster is, isn’t there just a tiny glimmer of hope for this warring, dying, bickering, somewhat ridiculous planet of ours when people are falling over themselves to help in whatever ways they can?
If you haven’t found a good way to contribute to the worldwide rescue mission yet, take a look-see at this post by English Mum, where she explains about the Bloggers For Haiti page. She’s hoping to collect enough money to send one of those ShelterBoxes… but I’ll let her tell you about it. It’s a really practical, yet easy way to help.
And as Grandad mentioned, it’s worth a lot more to people who’ve lost everything than sticking a ribbon on your Twitter page. Or joining some Facebook group. Sheeeeeeesh.